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- Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Although Ms. Hieber set the bar quite high with her first book, she certainly doesn't disappoint her readers with its sequel. Slower paced than the first, the reader gets to luxuriously bask in its Gothic romanticism. Ms. Hieber's eloquent writing style weaves another beautiful, romantic tale along the dark streets of London.
The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker is the immediate continuation of the story from the first book. It begins with the final showdown in Strangely Beautiful seen from the perspective of a new character: the shade Beatrice, the leader of the last generation's Guard come forth from the Whisper World to assist the current guard in a daunting task. From there, the author takes the reader on a delightful holiday through the horror of the underworld and the wonders of new love. Along the journey, we learn more about the other members of The Guard as well.
Readers got to know the handsome and intense Alexi Rychman quite well in the first book, but we see a different side of him in this book. Having saved his beloved Percy in Strangely Beautiful, he promptly marries her in a supernaturally luminous ceremony and whisks her away on a romantic honeymoon in York where they uncover a new mystery surrounding Percy's birth and strange appearance. However, he becomes quite possessive, controlling, and aggressive when his new bride is put up to a horrifying task. Beatrice tells Percy, the only one of the guard who can hear as well as see ghosts, that she must undertake a dangerous mission into the Whisper World in order to save thousands of imprisoned souls. Alexi, the leader of The Guard would rather the entire world fall into Darkness than allow his beloved to be put into harm's way.
I particularly enjoyed getting to know the other members of the Guard in this book and understanding their unique powers and personalities. By far my favorite was Elijah, the memory of The Guard. He can wipe memories of innocent bystanders when they see something harrowing, allowing them to lead a normal, ghost-free life. His wit had me laughing out loud several times throughout the book. He refers to Alexi as "Your Royal Eeriness," and his quips often lighten a scene, bringing a relief from the horrifying reality they all must face. He is deeply in love with Josephine, the artist of The Guard, who hopes they might reveal their love and get married themselves now that Alexi has found his Prophecy.
Rebecca, the intuition of The Guard and second in command, is heartbroken over Alexi's marriage and obvious adoration of Percy. She has loved him in silence for twenty years, and now she must face the truth that he will never love her. Still, she must hold it together long enough to play her part in the coming fight. And yet, love may not have eluded her completely, as there is Michael, the heart of The Guard, who can calm worry, fear, and anger with just a touch. He, in turn, has loved her these many years. His is the story that touched my heart the most in this book. He endured in the shadows for so long, always needed but never seen. Now he has a chance to come into the light and have Rebecca see him for the first time.
The final member of The Guard, Jane, the healer doesn't have a love interest, at least in the world of the living. Her power enables her to heal any wound or disease with a single touch. All of The Guard is possessed with a muse from ancient times, working together to save the world from Darkness, the character based on the classical Hades, who kidnapped Persephone and killed her love The Phoenix, which now possesses Alexi.
No spoilers here, but I will just say this about the character of Darkness: he certainly lives up to his name! The scene between him and Percy is quite dark and delicious. Ms. Hieber, once again, excels in her gift, describing Darkness as to reveal both his evil, smarmy nature and the desperate love that lies beneath it all.
The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker is pure Gothic brilliance. Ms. Hieber expertly and eloquently weaves together a beautiful story full of Greek Mythology and a myriad of Shakespearean references in this delightfully dark romance. The Strangely Beautiful series is a must-read for every paranormal romance fan.