Lord of the Abyss (Harlequin Nocturne #125)

( 67 )

Overview

Once upon a time…the Blood Sorcerer vanquished the kingdom of Elden. To save their children, the queen scattered them to safety and the king filled them with vengeance. Only a magical timepiece connects the four royal heirs…and time is running out.…

As the dark Lord who condemns souls to damnation in the Abyss, Micah is nothing but a feared monster wrapped in impenetrable black armor. He has no idea he is the last heir of Elden, its last hope. ...

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Lord of the Abyss (Harlequin Nocturne #125)

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Overview

Once upon a time…the Blood Sorcerer vanquished the kingdom of Elden. To save their children, the queen scattered them to safety and the king filled them with vengeance. Only a magical timepiece connects the four royal heirs…and time is running out.…

As the dark Lord who condemns souls to damnation in the Abyss, Micah is nothing but a feared monster wrapped in impenetrable black armor. He has no idea he is the last heir of Elden, its last hope. Only one woman knows—the daughter of his enemy.

Liliana is nothing like her father, the Blood Sorcerer who'd cursed Micah. She sees past Micah's armor to the prince inside. A prince whose sinful touch she craves. But first she has to brave his dark, dangerous lair and help him remember.

Because they only have till midnight to save Elden.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780373618729
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 11/15/2011
  • Series: Harlequin Nocturne Series , #125
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 4.20 (w) x 6.50 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Nalini Singh
Nalini Singh

Nalini has wanted to be a writer for as long as she can remember. As a child, when she wasn't daydreaming, she was scribbling her ideas down in her notebook. Somewhere along the way, she figured out that a writer was as close to a professional daydreamer as it was possible to get. Writing then became her main career choice. However, a somewhat unexpected practical streak had her attending university and graduating with degrees in English literature and law (as spots for professional dreamers are scarce).

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Read an Excerpt

He was the most beautiful monster she had ever seen.

It was the first thought Liliana had as she lay weak and drained across the black marble of the floor, her face reflected in its polished surface. As she watched, the one they called the Lord of the Black Castle rose from his ebony throne at the head of the room and walked down the ten steps with a lazy grace that spoke of power, strength…and death.

Trying desperately to close her hand into a fist, she attempted to push herself up onto her knees, unwilling to meet him at such a disadvantage. But her body was debilitated beyond bearing by the blood she had spilled to make the crossing, her wrists spotted with it, though her magic had sealed the wounds. Her father would've sacrificed another without a thought to the life he took, would call her a fool for using her own blood.

"Weak." He had spit the judgment at her more than once. "I took a beautiful witch to wife and got a hatchet-faced mewling brat in return."

Sensing the vibration of the monster's boots getting ever closer, she took a deep breath, able to feel it rattle in her throat. It wasn't meant to be like this. The spell should have deposited her in the forests outside his domain, not in the midst of his great hall, where he stood as the lone, lethal shield against the vicious beings beyond. She could feel eyes on her, hundreds of them. And yet no one made a sound.

The boots were almost to her now.

Cruelty was no stranger to her, not after having grown up with the Blood Sorcerer for a father. But this man, this "monster," was meant to be completely without heart, without soul. His castle held within it the gateway to the Abyss, the place where the servants of evil were banished after death to suffer eternal torment at the hands of the basilisks and the serpents, and he was the guardian of that terrible place. It was said that even the most inhuman of the dead quivered when confronted by his visage.

But that was a lie, she thought as he crouched down beside her, his boots heavy in her line of sight.

He was not ugly at all.

Strong hands gripped her by the shoulders, pulled her roughly to her knees.

And she found herself staring into the face of a monster.

Sun-kissed hair, eyes of winter-green and skin that held the golden brush of summer even in this black place devoid of warmth, he could have stood in as the model for the mythical Prince Charming spoken of in childhood storybooks. Except Prince Charming did not wear armor of impenetrable black, and his eyes were not full of nightmares.

"Who is this?" A quiet, quiet question.

It made the hair on the back of her neck rise. She tried to force her tongue to work, but her body refused to cooperate even that much, still stunned from the leap she'd made from her father's stolen kingdom to this place that stood as the dark ward between the living and the most depraved of the dead.

"An intruder." He stroked her hair off her face, the act almost tender…if one ignored the fact that he wore gauntlets over his forearms that extended to his hands in spiderwebs of black. A spray of razors rode over his knuckles, while his fingers were tipped with bladed claws the same shade as his armor. "No one has dared enter the Black Castle without invitation in…" A flicker in the green. "Ever."

He didn't remember, she realized, looking into that face that was only of the Guardian. There was no echo of the boy he must've once been. None. Which could only mean one thing—according to legend, it was Queen Alvina who had cast the final desperate spell that had thrown her children from Elden, but Liliana's father had ever gloated that he'd thwarted the queen's magic with his own.

What only Liliana knew, because he'd once betrayed it in a rage, was that the Blood Sorcerer believed he had failed. Perhaps he had with the three oldest children, but not with the youngest…with Micah. Her father's blood enchantment had held strong as the child grew into a man, into the dread Lord of the Black Castle.

Oh, he would be pleased. So, so pleased. For those he bespelled rarely, if ever, broke through the veil and found themselves again. Liliana's mother had not—she haunted the hallways of his castle to this day, a slender woman with skin of the dark, lush honey-brown that spoke of Elden's southern climes, and eyes of uptilted gold.

Irina believed herself the chatelaine of a great keep, childless and with her only duty being to see to the needs of the master—even if those needs meant nights filled with screams and bruises ringed around her neck more often than not. Her gaze glanced off her daughter even when Liliana stood directly in her path and pleaded for her mother to remember her, to know her.

By contrast, the winter-green eyes on her face right then saw her when she wished they would not. She had meant to slip unnoticed into his household, learn all she could about him before attempting to speak the truth of his past. She'd been ready to cope with a lack of memory, for he had been only five when Elden fell. But if he was caught in the malicious tentacles of her father's sorcery, then her task had become a thousand times harder. The Blood Sorcerer's work had a way of mutating over time, so there was no knowing what other effects it might've had.

"What do I do with you?" the Lord of the Black Castle and the Guardian of the Abyss asked in a tone that held a faint, dangerous amusement. "Since I have never had an intruder, your presence leaves me at a loss."

Playing with her, she thought; he was playing with her as a cat might with a mouse it fully intended to eat—but wanted to torment first.

Anger gave her the will to stare back, her defiance born of a lifetime of fighting her father's attempts to break her. Perhaps it was futile, but she could no more help it than a cornered animal could stop itself from striking out.

He blinked. "Interesting." Steel-tipped nails grazed her cheek before he moved both hands to her shoulders again and pulled, bringing her to her feet as he rose.

She wobbled, would have pitched forward if he hadn't held her up. As it was, one of her hands slammed up against the cold black of his armor. It felt like rock. Her father's sorcery she thought, had grown upon itself, turned his mental prison into a physical truth. To counteract the spell, she'd first have to remove his armor.

Of course, before she could attempt any such thing, she had to survive.

"The dungeon," the monster said at last. "Bard!"

A heavy tread, one that made the ground tremble. A second later, Liliana found herself being picked up in huge tree-trunk arms as the monster watched. "Take her to the dungeon," he said. "I'll deal with her after I hunt those destined for the Abyss tonight."

The command echoed ominously in Liliana's mind as she was carried from the hall in a hold that was unbreakable. In contrast to the strange whispering hush that pervaded this castle of harshest stone, she could feel a big, steady heartbeat against her cheek, the speed of it so slow as to be nothing human. Unable to turn her head, she couldn't see who—what—it was that carried her with such ease until they passed through a hall of black mirrors.

His face appeared as if it had been formed of clay left in a child's hands. It was all knots and bulges, misshapen and without any true form. He did have ears, but the large protrusions stuck up far too high on the sides of his head. And his nose…she couldn't truly see it, but perhaps it was the small button hidden between his distorted cheeks and below the overhanging jut of his brow.

Ugly, she thought, he was truly ugly.

That made her feel better. At least one being in this place might have some sympathy with her. "Please," she managed to whisper through a throat cracked and raw.

One of those ears seemed to twitch, but he didn't halt his steady, relentless pace toward the dungeons. She tried again, got the same response. He wouldn't stop, she realized, no matter what. For the monster would punish him. All too aware of the cage created by that kind of fear, she went silent, conserving her energy.

It was as well, for this Bard's long, slow strides soon brought them to a dark corridor formed of crumbling walls, the only light coming from a single flickering torch. Then she glimpsed the stairs. The descent into the menacing maw of the Black Castle was narrow and tight enough that Bard's head scraped the top more than once, his shoulders barely fitting. She felt her feet brush the stone, too, but Bard just held her in a more restrictive way, ensuring she took no injury.

She didn't make the mistake of thinking it was because of any care on his part. No, he simply didn't want to be responsible for explaining why the prisoner had been harmed in a way that had not been mandated by the Lord of the Black Castle.

The stairs seemed to spiral down interminably, until she wondered if she was being taken into the very bowels of the Abyss itself. But the dungeons they finally came to were harshly real, the passageway lit by a torch that gave just enough illumination for her to see that each cell was a black square broken up by a small window set with bars. She strained her ears but heard only silence. Either there were no other prisoners…or they were long dead.

Opening the door to the nearest cell, Bard stepped inside and placed her in the corner, atop a bed of straw. His eyes met hers, and she sucked in a breath. Large and dark and full of sorrow, they were the eyes of a scholar or a physician, shimmering with compassion. But he shook his head when she parted her lips.

There would be no mercy from him, not here.

As he turned to step out, he grunted and rattled something in the other corner. Then the door slammed shut, leaving her in a darkness so complete, it was stygian. But no—a scrap of light flickered in from the flames of the torch outside, enough to allow her to navigate the cell.

Gathering her strength, she crawled to where Bard had rattled what sounded like a metal bucket. Her hands touched it after what seemed like hours, and she felt her way carefully up its side until she could dip her fingers within.

Water.

Her throat suddenly felt as if it was lined with broken glass. Sheer need gave her the strength to pull herself up onto her knees and cup her hands, drink her fill. The water was cool and crisp and sweet, the droplets trailing down her wrists. It was beyond tempting to gorge, but she stopped herself after a bare few mouthfuls, aware her empty stomach would revolt if she overindulged.

Her eyes more accustomed to the shadows now, she glimpsed something else beside the pail. A steel container. Opening it, she found a small loaf of bread. Hunger a clawing beast in her stomach after days without food, she ripped off a piece and chewed. The bread wasn't moldy or stale but simply lumpy and hard—as if the baker had been given instructions to make it as unpalatable as possible.

A skittering to her left, the sound of tiny paws on stone.

She turned her head, found her eyes meeting two shiny ones that gleamed in the dark. The sight may have incited fear in another woman, but Liliana had long made pets of such creatures in her father's home. Still, she examined her roommate carefully. It was a small, quivering thing, its bones showing through its skin. Hardly a threat. Tearing off a piece of bread, she held it out. "Come, little friend."

The mouse froze.

She continued to hold the bread, almost able to see the way the tiny creature was torn between lunging for the food and protecting itself. Hunger won and it darted to grab the bread from her grasp. An instant later and it was gone. It would return, she thought, when its belly forced it to.

Closing the container with half the loaf still inside, she placed it beside the water and made her way to the straw. For a dungeon, she thought drowsily as her body began to shut down, this place was not so terrible. The monster clearly needed to take lessons from her father in how to make it a filthy pit full of screams and endless despair.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 67 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(36)

4 Star

(23)

3 Star

(7)

2 Star

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1 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 67 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 21, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Hot, Romantic, and Sexy!

    As always, Nalini Singh comes back to tease us with more unconditional love and hot sex scenes! I have always loved Singh's writing, and it was no different in LORD OF THE ABYSS.

    LORD OF THE ABYSS started out with a brisk pace, throwing Liliana right into the midst of the throne room in the Black Castle. So the suspense and thrill level has always been on the up high. And from there, it never got boring.

    Liliana's role in the book was to infiltrate the Castle, get to Micah, lead hero, Lord of the Black Castle, Guardian of the Abyss, and youngest heir of Elden, and help him remember a past that he cannot recall, and get him to Elden by the midnight in a few days time to defeat her infallible father, the cold and ruthless Blood Sorcerer, before midnight in a few days, before Elden falls true to the evil clutches of the Blood Sorcerer. And saving an entire kingdom isn't exactly an easy task for one young woman.

    Our lead heroine, Liliana, wasn't pretty or perfect, and naturally, Micah's reaction to her was rather neutral. But as the story progressed, and Micah and Liliana got to know each other better, the romance that developed was so sweet! The way Micah behaved around Liliana made her forget about her imperfections... Made me forget her imperfections. He made her feel hot and beautiful. All that and both personas' basal characters held firm.

    Liliana, though flawed and with a low self-esteem, had a heart so pure and compassionate. They were just too cute together, especially since Micah's never been around courting couples and as such, he is, in a way, very child-like when it comes to wooing Liliana. He's very honest about his feelings, very straightfoward and explicit in showing what he wants.

    There is a lot of affection between them that made reading it such a joy. The sexual tension's a killer too. The plot's a little fantasy-like with the usual Paranormal Romance touch. But I daresay it bordered on being an Erotica. There were quite a number of explicit sex scenes in here! Not that I'm complaining, but it did slow down the plot. Upped the sexiness, but debilitated the action.

    All in all, I did like this book. A lot. I loved the action, the romance, the suspense, the characters... Everything!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2012

    Favorite in the Series!

    I loved this book so much! It was my favorite in the series hands down, and of course, why not, it was written by Nalini Singh! She is the QUEEN of love scenes, nobody, and I mean nobody does them better! She knows how to build and build and build a scene until you swear YOUR heart is about to bust if we don't get to the good stuff already! LOL! But this book is about so much more than the bowchicawowwow!! I loved Micah, despite everything surrounding him and what he'd become he was so innocent in in so many ways, especially when it came to women. I also loved Liliana for her strength of character and not falling prey to her bloodline or her father's demands to come to heel. This is another book I'd gladly read again just because, to see the journey the two characters take, one knowing what is coming and trying to prevent it, one just trying to figure out why they are so affected by the other's presence. It was the perfect ending to the series, it couldn't have ended on any higher note. If you like this series you will love this last edition!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 12, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Romancing the Book

    Reviewed By: Jen
    Review Copy Provided By: Net Galley

    This book is by far the strongest of the series. The fairy tale featured here is Beauty and the Beast, with the roles reversed. Micah is the youngest of the royal children scattered to the ends of the kingdom to be spared from the Blood Sorcerer who conquered Elden. And Liliana is the daughter of that evil sorcerer, but she's nothing like her father. The story sets out with Liliana on a journey to find Micah to help him fulfill his destiny to defeat her father. What she doesn't expect is to find a gorgeous young man who seems to look past her disfigurements and sees what's beneath, but doesn't know anything about his family and the quest he must undertake.

    I really did like the idea of this series. But I think by having different author write each of the stories, the series as a whole fell short for me. However, this book was the highlight. I enjoyed getting to know both Micah and Liliana and watching their romance play out. The overall arcing plot was continued and concluded in this tale. I think the only thing that didn't give this book a better rating from me was the lackluster ending. I expected some grand finale battle, but it didn't really happen. And of course, the prologue was a nice added bonus.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2011

    The Lord is Great!

    Micah is a wonderful leading man, and I loved the simplicity of this story. A Beauty and the Beast setup but with the Beauty totally knowing what she's doing. Loved it. Thanks, Miss Singh for another wonderful story.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 29, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Great end to the series...

    My Review:
    What a fantastic ending to this great series. This book was about Micah, the baby of the family. He was five years old when the Blood Sorcerer killed his parents and took over his kingdom. He was flung to be the Guardian of the Abyss¿a job where he helps force evil into the abyss. It¿s a solitary job and has turned him into a warrior that most are afraid of. Since he was so young when upheaval began and there was so much magic thrown at him, he has no memory of his life before he became the Guardian.

    Liliana is the daughter of the Blood Sorcerer. She knows his evil and knows that if Elden is to survive, then Micah needs to come home before the 20 years is up. She tracks him down to the Abyss where she slowly and methodically inserts herself into his life, creating situations to help him remember his heritage. She is deceiving him, but she is doing it with the purest of reasons.

    Micah is a hero that makes my heart weep. He has never known human kindness or intimacy. Lily touches his heart simply because she doesn¿t fear him and she will stand up to him, but at the same time, she shows him a kindness and empathy that no one else ever has. That doesn¿t mean that this guy isn¿t pure alpha, because he most definitely is¿he just has a huge soft spot for this woman who has stolen a piece of his heart. I love the two of these together in the final scenes where they are putting themselves into danger. The dialogue between the two of them is magic with the romance and love between them.

    Lily has overcome so much and managed to maintain a pure heart. She is so strong. She was raised by one of the most evil men around, but she still works so that good can win. She knows how awful her father firsthand and she will do anything so that there isn¿t anyone else that has to feel the horror that is his life. She will lay down everything to make sure that Elden survives.

    This has been a great series. Each book has had a slightly different flavor with the different authors, but for the most part, they have all been good. My only complaint is I wish that there had been more to the reunion of the four siblings, but I realize that would have been difficult to accomplish with the four authors writing the series. Nalini did handle the tying up of the series very well though, with the way that she wrote the epilogue and how all four of the siblings will be living out their lives. Just a great series that I thoroughly enjoyed reading.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2011

    For those who like Humans with their paranormal hotties

    I would recommend reading the whole series Royal House of Shadows with Gena Showalter, Jill Monroe, Jessica Andersen and Nalini Singh.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2014

    Slave Slums

    Where the slaves are kept. It is basically a half cave-half shed with straw mats crammed in every available space. A rptrickle of a stream runs past the encampment, filled with waste and putrid water. Sparce clumps of bushes dot the rock outcrop, overlooking the desolation of the Shadow Lands.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2013

    Yqrqw~qe

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    QpwqQqoqeXqaqqpas
    QqAswqal0as qeqeq}AQqeXZqaad
    QzXqaqasQqqwasasasqeaqadXpqeXqQqeqpaas

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2013

    Fun read

    I love Nalini Singh and she may be my favorite author. So while I was a little dubious of this storyline, I bought it because Nalini has yet to lead me astray. And she delivered yet again. It's not her best work, but it's still worthwhile.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2012

    Prophecy

    The silver shining stars of night will swallow the writhing figures of fright
    The swift claws will rip through the flesh of all who are evil.
    The starry claws will shine with might
    And a new Clan will be bathed with light
    The dark ones will fail their plight
    As the wings of those good prevail.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2012

    HC

    Yeah ill be watching out. Lol. Theres more spys here than clan members!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2012

    [~*~]

    [~•~] Then put it up.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2012

    ..

    Here. No spies are on.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2012

    Darkfall

    A white wolf with black stripes. Shadows cover her eyes. Wolves are allowed to join, right?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2012

    An awesome read

    :)

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  • Posted May 15, 2012

    loved it.

    loved it.

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  • Posted January 23, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Nalini Singh delivers an exciting and heart-warming conclusion to the series!

    Lord of the Abyss is the fourth and last novel in the Royal House of Shadows series. The series follows four siblings, prince’s and princess of the magical realm of Elden, who were magically cast out by their parents to save them from the evil Blood Sorcerer who murdered the King and Queen and captured the kingdom, tainting it with his evil and nearly destroying the land. This last installment follows the youngest brother, Micah, who was just a boy when this tragedy occurred. Sent to the Abyss, he wakes knowing himself only as the Lord of the Dark Castle and of the Abyss, protector of the gateway where malevolent souls are taken. Until a strange creature, announcing herself as Liliana, drops from the air onto his floor… Liliana may be the daughter of the Blood Sorcerer but she is in no way evil. Biding her time and perfecting her magick, Liliana escapes her father’s castle for the Abyss seeking the last chance to save Elden and destroy the Blood Sorcerer forever. But first Liliana must make it out of Black Castle’s dungeon before she can force the Prince Micah to remember his past and his legacy. Time is running out though. Charming the dark Lord with her bravery, storytelling and cooking, Liliana slowly see’s the man hidden behind the intimidating armor and every time a piece of it recedes she loses a bit of her heart to him. But can this fearsome lord ever love the homely daughter of his enemy, even if they make it to Elden in time? Lord of the Abyss was a fantastic conclusion to the rich and unique series of the Royal House of Shadows. A first read for me from author Nalini Singh (I know, I know! *hangs head in shame* But she’s on my TBR list!) I can easily see why she has such a huge fan base. The romance of the story was heart-warming and not what you would typically find in a Paranormal Romance. Essentially a retelling of Beauty and the Beast; Liliana is not a beautiful heroine, at least on the outside. But Micah easily sees the true beauty of her beneath the exterior. While Micah is a sexy, fierce and greatly feared man, Liliana views the compassion in him that no one else sees and the joyous little boy he must have once been. Their dialogue together is what really made the novel for me. Both are innocent in the ways of love and sexuality but Micah is also un-socialized so tends to be quite blunt with his need and feelings, whether it is commanding Lily to limit her crying to only four times a year or to stop talking and kiss him. The relationship that builds between Micah and Lily’s is natural and balanced with several steamy scenes to get you squirming in your seat. An emotionally riddled story, the final battle scene tore at my heart. Nalini Singh weaves a captivating fairy tale giving new readers essential background information from the first three novels making Lord of the Abyss a good standalone, as well as new information on the four royal heirs through Liliana’s storytelling. Some loveable secondary characters provide readers with some understanding into life in the Abyss and insight into the Lord of the castle. The action and suspense is balanced well with the romance for a satisfying read and the epilogue provides the happy ending that all fairy tales need to be complete, with all four siblings and their mates. Creative and captivating, Lord of the Abyss is a recommended read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2011

    Disappointed in the ending

    I was so excited for a reunion and battle and was very dissappointed. It was an ok read, but for the final book in the series it was a let down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2011

    A Prince Charming with heat

    The last in the Royal House of Shadows series. Micah is in charge of the Abyss, and is thought to be a monster because of it. He is a true prince, honorable, charming and a little innocent. But not too innocent.
    Liliana is a true princess. She is strong, determined and smart. Liliana has overcome much having the Blood Sorcerer as her father. Together she and Micah make a wonderful team that is filled with acceptance, kindness and love. This book was a great way to end the series. I'm sad to see it end.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    chrissy

    very fast, read couldn't put it down

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