The Darkest Surrender
Harlequin HQN, Sep 27 2011, $7.99
Fifteen centuries ago, fourteen years old Kaia Skyhawk wants to be known as the strongest harpy. Her only rival at the Harpy Games is Juliette the Eradicator. Juliet captured a male but her new consort remains defiant. Thinking she can make this warrior obey, Kaia, ignoring her mother’s admonition about men, frees him. He goes on a rampage killing many harpies. It is fifteen hundred years later and everyone especially her mother blames Kaia the Disappointment for the massacre; she and her sister Bianka have been banned from participating in the games ever since.
For the first time since the disaster, the Skyhawks sisters are invited to the games. Bianka and Kaia know someone is setting them up for something though it could be Juliette or even their mom, but each agrees they must attend. She also tells Bianka that she believes Strider is her soulmate, but he and his demon Defeat refuse to accept their attraction to the notorious harpy. However, he reconsiders his position of keeping his distance when he learns first prize at the games is the dangerous ancient Paring Rod that could kill him and his Dark Lord peers.
The latest Lords of the Underworld romantic fantasy (see The Darkest Secret) is a terrific refreshing entry due to the macabrely humorous yet lunatic Harpy culture. The story line is fast-paced from the opening fiasco and never slows down as Kaia who tasted defeat refuses to accept it again except as the demon accompanying her Strider. Madcap, the zany Harpy Games is fun to attend.