When Elise Kavanagh retired from demon hunting, she swore it would be permanent. But an attack from a powerful necromancer forced her back into the business, and now she’s trying to balance her normal boyfriend and normal job with everything supernatural.
Mr. Black is a demon hunter gone rogue. He’s enslaving angels and stealing ethereal artifacts in pursuit of forbidden immortality. An old grudge drives him to make his final stand in Elise’s territory. Destroying her life and killing her friends isn’t the goal, but it’s a definite perk.
A demonic overlord offers to join against Mr. Black and protect Elise’s loved ones. All she needs to do is ally with the demons she’s sworn to kill, at the cost of her morals–and maybe her immortal soul. But once she crosses that line, there’s no turning back.
Nothing is sacred when Heaven and Hell collide on Earth.
I’ve learned a couple of things while reading S.M. Reine’s Descent series. The first is that I should have read this entire series before starting her Ascension series. (That ship has sailed, so I’m really only making this point so readers won’t make the same mistake that I have.) The second thing is that there is no way that I can possibly stop now. (Not that I am even considering it, but again… I needed to make a point.) Honestly, I’m not trying to discourage anyone from jumping in the the S.M. Reine universe, but it’s a complex, involved, intense and emotional place. Consider yourself both warned and tempted.
So much happens in The Darkest Gate that I’m not sure quite where to start. Not a lot of time passes between Death’s Hand and The Darkest Gate, but there’s enough. This one jumps back and forth between the past and present too, but it wasn’t quite as disorienting as it seemed to be in Death’s Hand. That might be because I expected it. Some readers may not like the time changes, but there is so much back story that it is almost necessary. I kind of liked getting Elise and James’ back story. Who they are now is defined by who they were and even more important to who the eventually become… but that’s another story (and another series) entirely.
Elise makes some decisions in The Darkest Gate that will affect everyone she cares about. She ends up doing the wrong things for the right reasons. She’s a physical and emotional wreck. She has grown to care about people she never expected to and the one person she has ever been remotely attached to seems to be moving on. Elise pretty much broke my heart in this one and it was totally unexpected. *sigh*
Then there was James. I’m an emotional roller coaster when it comes to him and most of that is because I was first introduced to him in the Ascension series. He’s as confused about his feelings as Elise is and not in the way that you would expect. It’s obvious that he cares about Elise but he doesn’t know how to… at least that’s the way it seems to me. There relationship is beyond complicated… way beyond.
Add to all of that the past enemies, new enemies, borderline enemies, friends, loved ones and characters that haven’t quite been classified yet and you can just imagine… or maybe not… how intense things get. The supporting characters are just as important as the main characters and you can’t help turning the pages just to see who survives, who doesn’t and what lengths people will go to get what they want. It’s not just the bad guys who straddle the line between good and evil. In true S.M. Reine fashion, no punches are pulled, there is no black and white, true good and evil or right and wrong. No one is immune or safe. This is one author who definitely keeps things interesting.
As much as I wish I would have started from the beginning of this series before I started the Ascension series there’s not much I can do about it now. I’d also like to say that I will finish the Descent series before I continue the Ascension series but I know I won’t. I’m already immersed in both past Elise and future Elise and there’s no turning back. I’ve said it before – if S.M. Reine writes it, it will be read – regardless of where in the progression of things those books fall.