Last Kiss Goodnight

Gena Showalter
January 2013, Science Fiction Romance
Pocket Books, $7.99, 436 pages, Amazon ASIN 1451671598
Part of a series

Grade: B+
Sensuality: Warm

Generally, I don’t like SciFi books, but since I am a huge Showalter fan, I thought I would give this one a try. Though it had just about everything I hate – circus story, aliens, alternate earth reality – I still devoured this book because Showalter is a master story teller!

Solomon Juddah is an assassin with a black ops group that deals with Otherworlders. Ever since they made their presence known on Earth, things have gone pretty badly for Otherworlders and from time to time, Solo and his two partners – Blue and John – are sent on missions to protect Otherworlders. Just as the three are getting their latest mission, they are attacked and Solo is captured and sold to a circus. There, he is an attraction in a zoo. He is caged in order to be viewed for the amusement of the humans by a cruel Circus manager, Jecis. Solo vows that somehow he will escape and sees Jecis’ daughter as the best way to get what he wants, even if it means hurting her.

Vika Lukas has a cruel life. Her father killed her mother when her mother tried to escape the circus life and he forced Vika to murder her beloved pet lion when she tried to free him. In addition to these cruelties, Jecis has been abusive to Vika ever since he turned to dark magic in order to try to save the circus from financial ruin. Despite this, Vika has somehow remained a pure spirit and a gentle and loving person. She loves the Otherworlders that she is forced to care for, even though they all resent and hate her. More so than the others, the latest of her father’s acquisitions pulls at her heart. Solo attracts her as no man ever has and she feels the need to not only protect him, but to allow him to protect her. When her father steps over the line and tries to force Vika into marriage to a man as cruel as he is, Vika and Solo have little time to escape the circus and try to carve out a future that is better than both of their pasts.

In all the paranormals I read, I like the idea of a soul mate that is almost a biologically destined pull toward another person, but sometimes it is hard to see if the couple really like each other beyond their destiny. In this story, it is clear that Solo and Vika are kindred spirits that are meant to be together and that complement each other perfectly. Whether they are destined to be together by Solo’s alien pull or not, they work so well as a couple that they are impossible not to love. She gives light to his dark while he gives strength to her ambitions. They work well as a team, but they do it without losing their individuality and without resenting any part of the other’s personality. It was just a perfect relationship.

My only complaint about the book was with X and Dr. Evil, the two beings that seemed to inhabit Solo’s shoulders (and later Vika’s) from time to time. It reminded me far too much of a ridiculous commercial where I could picture one dressed as an angel and the other as a devil. X was a guardian that Solo’s birth parents bestowed on him while still a child and it was made clear where he came from, but my problem was whether or not these characters were necessary. To me they were merely annoying and they really took me out of the story. Frequently, I wanted Vika and Solo to make the decisions on their own, not through the outside influence of the good and bad sides of their consciences literally talking in their ears. These two were so distracting. And their absence in times of need just screamed plot device to me. Had they been omitted, I don’t think there was anything that could have kept this book from being a DIK read.

To me, the sign of a good book is one that someone would enjoy even if it isn’t “their thing.” This book had every reason to qualify as “not my thing,” but the Last Kiss Goodnight pulled me in from the beginning. It is a book I would definitely recommend.

-- Louise VanderVliet

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