The Midnight Realm
by Sawyer Bennett
Release Date: December 6, 2022
Book #7 in the Chronicles of the Stone Veil series
Number of pages: 256
Ages 16 and up
CW: child abuse, murder, rape, drug use
Even kings who serve at the whim of gods break the rules every now and then.
As the newly anointed king of the Underworld, I’ve worked hard to clean up the mess left behind by my predecessor. The realm is in relative peace at the moment, my main focus now on deciding the fate of recently departed souls. It’s a tediously boring task, and honestly, one I despise doing. But just when I think I can’t stand another moment of the monotony, one soul changes it all.
Nyssa McKnight earned her ticket to Hell. She made her choices and even at the prospect of eternal damnation, she doesn’t seem to regret the actions that led her here. I can tell by her utter defiance that life has hardened her, a trait that has carried over to her in death. She should be begging me for mercy but instead calls me a “big old winged bat”. I should toss her right into The Crimson River for her insolence but instead I think I’ll keep her in servitude.
While I struggle to reconcile the intrigue—and attraction—I have for this human, I am forced to spend my days investigating rumors of an uprising in the Underworld. Unfortunately, my desire to keep Nyssa has provided a weak spot for the rebellious Dark Fae looking to gain control, one they’re quick to act on. Now, with Nyssa in danger and my throne threatened, I will stop at nothing to restore order, even if it means letting her go.
Can Amell, the king of the Underworld, find true love, or is he destined to rule alone until the end of days?
I was pleased to find, much like the last book in this series, I was more engaged with this story than the books at the beginning of the series. Here we pick up with Amell, who played a significant role in The Shadow Princess, as the King of the Underworld. This book can be read as a standalone with no problem. The author gives enough information for someone new to the series to be able to enjoy this oddly sweet, very sexy, gut-wrenching tale that, I promise, ends with a HEA.
From the beginning, it’s plain to see that Nyssa is not a bad person. She is someone who has had an extremely rough life that did some minor bad things to keep herself going and one major bad thing for spoiler-ish reasons. It doesn’t matter. You do bad things, you go to the Underworld for judgment. But Nyssa is used to being used, abused, stepped on and over, and otherwise disregarded. All of that has given her a tough shell, she doesn’t back down no matter how dire her situation is. Her reaction to all that is going on around her intrigues Amell and he spares her soul to get more information, thus she ends up a servant in his castle.
Amell is such a fun character. He is not a nice person until he is. There are so many things he does for Nyssa, and that he had done in the past for others, that show he actually has a huge heart. Being considered a friend/loved one of Amell is a hard-won position, but once you are in that inner circle he is loyal to a fault. Nyssa is used to being cast aside, no matter what promises or pretty words she is given. She does not trust when good things happen to her, therefore she tries to keep her distance from Amell. And poor Amell just doesn’t understand this thing called love, that’s why I said he’s fun. Oh, to watch him struggle with jealousy, tender feelings, and all-out exasperation is a joy!
There are some inconsistencies in this story, but nothing major. The chemistry between Nyssa and Amell more than makes up for any slips here and there. Watching these two learn what it means to love and be loved, full stop, no strings attached, was glorious.
This sounds like a good series, glad you enjoyed this one so much.
The last couple of books were way more to my liking than the first books. This is an author I generally love but this is not her usual genre.