by Gena Showalter
Release Date: February 1, 2022
Book #2 in the Rise of the Warlords series
(#15.75 in the Lords of the Underworld series)
Number of Pages: 384
Ages 15 and up
CW: violence, grief, child abuse
Halo Phaninon, assassin of gods, is as cold and merciless as a machine. For victory, he will cross any line. When tasked to kill twelve of mythology’s fiercest monsters in twenty-four hours, Halo eagerly accepts. Except, each morning he awakens to the same day, forced to relive it over and over again. Only one other person retains their memory—the beauty who threatens his iron control.
Ophelia the Flunk Out hates her disaster of a life. She’s the family disappointment, a harpy warrior without a kill and powerless—or is she? Every night she’s doomed to repeat her own murder, but every morning she rises to spar with Halo, a ruthless warlord increasingly determined to save her…and lure her to his bed.
Halo’s insatiable desire for the stubborn Ophelia drives him wild…and he only craves more. If he remains in the time loop, they stay together. But if he escapes, they lose each other forever.
This book scratched an itch I didn’t know I had. This author’s LOTU series has become vast and there are a lot of characters I’ve come to know and love. This offshoot series of that series hasn’t had too much crossover as of yet, so it’s a bit contained in the harpy universe. This story is even more contained as Halo and Ophelia are the only beings that remember they are in a time loop. To tighten things even more for these two characters, the rest of the world freezes at a certain point each day so they have a whole lot of time to get to know each other.
Oh, how I love Ophelia. She is sassy and bold, yet insecure. Above all else, she is loyal. Halo and Ophelia don’t start off on the right foot. They’ve never met so are, of course, suspicious when they are the only two left to wander their frozen realm. Since Ophelia is part nymph, Halo cannot help but be dubious that she’s not using her pheromones on him. Ophelia has been told she’s not quite enough her whole life. From her sister to her past lovers, she never quite measured up. Which means she carries a huge chip on her shoulder. Having Halo doubt her word from the very beginning instantly puts her in a defensive position. But these two are perfect together and cannot deny the pull they feel, even if things aren’t playing out as they both would think they should.
One of the things I found delightful about this story is that everyone else in their world did not remember what happened, so as they changed and grew emotionally their friends weren’t privy to the gradual growth. Instead, it was like Halo did a complete 180 overnight to them. Of course, because of the nature of the quest Halo is on, all of the Astra are updated each morning and given tasks to help Halo (and Ophelia) defeat their enemy. But it’s still a shock to see Halo constantly touching Ophelia, his eyes tracking her every move.
More times than not I am a huge fan of great side characters and ensemble casts, but having Ophelia and Halo virtually alone for much of this book was perfect. I couldn’t get enough of their banter.
Can this be read standalone? It sounds wonderful but I’m not sure I want to have to read a lot of books to get to this one.
I think so. There’s not a ton of world building in it, but I think there’s enough that you would understand what was happening. And it’s definitely fine to read this one without reading all of the Lords of the Underworld. You’d get a bit more depth if you read The Warlord first. Still not totally necessary tough.