Originally posted on Leah’s Books.
The Dark King
- Author: Gina L. Maxwell
- Genre: Romance/Fantasy
- Publication Date: September 27, 2022
- Publisher: Entangled Publishing
- Series: Deviant Kings #1
Thank you to Gina L. Maxwell and Entangled Publishing for providing me with an ARC of this book to review.
CONTENT WARNING: mention of kidnapping, murder of a loved one, mention of torture (off-page)
I thought a weekend away would be the perfect escape. Until I woke up married and trapped…by the king of the Dark Fae.
For Bryn Meara, a free trip to the exclusive and ultra-luxe Nightfall hotel and casino in Vegas should’ve been the perfect way to escape the debris of her crumbling career. But waking up from a martini-and-lust-fueled night to find herself married to Caiden Verran, the reclusive billionaire who owns the hotel and most of the city, isn’t the jackpot one would think. It seems her dark and sexy new husband is actual royalty—the fae king of the Night Court—and there’s an entire world beneath the veil of Vegas.
Whether light or shadow, the fae are a far cry from fairy tales, and now they’ve made Bryn a pawn in their dark games for power. And Caiden is the most dangerous of all—an intoxicating cocktail of sin and raw, insatiable hunger. She should run. But every night of passion pulls Bryn deeper into his strange and sinister world, until she’s no longer certain she wants to leave…even if she could.
I’ve read a few Gina L. Maxwell books, and it feels like each one is even better than the last, so it should come as no surprise that my planned reading list went completely out the window when I received this ARC just as I was finishing a book, and I completely dropped everything to start reading this, even though it isn’t being released until September. I had a friend who beta read this, and after the positive feedback she gave, I couldn’t wait to start this. The extra-high expectations I had for this book weren’t misplaced, and after reading it, I can say it far surpassed anything I could have dreamed up.
This is the first Maxwell book I’ve read that crosses the line from erotic romance into the fantasy genre, but have no fear, it still brings that spicy heat that I’ve come to expect from Gina, while still offering an incredibly riveting story with a great plot, fantastic characters, and magnetic chemistry between them. I loved everything about this book, so this review is hard to write, mainly because I don’t know where to start!
I guess I’ll start with the plot, since that’s what sucked me in first and kept me engrossed from start to finish. What always pulls me into her stories is her ability to weave this amazing plot that always feels fresh and original. In this case, a random girl from the Midwest gets a free trip of a lifetime to Vegas, where she crosses paths with the King of Vegas, Caiden Verran. What she doesn’t realize is that he’s a literal king, of the dark fae. And after a drunken night, they find themselves married. Except there’s complications—he’s under a curse which creates a huge problem for both of them. It puts them both in danger, and I couldn’t stop reading, wondering what was going to happen next.
The characters were all fabulous. Every single one of them was well fleshed-out, even the side characters, and I enjoyed getting to know them. They’ve got such unique personalities to them, and I loved the banter between them. The MCs have a sunshine/grumpy dynamic that is my weakness in books, and watching the two of them get to know each other and break down the walls between them in a forced proximity situation was was done beautifully. And I can’t lie, a little part of my heart was so happy when I realized that Bryn was a book nerd.
Let’s talk about the spice in this book. Gina has this part locked down. She’s a master of writing spicy scenes, with sexual tension building throughout the book until I was literally squirming in my seat. There was one extra spicy scene that snuck up on me while I was sitting with quite literally the last person I’d want to be sitting with while reading an erotic scene, and I kept on sliding my kindle a little further away while trying my hardest not to blush. I had to message Gina on social media to tell her about this, because I knew she’d get the biggest kick out of this, and she definitely did.
However, this book is so much more than porn disguised as a book. It’s an engrossing story that happens to incorporate sex scenes in it—it also involves relationship building, world-building, and one hell of an amazing plot. But don’t get me wrong; it’s also some of the best kinky spice I’ve read in a book in a while. If you haven’t read a Gina L. Maxwell book, let me tell you, you’re definitely missing out. And this is hands down some of her best work. Now to wait until she writes the next one, and in the meantime, I’ll be raving about this book to everyone I possibly can and checking out the rest of her backlist books.