About the Book
SHE WOULD DARE ANYTHING TO SAVE THE WORLD FROM HIS RULE.
EVEN HIS BED.
He ascended from the darkness years ago—Azrael the Eternal, Azrael the Undying, Azrael Who Is Death—bringing with him the black rains, the fires, the souring of the sky, and the Eaters. Now he rules in the walled city of Haven with his favored Children and his dead court, while all that is left of the living struggles to survive in the ruins of a world that used to be their own. But even as extinction looms, humanity will never surrender to their monstrous conqueror.
For Lan, this brutal life has been the only one she’s ever known, but she still believes it can change. If the war can never truly end until the Eaters are ended, she will go to Haven, to Azrael himself, and demand he end them. To her surprise, she does not immediately die the hero’s death she expected. Instead, Azrael offers her a chance to convince him, and all she has to do is submit herself to the chill embrace of the lord of the Land of the Beautiful Dead.
From the author of The Scholomance and The Last Hour of Gann comes a new vision of erotic horror! This book contains explicit sex and gore and is intended for mature readers only.
My Review of Land of the Beautiful Dead by R. Lee Smith
Life doesn’t wait for you to be ready.
Lan is the kind of headstrong, independent, stubborn heroine with a bigger attitude that sucks me into the story immediately. She knows who she is, she knows what she wants, and she is going to get it. She is the opposite of me and I love that. She has made her choice and she does not weaver. She does not falter in her goals. She stands up to a God (Azrael) and she isn’t afraid of what he will do. She is so focused and determined to achieve her goal that she isn’t afraid of the consequences. Her main goal is to convince Azrael to end the Eaters. Humans don’t stand a chance fighting off the Eaters and everyone knows it. They arrive in hordes and when a human dies they become one unless their burned. Villages and towns are getting wiped out by them and Lan’s only goal is to use and means she can and find a way to stop them.
Azrael was the God of all that remained of this world, God and Devil both. His was the only power. His was the only law. He was immoveable, impervious, eternal.
Azrael is death and life in one. I thought he might have been a zombie at first, but he isn’t. He is a singularity. He was born and he will never die. They tried to kill him the moment he was born centuries ago. He will never die. He can create undead though. He has over and over again. He also created the Eaters, which are zombie-like. He is not anyone’s typical hero/villain. He is scarred and hideious is so many ways. He is scarred, hideous looking even. Bones jutting out, no real nose to speak of, riddled with bullet holes and other torturous things done to him. For every horror the humans have done to him, his body has not died, but the scars remain. Yuck! I know.
All this, but I do not die. I have been burned, beaten, starved, crushed, stabbed, torn. Do you know, little one, the exquisite pain of drowning? Not for moments or even minutes, but for years? I have felt ice forming in my blood and smelled the smoke of my own flesh. I have worn chains until they rusted through!
When at last they thought of entombing me, I embraced my captivity, though it meant aeons in the lonely dark, eternally dying of hunger and thirst, enduring the damp and the cold and the deafening silence, so tell me, o unhappy human, what is your suffering to mine?
Underneath all of his awful traits, his gross face and the torture he brings to his enimes, he is lonely. So, so lonely. All he has ever wanted was just to loved. He created his own children for companionship, but they turn on him because he has made them love him. All he really wants is peace and love and all he get in return is war and hatred.
R. Lee Smith is an absolute genius at world building. I love the way she introduces us to this bleak post apocalyptic landscape through Lan’s eyes. We learn how his ascension destroyed the world leaving the rest of England to eek out an existence. But all that is turned inside out when Lan’s confront Azrael and we start to learn everything is not what it seems. The slow reveal of what has really happened to the world is brilliant. Azrael’s court is especially well done. No one wants for anything but everyone lives and dies based on Azael’s whims. And on a whim, Azrael shocks everyone by not immediately killing Lan allowing that slow reveal of what really happened and the society he’d created in Haven (London).
I know it doesn’t seem like it but this book does have a HEA. Lan and Azrael do fall in love eventually and we root for them to find a way to be together, but there are so very many bumps along the way. Lan starts to have a physical relationship with Azrael to stay in the estate and convince him to end the Eaters. All of his other lovers have faked their affections to get what they want, so Azrael doesn’t believe her when she reacts to his touch the way a real lover would. But he eventually comes to trust her and falls for her. He never really says the words, “I love you”, but shows her and anyway he can.
I recommend this book to anyone up for the challenge. The journey is not easy or fun at times but the there is a happily ever after that you can believe in.