Archive for Immortals After Dark
Narrators: Simone Fomhar and Hagan Verret
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Publishing
Publication Date: August 2, 2011
Format: CD audiobook
Status: The Warlord Wants Forever is the first story in the Immortals After Dark Series. For a complete list of the titles in the series, see the IAD page on Kresley Cole’s website. My reviews of this series jump around:
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Vampires, Valkyrie
Other Info: I have read this series entirely out of order. I also tend to prefer the Lykae and Demon stories rather than the vampire ones–the exception being Lothaire, which was made of win.
Description and link from Goodreads):
Nikolai Wroth, a ruthless vampire general, will stop at nothing to find his Bride, the one woman who can “blood” him, making his heart beat and filling him with strength. Coldly interested only in the power his mate will bring, he can hardly believe when Myst the Coveted, his army’s new immortal captive, awakens him body—and soul.
Famed throughout the world as the most beautiful Valkyrie, Myst has devoted her life to protecting a magical jewel and to fighting the vampires. Wroth provides her with the perfect opportunity to torment her sworn enemy—for with his new heartbeat comes a consuming sexual desire that can only be slaked by her. Denying him, she escapes, struggling to forget his searing, possessive kiss.
The Hunt is on…
She eludes him for five years, but he has finally chased her to ground and stolen her enchanted jewel, giving him absolute power over her. Now that she’s his for the taking, he intends to make her experience first-hand the agonizing, unending lust she subjected him to for half a decade. Yet when Nikolai realizes he wants far more than vengeance from Myst and frees her, will she come back to him?
Because A Hunger Like No Other is one of my all-time favorite books, I expected to enjoy The Warlord Wants Forever. Historically, I haven’t been such a fan of KC’s vampire titles, but I’ve met Myst and Wroth in other books, and imagined that I’d like them a bit more than, say, Sebastian and Kaderin (No Rest for the Wicked). What I didn’t expect was to open a Pandora’s Box full of issues with this, the introduction to the IAD series.
I’ve stated (for the record, and repeatedly) that I have a Thing for alpha heroes. I love ‘em, and Kresley Cole is famous (and much-loved) for creating them. They’re what make her an auto-buy author for me. KC takes her heroes to the edge of acceptability, but has always managed to redeem them through their unshakeable desire to provide for their heroines, even as it wars with their equally unshakeable need to protect them. But Wroth? Well, he pole vaulted over that edge. Here’s a sampling of the things that took him from alpha hero to alpha-hole:
- He planned to separate Myst from her family–the Valkyries–forever because they’re a bad influence on her. (Not unusual in a KC hero, but still).
- He was a total jealous butt-face about Myst’s sexual past. He basically thought she was a slut and blamed her for the fact that he’d allowed himself to be another notch on her bedpost. And don’t even get him started on the fact that his long-anticipated Bride wasn’t what he wanted or expected. That Myst would turn out to be that fated creature was primarily a source of shame, irritation and frustration for him.
- He planned compel her to forget her family and stay with him forever.
- He actually did compel her to participate in sexual relations with him.
As you can probably imagine, my primary beef with Wroth was point number four. In my mind, it didn’t matter whether or not Myst would have been willing; he had no right to take the choice away from her. However, that’s just a symptom of what I considered to be the larger problem of their relationship. Wroth did not respect Myst. He had no sense of her worth, except as a temptress and sexual partner. He resented and tried to curb her warrior side. He didn’t want the Myst that actually was. He wanted the Myst that he would craft with the help of the chain that controls her.
And Myst? She was disappointing, too. Even as I knew that she’d ultimately forgive Wroth for his misdeeds, I didn’t want her to. I wanted her to explain that taking away her free will was inexcusable, unforgivable, no matter how fantastic the sex was. And I was irritated to discover that Myst wasn’t promiscuous in the past because–you know what? It was none of Wroth’s effing business how many people she slept with before they were a couple! I can understand him not wanting to hear about it (or to think about how the numbers would stack up because of her long life) but he had no right to judge her for it. Jackwagon.
The other aspect of this novella–its function as an introduction to the IAD series–is hard for me to evaluate. I don’t think I learned anything new about the world, and because I was so frustrated with Wroth and Myst’s romance, the details didn’t tickle me as much as they generally do. I love the Valkyrie and their fascination with sparkly things and nail polish, especially as it contrasts with their blood-thirsty nature. But not even Nix shone in this one. Usually Nix’s appearances perk up any IAD book. Not so this one! I imagine her character wasn’t fully developed in KC’s mind yet. That’s the only excuse I can think of.
In all, I’d tell anyone wanting to start this series that they should start with A Hunger Like No Other. I don’t think you have to read The Warlord Wants Forever to get started in the IAD universe. More importantly, however, I think it might turn away potential readers. From now on, I’ll be considering Emma and Lachlain’s story the first book in the series.
Here’s the obligatory description (as if you haven’t already read it):
A mythic warrior who’ll stop at nothing to possess her . . .
After enduring years of torture from the vampire horde, Lachlain MacRieve, leader of the Lykae Clan, is enraged to find the predestined mate he’s waited millennia for is a vampire. Or partly one. This Emmaline is a small, ethereal half Valkyrie/half vampire, who somehow begins to soothe the fury burning within him.
A vampire captured by her wildest fantasy . . .
Sheltered Emmaline Troy finally sets out to uncover the truth about her deceased parents — until a powerful Lykae claims her as his mate and forces her back to his ancestral Scottish castle. There, her fear of the Lykae — and their notorious dark desires — ebbs as he begins a slow, wicked seduction to sate her own dark cravings.
An all-consuming desire . . .
Yet when an ancient evil from her past resurfaces, will their desire deepen into a love that can bring a proud warrior to his knees and turn a gentle beauty into the fighter she was born to be?
How do I love A Hunger Like No Other? Let me count the ways. One, Lachlain. Two, Emma. Three, Nix. Four, Bowen. Five, Lachlain. Six, Nix. Sorry, couldn’t resist. This was my second time reading the first book in the Immortals After Dark Series. I read it for the first time a few months ago, which makes me I’m a recent convert. I’d heard about Kresley Cole and seen her name mentioned many times as a suggested Paranormal Romance author I should try. I think I’ve mentioned that the cover really turned me off. And now I come to think of it, it’s not very accurate. Yes, Emma has long, fair hair, but it’s curly. And the cover kind of makes it look like Lachlain is the vampire. I mean, he’s all pale and looks like he’s very interested in biting Emma’s neck. Also, Emma reflects on Lachlain’s tan skin more than once. And there’s the all-black ensemble. But, points for Emma’s nails being polished! And the gold necklace.
Why did I reread this book? Well, it all started with Pleasure of a Dark Prince. If you’ll recall, a great deal of Dark Prince covered the same time period as A Hunger Like No Other. Of course, in Dark Prince, the action is from Lucia and Garreth’s perspectives. It was great fun to go back and reread Hunger knowing the other parts of the story. While Hunger is Emma and Lachlain’s story, it also introduces Lucia and Garreth’s. We know from the first book of the series that the latter pair will end up together. Lucia is, after all, Garreth’s mate. And Lykae do not let their mates go.
All right, back to the beginning. A Hunger Like No Other begins with Lachlain sensing his mate. He is, unfortunately, in an underground prison. Vampires have been torturing him for 150 years. In order to escape, Lachlain cuts off his leg—no, don’t worry—it’ll grow back. Let me also explain a little about the Lykae/mate thing. Lykae are part of a group of mythical beings called the Lore. The Lore is made up of immortal creatures like werewolves, vampires, witches and Valkyrie, all of great age. Lachlain is “roughly twelve hundred years old.” Though Lykae live a long time, they also have only one true mate. Unfortunately, their mates aren’t always easy to find. Those same twelve hundred years that Lachlain lived, he has dreamed and waited and anticipated and prepared for the “one woman who would be his.” All this should help to explain why Lykae are so possessive of their mates.
Did I mention that Lachlain has been tortured by vampires for 150 years? I did? Oh, well, did I mention that his mate, Emma, the woman that he has waited over a millennium to find, is also a vampire? No? Well, you should at least be able to imagine the drama that ensues when Lachlain finds out that his fated beloved is one of the bloodsucking species. It’s pretty grisly. Especially for the girl, who is known among her Valkyrie aunts as Emma the Timid. When the two meet, Lachlain is furious that fate has dealt him such a blow. Emma is terrified by the bedraggled, but beautiful, man that essentially kidnaps her off the street and demands that she take him back to her hotel room.
What follows is several pages of angsty back and forth between Lachlain and Emma. Lachlain is, from the first, overbearing. This makes sense because he’s the King of the Lykae—basically the alpha of alphas. But also because he doesn’t know that Emma is only half-vampire or that she has never taken blood directly from a human before. Lachlain comes pretty close to being unforgivable. The only thing that saves him is that his anger at having a vampire for a mate is constantly at war with his Lykae need to care for and protect her. And when the latter wins out, he more than makes up for it. I love the little quirks that Cole adds into her characters, like the Valkyries’ acquisitiveness, and their love of nail polish. Lachlain’s genuine desire to make Emma is deeply ingrained. He’s planned on the ways he would make his mate feel cherished and happy for over a thousand years. So when Lachlain is finally able to move past Emma’s vampire nature, the ways that he tries to make things up to her are alternately endearing and laughable.
This book is a shining example of a successful entry into the series. It stands alone as its own story, but it also serves as the starting off point for the books that follow. There’s no awkward exposition, but we learn a lot about the world of the Lore. What impressed me when I read Pleasure of a Dark Prince was how much Cole had already planned out even before the second novel was published. It reminded me of reading the third Harry Potter book and realizing how many layers J.K. Rowling put into Sorcerer’s Stone without her readers realizing it yet.
I think I could write about this book forever, I love it that much. However, this post is already impossibly long and I need to wrap it up. I hate to end on a negative note, but it was inevitable I’d start nitpicking on a reread. You already know I love this book, so I think I’m safe enough to point out a few things I noticed. One thing that niggled at me was Emma’s repeated reflections on Lachlain’s tanned skin. I thought this was bizarre considering the fact that he has spent 150 years in an underground dungeon. Maybe immortals don’t ever lose their tans, but it still niggled at me. Another thing was that, in this reading I wasn’t as easily able to forgive Lachlain’s behavior towards Emma during the first half of the book. He’s pretty awful and if he wasn’t a fictional character I don’t know if I’d ever be able to forgive him. The last thing I want to mention is that, in the Lore, vampires’ eyes turn red when they have killed a person by drinking all their blood. Emma does not have red eyes and yet Lachlain never stops to reflect on this when he is accusing Emma of being a filthy bloodsucker. I suppose that this could be chalked up to Lachlain’s irrationality brought on by the torture he’s experienced.
There’s so much more I wanted to say, so maybe I’ll have to do a follow-up post on A Hunger Like No Other. For now, I need to stop. My eyes are crossing even though my brain is still churning with thoughts. See you soon!
I just finished my reread of A Hunger Like No Other. I lurv that book. Why does no one else write like Kresley Cole? I’ve searched and read in vain. I’m sure I’ve only scratched the surface of Paranormal Romance but nothing I’ve come across has satisfied me in the way that Cole’s work does. I mean, it’s well-written. Her characters are three-dimensional. She’s funny. Her world-building is awesome. There has to be another author out there that can suck me in like she can. It’s just–who is it?
A DANGEROUS DEMON SHE CAN’T RESIST . . .Malkom Slaine: tormented by his sordid past and racked by vampiric hungers, he’s pushed to the brink by the green-eyed beauty under his guard.
A MADDENING WITCH HE ACHES TO CLAIM . . .Carrow Graie: hiding her own sorrows, she lives only for the next party or prank. Until she meets a tortured warrior worth saving.
TRAPPED TOGETHER IN A SAVAGE PRISON . . .In order for Malkom and Carrow to survive, he must unleash both the demon and vampire inside him. When Malkom becomes the nightmare his own people feared, will he lose the woman he craves body and soul?
It took me a relatively long time to pick up this book, but I claim this blog as the reason for my tardiness. Most everyone probably knows by now that I love Kresley Cole. I think I’ve mentioned it once or a million times. So this week, after the disaster that was Dead Beautiful, I was aching to get to Demon from the Dark. I stared longingly at it from across rooms. I caressed its spine with loving anticipation. Um…before I embarrass you any further, I think I’ll get started with my review.
For those of you familiar with the Immortals After Dark Series, you’ll recognize this book’s heroine. She’s none other than the best friend of Mariketa the Awaited (from Dark Desires After Dusk). Carrow is a witch, just like Mari. She’s also a wild child, known for her partying ways and her lack of inhibitions. At the beginning of the novel, Carrow has been kidnapped and, along with several other members of the Lore (Cole’s fictional world of fantastic creatures), is being held in a facility on an island. The group responsible (called The Order) has been studying–and torturing–the creatures of the Lore so they can be eliminated. Carrow’s–and everyone elses’–powers have been nullified by a torque around the neck. For Carrow, it wouldn’t matter anyway. Her power is fueled by happiness and revelry–which are both lacking in the facility where she’s found herself.
Carrow quickly discovers why she has been kidnapped. It’s not for her powers–which are impressive–but in order to attract and help capture a rare creature in the Lore: a vemon, aka, a vampire demon. A vemon is a powerful creature, having the powers of both mystical beings, and The Order wants to the chance to study one. The vemon in question is Malkom Slaine–former slave, turned general and now boogeyman of the land of Oblivion.
Malkom is the ultimate tortured hero. He’s suffered numerous betrayals–all on top of a horrendous childhood as a blood slave. When Carrow first meets him, he’s pretty much all caveman. He’s filthy, savage and doesn’t speak a lick of English. What he does do is recognize that Carrow is both his mate and his Bride. Recognizing this, he attempts to claim her, which doesn’t exactly go down well with Carrow.
Demon from the Dark is both interesting and, ultimately, frustrating in that, for a great deal of the novel, Carrow and Malkom cannot communicate. Malkom once knew English (though he calls it Anglish), but it was the language of vampires that tortured him. He has forced himself to forget whatever he knew. Carrow’s demonish is limited to a few raunchy phrases taught to her by some jokester demons. The two have to communicate with each other through mimes and pictures drawn in the sand. I didn’t mind this at first. But after a while, it really bothered me that they were so physically intimate any yet they couldn’t even have a conversation.
The lack of ability to communicate with each other means that the alternating POVs involve a lot of internal dialogue. We know what Carrow’s thinking. We know what Malkom’s thinking. But neither knows what the other is thinking. This isn’t uncommon–I’d say it’s the opposite, really–in male/female relationships. In fact, it’s one of the things I love best about first-person narrative. It places you entirely in one character’s head–everything is skewed by their perspective. But in Demon from the Dark, knowing so much about what each character was thinking was only frustrating. Part of this was clearly intentional–it must be frustrating to basically live with someone who doesn’t speak your language–but it wasn’t the delicious kind of frustration I usually feel in first-person narrative. Do you know what I mean? That feeling when the heroine is trying to parse out the hero and you know that he loves her (because it’s a romance novel, after all) but the heroine doesn’t know that and you could squee because the tension is so fainting-couch-good? …Or maybe you don’t.
My other problem with this novel was that Malkom was a little too uncomfortably alpha for me. Don’t get me wrong–I like alpha heroes. I especially like Kresley Cole’s alpha heroes. But Malkom crosses the line from alpha to caveman. Again, this is partly intentional. Malkom’s supposed to be uncouth. He’s avoided women all his life–he’s never even slept with one. It makes sense that he doesn’t quite know what to do with Carrow once he has her. But the way that he comes onto her when they first meet–it made me uncomfortable. Malkom’s demon-slash-vampire nature makes him twice as susceptible to the out-of-control reaction a male has to his mate. But as far as I’m concerned, he crosses the line.
Because of Carrow and Malkom’s first meeting, I was never able to warm up to him. I was never able to feel that his awful childhood and the torture and betrayals justified the way he treats Carrow. Yes, she betrays him. But she also clearly has reasons. Even when Malkom learns her reasons, he’s still a jerk. In the end, I didn’t really want them to be together. I think Carrow deserved better.
What did I like about this novel? I liked catching up with Mari and Bowen. I am totally intrigued by what Lothaire is up to. And Nix. I also really liked Carrow. I didn’t expect to. I tend to prefer a more reserved heroine–but I really liked her relationship with Ruby. And I liked Ruby–and not just because we share a totally awesome name.
All in all, however, I wasn’t terribly impressed with this book. That didn’t stop me from devouring it. Cole is a terrific writer. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series. I’m dying to read Nix’s book. But that’s all this book really meant for me–a bridge to the next books in the series. Something to tide me over until better creatures from the Lore come along.
I think I’m in love. I fall for Kresley Cole’s Lykae heroes every time. I love that they yearn to find life-mates. I love that they’re always tall, gorgeous male specimens. I love their protective streak and their single-minded “She will be mine”-ness. In fact, like Lucia, I have a thing for jealous alpha males. Sigh.
But, um, I’m not sure how to say this…Well…I hate the way they talk. Because all Lykae seem to come from Scotland, they all speak with a thick brogue. Which means that when they’re talking to one another, the dialogue reads like this:
“I need to follow Lousha.”
“Aye, o’ course you must go after her. But maybe you could leave after my wedding?”
“I canna.” Garreth took a swig. “No’ unless you need me. To help you…acclimate.”
Just, FYI, I deleted some of the extraneous internal dialogue from this passage. Anyway, I don’t mind the “wees” and the “lasses” so much as the dropped consonants. Every time I see them, I want to shout, “It’s not, you idiot!” And the “ayes”. God save me from the “ayes”. But that’s just nitpicky niggly stuff and I can mostly ignore it. Because Kresley Cole is wonderful.
Pleasure of a Dark Prince is the seventh book in the Immortals After Dark series. I have to confess that I have not read all of them. This is mostly because I started the second book (No Rest for the Wicked) and was almost immediately bored by Sebastian and Kaderin’s story. The result was that I did not finish that book, but went straight to Bowen’s (Wicked Deeds on a Winter’s Night). I keep telling myself to try another book with a vampire hero, that maybe Sebastian was an aberration, but I haven’t yet. Am I wrong? Let me know.
Pleasure of a Dark Prince has the same time line as A Hunger Like No Other, but it tells the events of Emma and Lachlain’s story from the perspective of Lucia (Emma’s aunt) and Garreth (Lachlain’s brother). When Pleasure of a Dark Prince begins, everyone who is familiar with the series knows what’s going to happen. Garreth will recognize Lucia as his mate and she will disappear. What we get to learn this time is why Lucia runs away, why she refuses to become Garreth’s mate.
I liked that Lucia’s reasons for rejected Garreth are layered, even though they are based on one simple fact. If she sleeps with Garreth, she will lose her ability as an unparalleled archer. It is her skill as an archer that is supposed to save her from a long-ago enemy. But it’s more than that; being Lucia the Archer has been Lucia’s identity for so long that she fears that she’ll be nothing without it. And being Garreth’s mate is not a substitute she is willing to accept.
So, to explain a little of the plot: Long ago, Lucia made a vow of chastity to a goddess in exchange for her extraordinary ability with a bow and arrow. When Garreth comes along, he is the first male to challenge that vow. The two are instantaneously attracted to one another. For Garreth, that means one thing only: he has to claim Lucia and mark her as his own and he has to do it yesterday. It drives him crazy every time she denies him. He can’t understand how she can be attracted to him and still say “no.” This is the set-up for the first part of the novel: Garreth talks big about seducing Lucia and Lucia talks big about not wanting him.
Finally, with the help of Nucking Futs Nix (a recurring character who will [yea!] someday have her own novel), Garreth tracks Lucia down as she’s boarded a boat for the far reaches of the Amazon Basin. Lucia is forced to accept Garreth’s help because it turns out he’s the only person ever to return from her ultimate destination (and live). Lucia lets Garreth know a part of the secret she’s keeping, but not everything. She knows that if she tells Garreth everything, he will take control out of her hands and solve the problem for her. But the secret that Lucia’s keeping is big and she knows that hers is a task that no one else can complete.
One of the things that I love most about Kresley Cole’s books is that, while her heroes are alpha males, her heroines are not cowering females. They are strong, opinionated, funny and smart. They don’t let their men walk all over them. Though Lucia likes that Garreth has an over-protective streak, that doesn’t mean she is willing to let him take control of her life or fight her battles for her. It’s heroines like Cole’s that make the alpha male really work.
I did love this book. It didn’t give me the same delicious afterglow as A Hunger Like No Other, but I did look forward to getting back to reading it and I was always reluctant to put it down. There was one thing that kept Pleasure of a Dark Prince from 6 Point Status, however. That is, I felt that Lucia was able to get out of her deal with Skathi (the goddess) much too easily. I was too pat, too easy. I confess I was disappointed. I thought Cole’s solution would be more clever than it was.
I should add that Kresley Cole did really setting this particular fan up for wanting to read the next books in the series. I can’t wait to see what Lothaire is up to. And what the deal is with Regin and Carrow. Also, it was nice to catch up with old characters. And, yea!, a baby for Lachlain and Emma (maybe).
I want to end this post with a question. Does anyone know of any other books featuring Valkyrie? The only other place I’ve seen them show up is in Carrie Jones’ Captivate. I’d like to see some other authors interpretations of this mythical group, so please, please let me know if you can make any recommendations.