Thank you to Alexis for giving me two of Kresley Cole’s paranormal romance books. I hope I can do justice to their supreme, but occasionally kind of delicious, silliness. In a genre of guilty pleasures, they are the guiltiest.
The Immortals After Dark books can be read as standalone novels, but the stories and characters overlap. In this “Lore” world, fairy tales are real, vampires are considered vulgar, and there is an escalating war between Things That Go Bump in the Night, plus everyone stays young forever and no one ever gets fat. The series has a fun but odd juxtaposition of quippy writing and immortal beings acting all mythical’n'sh*t. Additional novels are published with metronomic regularity, but this is the current series list (reviewed books are in bold): The Warlord Wants Forever ; A Hunger Like No Other; No Rest for the Wicked; Wicked Deeds on a Winter’s Night; Dark Deeds at Night’s Edge; Dark Desires After Dusk; Kiss of a Demon King; Deep Kiss of Winter ; Pleasure of a Dark Prince; Demon from the Dark; Dreams of a Dark Warrior; Lothaire; MacRieve, Shadow’s Claim.
Plot Summary (All): Boy mythical creature meets girl mythical creature. Sexual attraction supernova. Reluctance and/or hindrance. Comeheregoaway. Adventure. Comeheregoaway. Unite to resolve challenges. Comeheregoaway. THUNDER SEX™. THUNDER SEX™. Resolution. Marriage.
“What is THUNDER SEX™?”, you ask. Even with an embarrassingly high historical romance total, nothing had prepared me for the violently intense sex scenes in Kresley Cole’s books. Immortality imbues one with an orgasm tripwire. At the slightest contact, both participants are arching, gasping, pulsing, clenching, trembling, moaning, pumping, biting, sighing, throbbing, throwing his or her head back to roar at the ceiling, and d. ALL OF THE ABOVE. That, dear reader, is THUNDER SEX™.
Male Bumps in the Night: The men are all Alpha males. So far, every one is at least 6’6″ tall with black hair, an insanely muscular physique, preternatural strength, and intimidatingly height-proportionate wedding tackle. They are protective, steadfast, possessive, and besotted. The imprinting process ensures intense attraction and loyalty.
Female Bumps in the Night: The women are generally Alpha females, strong and intelligent, powerful, headstrong, and don’t take any guff. They quietly adore their mate’s ferocity. Physically they are all petite curvy allure. They are also frozen in youth and frankly young in their demeanor. The Valkyrie characters in particular seem trapped in an endless slumber party.
Kresley Cole’s writing style is distinctly flip and this what saves the books from utter ridiculousness. Well, it doesn’t exactly save them from it, but at least it feels like the author is in on the joke. These are the highest quality, most magnificent novelized Velveeta you will ever encounter, fun and completely disposable. No one is going to be writing a Master’s thesis on the gender roles in Immortals After Dark anytime soon, but if they were… I’ll save those for the next set of reviews. Malin has said she’ll to set me up with more books from the series.
If you’re the kind of person who wants to know the actual plotline of each book, they are summarized after the jump.
No Rest for the Wicked (Vampire/Valkyrie)
The Wroth family consists of 4 brothers: Nikolai, Murdoch, Sebastian, and Conrad. In each book, Cole describes them as having an “Estonian” accent. I am convinced they sound like Dracula and are all “Ve vant to suck your blud.” The Wroths were fearsome warriors when mortal, so fearsome they impressed the Bump creatures even before they died. Nikolai and Murdoch were turned voluntarily, Sebastian and Conrad were not and are still pissed off three hundred years later. This book is Sebastian’s. In romance, being a Sebastian is a lot of pressure. There have been some pretty epic Sebastians. Classic Sebastians. Mr. Wroth is not one of those, although he is quite scholarly and gentlemanly.
Sebastian is “blooded” by a Valkyrie named Caderin the Coldhearted. She’s a vengeance wielder with a predilection for killing vampires and as such not happy about her prospective mate. He does his best to win her over by competing with her in the Lore version of The Amazing Race (verbatim, people, that’s how it is described) called The Talisman Hie. In the process, there is fighting with sharks, traversing a lava flow, some quality time with a nest of basilisks, and, of course, THUNDER SEX™.
Wicked Deeds on a Winter’s Night (Werewolf/Witch)
If Sebastian Wroth is an Alpha male, Bowen MacRieve is an ALPHA male and, drum roll please, MY FIRST WEREWOLF. Oh sure, I’ve read some M/M shape-shifter novellas, but this is my first official lycanthrope [shiver of joy]. The story overlaps with the preceding one by starting out with The Talisman Hie, but veers off from there. It’s the kind of book that uses the word “magick” a lot.
Mariketa is a young witch still learning to manage her gifts. When the book opens, she is wearing a red cloak to disguise herself because, you see, she is Red Riding Hood and MacRieve is the Big Bad Wolf. Mariketa is destined to be the most powerful witch in the world once she stops blowing stuff up and crosses over to become an immortal. Bowen MacRieve is competing against her in the Talisman Hie because the grand prize is a key which can temporarily turn back time. Bowen lost his mate 180 years ago and is still bereft and very grumpy. He’s quite annoyed to discover his profound attraction to Mariketa. The book drags out the comeheregoaway, but was fun.
Cheesey Detail: Bowen is Scottish and every time he says “do not”, Cole writes it as “doona”. Sublime.
Cheesey Detail B: Bowen has was it described as a “thumb claw”. Ew. Unless he is a classical guitarist, otherwise, EW!
Dark Deeds at Night’s Edge (Vampire/Phantom)
Conrad is the Wroth brother who has partaken of human blood. In this world, that means he has slowly become insane by absorbing the memories of his victims. His brothers kidnap and incarcerate him in an abandoned manor hoping to tame his bloodlust. He’s large, strong, and miffed. The manor is occupied by Neomi Laress, the ghost of a murdered prima ballerina. Conrad is the first person to be able to see and hear her in 80 years. Because they cannot touch, their preliminary interactions are kind of like ghostly Skype sex. When Neomi finds a way to assume corporeal form, THUNDER SEX™ and hijinks ensue.
Deep Kiss of Winter (Vampire/Valkyrie)
Murdoch Wroth vants to suck your blud and has a way with the ladies. He is blooded by Dany the Ice Maiden, a Valkyrie who is also literally an ice queen. In addition to the usual “I hate vampires” party line, Murdoch cannot touch Dany without hurting her due to their differences in body temperature. I know. There is actual dry humping. DRY. HUMPING. In a romance novel. When you write this many novels about fated mated being kept apart by [insert specious reasoning and/or convenient inter-species challenge here], you have to think of new and exciting ways to create distance, but it was dull and not exactly THUNDER SEX™-Y.