Review: Shadow’s Seduction

Review: Shadow’s SeductionShadow's Seduction (Immortals After Dark, #17; The Dacians, #2) by Kresley Cole
Series: Immortals After Dark #17, Dacians #2
Published by Valkyrie Press on February 28th 2017
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 248
Goodreads
four-half-stars

FINAL DECISION:  I loved this book which is funny, angsty in the Immortals After Dark fashion, and so intensely focused on the couple that I could forget that this is part of a series.  Loved these two and their path to their HEA.

THE STORY:  Prince Mirceo Daciano, a vampire from the semi-mythical Dacia, meets Caspion the Tracker, a demon.  Mirceo wants to be more than friends with the demon, but instead settles for friendship until the two are dared to kiss by the three nymphs they had brought to their bed.  The kiss opens up a whole new problem for the two.  Caspion is determined to deny their attraction — especially because he knows what a fickle creature Mirceo is.  The possibility that the two are fated mates thrills Mirceo but he has to convince Caspion to give him a chance.

OPINION:  The romance between Caspion and Mirceo takes so many twists and turns and has as much drama as I expect from an Immortals After Dark book.

Mirceo starts the book looking to score with Caspion. He is charming and funny and irreverent.  He drives Caspion crazy with his determination, his humor and his willingness to do anything to prove the two belong together.  Mirceo, however, has his own troubles that he hides under his charming facade.

Caspion is darker and more troubled on the surface than Mirceo.  As he begins the book, he is entirely resistant to the possibility of having a sexual relationship with Mirceo insisting that he is only interested in females — even though he is attracted to Mirceo from the beginning.

These two begin with friendship that bonds them (even though Mirceo wants more) and the two begin with very sexy encounters that draw them both into more emotional and deeper connections than either expects.  This is the story of confounding expectations.  The two are truly more together — both as friends and partners — than either expects.

I especially liked the intense focus on the relationship between these two.  There is a nice dynamic of Mirceo being so open and insistent and Caspion being so resistant.  When the two finally reach and accord, it really feels that the two have journeyed together, arguing and debating and considering.

I would have given this book 5 stars, but I thought the resolution of the story was a little rushed at the end.

WORTH MENTIONING:  This is a m/m romance.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  SHADOW’S SEDUCTION is the seventeenth book in the Immortals After Dark series and the second book in the sub-series The Dacians.  This book is closest to a standalone as you will find in this series.  It is completely possible to enjoy this book without reading other books or you can read the first in the Dacians SHADOW’S CLAIM.  Of course, readers of the Immortals After Dark series

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4.5 stars.

four-half-stars

Review: Dark Skye

Dark Skye
Dark Skye by Kresley Cole
My rating: 4.25 of 5 stars

Friends to Enemies to Lovers Story Shines

“Unfortunately, Lanthe had her own stalker — Thronos, a crazed, winged warlord who’d been obsessed with capturing her for the last five hundred years.”

FINAL DECISION: Powerful and painful, the journey of Lanthe and Thronos to find peace and love is tortured and twisted and yet these two both want to recapture their childhood idyll which can only come through understanding, acceptance and williness to change.

THE STORY: Melanthe “Lanthe” of the Deie Sorceri is the Queen of Persuasion and has spent years trying to reclaim her powers. She has been running and hiding from Thronos Talos, a Vrekener, who believes she is his mate. For four short and wonderful months, the two had been best friends as children. When Thronos betrayed her, causing the death of her parents, Lanthe made him jump from a high point, causing him to almost die. Now scarred and constantly in pain, Thronos has finally hunted down and captured Lanthe and intends on forcing her to accompanying him to his home at Skye Hall so that she can provide him heirs.

OPINION: This book is a journey into the relationship between Thronos and Lanthe. The two have a lot of baggage. Their journey entails an adventure through different realms each posing challenges to the two. The best part of the book is how the two learn to compromise with one another — learning that only through acceptance and compromise do they two stand any chance of building a life together. Their journey is difficult because the two have years of personal emnity, the longstanding hatred between Vrekeners and Sorceri, and the desire of Thronos for Lanthe to be different than she is. This book goes deep into working out the relationship between Thronos and Lanthe because they have a lot to get through.

The other good part of this book is how this book pulls together some threads from prior books. For me, I love how Cole shows the IAD story from different perspectives — moving the story back and then forward with more insight.

There are also some new insights as to what is going on with Nix. As readers of IAD know, Nix, the Valkyrie Soothsayer, has been working on some play dealing with the Accession. Here, more of her machinations are revealed.

WORTH MENTIONING: This story has a very sexually experienced heroine and a virgin hero. I liked how the two dealt with her sexual past — her being unwilling to regret her past and him coming to accept her rather than wanting to change her.

CONNECTED BOOKS: DARK SKYE is the fifteenth book in the Immortals After Dark series. The story in here is complete and can be read on its own, but there is a lot of intertwining with recent books concerning events and characters. I think this book is better if a reader is aware of the IAD mythology.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4.25 stars

Review: MacRieve

MacRieve
MacRieve by Kresley Cole
My rating: 4.25 of 5 stars

Twisted and Painful and Dark But The Lykae is Also Cute

“You need to rebreak that bone. It didn’t set right.”

FINAL DECISION: The sad and painful journey of MacRieve to recover from his past where he discovers the mate he needs, treats her poorly and then realizes that she can help him heal. Chloe’s kickass personality was my favorite in this book.

THE STORY: Uilleam (“Will”) MacRieve is messed up. Tortured by his enemies, MacRieve has lost his Lykae instinct and he wants to die. The one thing that keeps him alive is the possibility of revenge. At this critical moment of his life, he meets his mate, Chloe Todd. Chloe is the mortal daughter of MacRieve’s enemy and is being auctioned off by the House of Witches. MacRieve’s instinct revives and tells him that he has to protect her. Things are complicated, however, because Chloe has secrets that even she doesn’t know that might send MacRieve from her forever.

OPINION: This is a journey through MacRieve’s past. As Nix tells him, he hasn’t healed from his past where he believes he caused the death of most of his family by his actions. His torture at the hands of the mortals has revived that pain and increased it. It’s sad that he meets Chloe and she seems to be able to help him heal, but then things go wrong.

MacRieve is brooding, dark, damaged and often times a serious jerk. He has some serious baggage that has haunted him for over nine hundred years. When he is charming, he is adorable. I also really liked the reversal of the normal Lykae story in this book. Here, MacRieve’s beast is often close to the surface and he learns to harness it through the book.

Chloe is one of my favorite heroines. MacRieve treats her poorly, but she doesn’t cower and whimper. She fights him. Her strength and determination allows her to survive MacRieve’s treatment of her. She also has to deal with some real surprises.

For fans of the series, Nix’s plans are revealed more here.

WORTH MENTIONING: This is the best epilogue but be prepared to be frustrated by having to wait.

CONNECTED BOOKS: MACRIEVE is the fourteenth book in the Immortals After Dark series. It can be read as a standalone although there is an overarching storyline for the series for which the reader needs to follow the various books.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4.25 stars.

Review: Shadow’s Claim

Shadow's Claim
Shadow’s Claim by Kresley Cole
My rating: 4.25 of 5 stars

Wow, Trehan is Adorable, Sexy and a Warrior

FINAL DECISION: Loved this story even if Bettina was a bit dense about her relationship with Cas. I absolutely loved Trehan who might be one of my favorite Immortal heroes.

THE STORY: The Dacians are ancient vampires who do not drink blood from the flesh. The realm is hidden from the rest of the Lore in mist but internal war and strife has diminished the five houses that make up Dacia. Trehan Daciano is known as the Prince of Shadows, he is an assassin for the Daci tasked with hunting down those who break the rules of Dacia. Trehan’s job takes him to Abaddon hunting after a demon Caspian who came to and left Dacia which is forbidden. Trehan ends up meeting Princess Bettina, a half demon/half sorceress who is a master goldsmith who creates weapons. She has been in love with Caspian for years but now she is determined to win him. Bettina has agreed to marry whatever male wins a tournament to the death. Trehan senses Bettina one night and discovers that she is his Bride. Trehan has to make a choice: his Bride or Dacia. Then he also has to win her heart.

OPINION: Oh, I adored Trehan. Brooding, a scholar, talented assassin and warrior. Smart, gentle, sweet and yet no pushover, Trehan is one of my favorite heroes from the Immortals series. He certainly has much more patience with Bettina than I would have. She spends far too long protecting her supposed love for Cas. For me, that is the negative of the book — the triangle goes on just a bit too long.

This has one of the best courtships. Trehan is so wonderful to Bettina (with a Lore twist). He is so controlled that it is especially gratifying to see him snap.

For fans of IAD there is something about Lothaire giving romantic advice which shouldn’t be missed.

WORTH MENTIONING: This book is written as the beginning of a spinoff series about the Dacians. Unfortunately, there has been little information about when or if this spinoff series is continuing. I hope it does because it is set up to be of great dramatic scope.

CONNECTED BOOKS: SHADOWS CLAIM is book 13 of the Immortals After Dark series and is a spinoff dealing with the Dacians first introduced in LOTHAIRE. This book can be read apart from the Immortals After Dark series but I recommend reading LOTHAIRE because they are connected.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4.25 stars.

Review: Lothaire

Lothaire
Lothaire by Kresley Cole
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

The Enemy of Old Meets His Match

“Lothaire the Enemy of Old had returned for her. Just as he’d promised.”

FINAL DECISION: Dark and macabre at times, this book fits one of the evil characters in the IAD universe. Lothaire’s mate is exactly not the woman he expected and that makes this so good.
THE STORY: Lothaire the Enemy of Old is an ancient ruthless vampire. The bastard son to the former king of the Horde, Lothaire has sworn to take over the Horde and also the kingdom from his mother’s family. Elizabeth “Ellie” Peirce is a mortal on death row and is possessed by what she terms a “demon”. Soroya an an ancient evil vampire ex-goddess and Lothaire believes that she is his mate. He intends on finding a way to exorcise Ellie and claim Soroya as his own. The complication is that the longer Lothaire is in the presence of Ellie and Saroya, the more he begins to fear that his mate might now be who he thinks it is.

OPINION: I love the struggle that Lothaire has in determining his mate. He treats Ellie terribly and one might expect that it is she who is his mate. Ellie is certainly not evil, but she isn’t a sweet, innocent miss either. Even better, she doesn’t really change Lothaire much — readers of the series can be assured that Lothaire doesn’t turn into Mr. Nice Guy, but rather controls his darkest impulses.

The story is very dramatic with sneaky and intriguing dilemmas and clever, dark solutions. Lothaire and Ellie have a very dark and dangerous journey to their happiness.

Lothaire’s mysterious past is revealed which once again adds understanding but not excuse to Lothaire’s behavior. There are big things here that effect all of the Lore.

WORTH MENTIONING: Lothaire rips out his own heart and sends it to Ellie. Weirdest courtship yet.

CONNECTED BOOKS: LOTHAIRE is the twelfth book in the Immortals After Dark series. It can be read as a standalone. It is better to read it as part of the series, however, because there is an overarching story and intricate relationships that are not really understandable to new readers.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4.5 stars.

Review: Dreams of a Dark Warrior

Dreams of a Dark Warrior
Dreams of a Dark Warrior by Kresley Cole
My rating: 4.25 of 5 stars

Dark, Sexy Action Adventure Paranomal Romance

“Hear this tale, the legend of Aiden the Fierce and Reginlet the Radiant One, a pair of lovers both bound and cursed by fate.”

FINAL DECISION: Filled with action, suspense and a dark story, this book takes the idea of Regin’s true love returning and turns it upside down as he is reincarnated as a killer of immortals. I loved the drama and angst this added to the story.

THE STORY: A thousand years ago, Regin the Radiant, a Valkyrie, fell for Aiden the Fierce, a mortal warrior and berserker. Right after Regin and Aiden made love, he was killed. For a thousand years, Aiden has been reincarnated and cursed with dying as soon as he recalls the past. Aiden has been reincarnated again as Declan Chase, a brutal soldier and member of the Order whose mission it is to capture, study and kill immortals. Captured and tortured by Declan, Raiden is now thinking on how she can make him remember their past in order that he will die and help her and her friends escape.

OPINION: The twist of having Regin’s grand love return as an enemy gives this book an edge. Declan is not merely an enemy in name only. He tortures immortals — including Regin. He is broken and dark and irresistible. I liked that the book explains but doesn’t excuse Declan’s behavior. I especially liked the ultimate resolution of the drama of the series and the question of whether Declan would remember and thus die and continue the painful history that he and Regin share.

This book is action packed and filled with characters both old and new. This book is most closely connected with DEMON FROM THE DARK which overlaps this book in content and in time.

WORTH MENTIONING: Oh Lothaire, he’s a really dark, bad and sexy dude.

CONNECTED BOOKS: DREAMS OF A DARK WARRIOR is the eleventh book in the Immortals After Dark series. It can be read a standalone but there is an overarching storyline in the series about the coming Accession, an epic battle between immortals.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4.25 stars.

Review: Demon from the Dark

Demon from the Dark
Demon from the Dark by Kresley Cole
My rating: 4.25 of 5 stars

Dark, Rich and Super Sexy

“Those who betray me do it only once.”

FINAL DECISION: I love stories with tortured men and Malkom has been tortured throughout his life. He meets Carrow and his sweetness and innocence — even while he is offering her ghoul heads as courtship tokens — is lovely.

THE STORY: Carrow Graie aka Carrow the Incarcerated is a witch and a party girl whose magic originates from the good feelings of others. Her joy, however, hides a pained heart. Rejected by her parents, Carrow desperately wants to gain their attention. In the midst of her personal strife, Carrow is captured by a human group experimenting on members of the Lore. Carrow is offered freedom if she agrees to help capture a vemon (vampire demon) named Malkom Slaine. Malkom is a demon outcast who was unwillingly poisoned by vampire blood. He now lives alone desiring revenge. When Carrow appears, he realizes that he has finally found his mate. Malkom has killed everyone who has betrayed him. What will he do when he realizes that Carrow has as well?

OPINION: Both Carrow and Malkom have sad pasts. The tension and drama where Carrow betrays Malkom ripped my heart out. Malkom is immediately such a good and sweet man who hasn’t had a life that has allowed him to show that side of himself. As he accepts Carrow as his own and courts her in his awkward and often mistaken way, he charms the reader and ultimately Carrow herself. These two seem likely doomed from the moment they meet. I also liked the caveman/city girl relationship these two have at first where they do not communicate well.

Cole once again perfectly melds the relationship between Carrow and Malkom with a plot that advances the overarching storyline of the series. While big things happen here, both old and new characters appear, the story never loses focus on the relationship of Carrow and Malkom and the question of whether a man who has been betrayed by everyone can love the woman who also betrays him.

WORTH MENTIONING: This book sets up the next round of books.

CONNECTED BOOKS: DEMON FROM THE DARK is the tenth book in the Immortals After Dark series. This book can be read as a standalone although new readersr should be aware that there is an overarching story of the series.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4.25 stars.

Review: Pleasure of a Dark Prince

Pleasure of a Dark Prince
Pleasure of a Dark Prince by Kresley Cole
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Darker Story Than Others In the Series

FINAL DECISION: This story is a darker than others in the series. I also thought that there were dark secrets that Lucia was keeping that ended up putting both her and Garreth at risk at the end of the book. I was disappointed that the drama of this book turned so much on Lucia keeping a secret that she should have revealed.

THE STORY: Lucia the Huntress (a Valkyrie) is an amazing archer and has a dark and secretive past. When the Lykae (werewolf) Garreth MacRieve scents Lucia, he recognizes her as his mate. Lucia has sworn an oath of celibacy and tries to avoid the determined Garreth. Garreth spends his time watching and protecting Lucia from a distance until she goes on a journey to confront her past and save the future.

OPINION: There was so much that I liked about this book but I did not like it as much as others in the series. My biggest complaint is that it depended so much on Lucia keeping the secret of her past. She doesn’t disclose it until it is too late and Lucia and Garreth almost die because of it. I slowly became annoyed by her continued determination to keep her secrets even when it obviously was necessary to disclose.

Despite this, I really liked these characters. I thought that Lucia was an intriguing character because she funneled her powerlessness into being powerful and yet fair and thoughtful. I felt for her painful past and the fact that she has to confront her pain again and again. Garreth is a sweetheart. I’m a fan of these “wolfy” characters. Affectionate, determined to bring joy and pleasure to their mates in all ways. I loved how he cares for Lucia even in the face of her determination to reject him.

This was a good book but not one of my favorites of the series.

WORTH MENTIONING: By the time this book ends, there are big things afoot.

CONNECTED BOOKS: PLEASURE OF A DARK PRINCE is the ninth book in the Immortals After Dark series. It can be read as a standalone but readers should be aware that these books build upon one another regarding an overarching storyline. I think the books are better read in order.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.

Review: Deep Kiss of Winter

Deep Kiss of Winter
Deep Kiss of Winter by Kresley Cole
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Loved the Kresley Cole Novella

DEEP KISS OF WINTER is a winter themed book composed of two novellas.

UNTOUCHABLE by Kresley Cole: This novella is the eighth book in the Immortals After Dark series. Daniela the Ice Maiden is a Valkyrie and the Rightful Queen of the Icere the Fey of the Frozen North. She is a reluctant because the touch of any person other than those from her homeland create terrible pain for both her and the man. Murdoch Wroth is a vampire soldier who was a rake in his human life and is one vampire who doesn’t want to find his Bride (the one woman who can make the vampire’s heart beat again). Of course, Daniela is Murdoch’s Bride and the two begin a contentious difficult on again off again relationship.

I thought this was a great holiday story. It begins at the beginning of the series and then follows the entirety of the series. It ends with the four vampire brothers and their brides. I enjoyed this replay of the series from a different viewpoint. The other part I really enjoyed was the difficult relationship between Daniela and Murdoch because of her touching issues. I liked that the book did not brush that issue aside. These two have a long difficult road to travel for their happiness and I appreciated the complexity and breadth of the story. Rating: 4.25 stars.

TEMPT ME ETERNALLY by Gena Showalter: The story of Aleaha Love a shapeshifter who has taken the identity of Macy Briggs, who is a cop with alien investigations. She ends up going out on a mission for the first time. She encounters Breean Nu, a golden skinned warrior who has come to planet with his men trying to find a new home. When he sees Aleaha, he has an attraction to her and decides that he doesn’t want to let her go. He takes her captive.

This was the first thing I have read by Showalter and I thought the story was strange and interesting, but I didn’t feel the connection between the characters. I believe the story is part of a series and perhaps it would be better if I had read those books first. I did find the shifting heroine to be intriguing and I wish I knew more about her. Rating: 2 stars.

Review: Kiss of a Demon King

Kiss of a Demon King
Kiss of a Demon King by Kresley Cole
My rating: 4.25 of 5 stars

Good Boy Attracted to a Bad Girl

“Rydstrom was known as upstanding and good, Sabine as treacherous and evil.”

FINAL DECISION: This intriguing story of a good king who has been really tired with being good and having people defer to him finds his mate in a wicked woman who is on the side of evil.

THE STORY: Rydstrom Woede lost his kingdom nine hundred years ago and has spent those years plotting to get it back. Just when he discovers the existence of a sword that can kill his “unkillable” usurper (that story is told in DARK DESIRES AFTER DUSK), Rydstrom is abducted by Sabine, Sorceress of Illusions, a wicked woman who is half sister to the usurper and working with him. Sabine intends on seducing Rydstrom and becoming pregnant with his heir in order to cement control of Rydstrom’s kingdom.

OPINION: What I found most intriguing about this book is the story that begins as a good man and a wicked woman and yet the attraction between the two demonstrates that the good boy has a bad side and the bad girl can also be sympathetic and gentle. The complexity of these characters was refreshing because the book doesn’t have a cop out that Sabine has actually been a good person all along. Her bad acts are explained and can be understood but are not diminished as being bad acts. This book moves beyond the bad/good dichotomy and allows itself to dwell in shades of grey which makes the character more vibrant, more real and more interesting.

WORTH MENTIONING: This book takes place concurrently with the previous book and fills in the gaps of what was happening in Cade’s book since this book is from Rydstrom’s perspective.

CONNECTED BOOKS: KISS OF A DEMON KING is the seventh book in the Immortals After Dark series. This book can be read as a standalone but is better read as part of the series. At least a reader should read the story of Rydstrom’s brother DARK DESIRES AFTER DUSK which occurs concurrently with this book.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4.25 stars.