Dark Desires After Dusk

Kresley Cole
2008, Paranormal Romance
Pocket, $6.99, 368 pages, Amazon ASIN 1416576754
Part of a series

Grade: B
Sensuality: Hot

Though the Immortals After Dark series is classified as paranormal, I’d say Dark Desires After Dusk seems more like fantasy to me, which is fast becoming my favorite sub-genre. Along with the usual vampires and werewolves, you’ve got demons, Valkyrie, sorcerers, witches, phantoms, zombies, and other interesting characters in an alternate world called The Lore that exists right beside ours. All in all, it makes for interesting story telling.

Cadeon Woede, king-making rage demon extraordinaire, finally after 900 years has a chance to redeem himself in his brother’s eyes and in the eyes of those of his lost kingdom. However, to do so he’ll have to betray his fated female - the one woman created for him who will enable him to go fully demonic (which is a good thing) - for a sword that will allow one of the Woede brothers to kill the evil sorcerer holding their kingdom. To complicate matters even further, his fated female has no idea what’s about to hit her or that she’s The Vessel, a woman born every five hundred years to give birth to a warrior who is either the ultimate good or ultimate evil.

While it’s an understatement to say that math professor Holly Ashwin has a few issues, she’s one of the most interesting heroines I've come across in a long time. As she’s heading to her math for jocks class, she’s kidnapped and when she awakens, she’s naked and chained to an altar by men with real horns. Her fear produces changes in her – changes that aren’t remotely human. As she deals with her shock, in comes Cade to the rescue. Although she doesn’t trust him, he has answers she desperately needs, and she’s a little put off by his horns, too. Cade, along with her newly found aunt, convinces her that the changes may be reversible if she goes with him on a quest to see a sorcerer who made the sword he so desperately needs.

There’s very little about this book I disliked. The heroine is a strong female who suffers from OCD. She’s neat, put-together, brilliant, yet insecure – I like her. The hero is her polar opposite: Sloppy, chauvinistic in his language (which drives the heroine insane), and not at all normal or safe. Despite the way this sounds, he is one of the most thoughtful heroes I’ve encountered. While there is a great amount of violence in the book, there are humorous moments as well. I also enjoyed the almost animalistic instinctiveness of the hero to protect and care for “his woman.” Though I was a little put off by the horns, claws, and pointed teeth at first (not really something I look for in a man), I quickly got over it.

Though this is one of the best books I’ve read this year, there were a few problems. The glossary at the beginning is quite intimidating. I avoided the book for a few days because of it (it's summer after all). Eventually, I decided to skip it and discovered that I didn’t really need it anyway, though I did go back and read it after I finished the story. While the story is part of a series, it is fine as a stand-alone except for references to characters from previous installments in the series that are made throughout the book with little explanation. Finally, I felt that this relationship was one-sided. Though I believed in the HEA, I felt that Holly would be okay without Cade if things didn’t work out, whereas he must have her to be complete. I don’t think it’s fair when one person in the relationship holds all the power.

With Dark Desires After Dusk, I’ve found a new author and series to glom and I hope that others within this series are as good as this one. So much reading...so little time.

-- Heather Brooks

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