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AHLNO by Kresley ColeShannon C.’s review of A Hunger Like No Other (Immortals After Dark, Book 1) by Kresley Cole
Paranormal romance released by Pocket Star 28 Mar 06

There are some authors who, just for existing, earn my slavering fangirly devotion. With the first book in her Immortals After Dark series, Kresley Cole has cemented herself as one of them. I love an author who can make me appreciate tired romance cliches and write a subversive, feminist romance novel as well.

The plot is, when put baldly, pretty clichéd. Lachlain, king of the Lykae (werewolves) has been imprisoned and tortured for years. Finally he escapes and runs around Paris, wreaking havoc and destruction until he encounters Emmaline, a half-vampire, half-Valkyrie who is looking for information about her father. Immediately, Lachlain goes into uber-alpha male mode with the “You are my mate!” business, and forces Emmaline to accompany him back to his ancestral home in Scotland.

The thing about this book is that the cliches, somehow, work really well. I really do believe that Lachlain has been tortured terribly, and his desperation to escape was heart-wrending. He spends much of the first part of the book coming down from the razor’s edge of insanity, largely because he realizes he’s hurting Emmaline.

Emmaline was a great character. In a less skilled author’s hands, she would have been a shrieky doormat. And she is a shy, timid woman, but I understood her reasons for acting the way she did. I probably would not react terribly well either if some scary werewolf guy came up to me and said, “Hey, babe, even though you’re a vampire which means you’re a blood-sucking leech, you’re my mate. Let’s go to Scotland.”

Lachlain… Oh my. I thought he was pitch-perfect and delicious. I have a soft spot for fish out of water stories of any type, and Cole manages to capture Lachlain’s horrified fascination with the modern world believably. He learns fast, but there’s still a lot he doesn’t know. And he is equally fascinated by his mate, making a few missteps but eventually coming to the realization that, despite her vampiric nature, she really is a lovely person whose trust and love he needs.

The romance that arises between Lachlain and Emma was wonderful. I didn’t even really mind that every time they started to get jiggy with it, something would come along to interrupt them. When the consummation scene happens, it’s glorious and passionate.

There are lots of other secondary characters here as well, any or all of whom probably will get books of their own. I found the idea of a cadre of valkyries to be an intriguing twist on the whole cadre of male warriors cliche, and I love the teasing glimpses we get of all of these women, and seeing them in action definitely makes it possible to understand how someone like Emmaline could be overwhelmed, growing up with all of them.

The plotting had me riveted from beginning to end, and this was another book that cost me a night’s sleep as I was reading. The story so far left me feeling satisfied, but there are lots of places Cole can go from here, and what with the fact that there are two more books in the series, with two more coming out in May and June, she definitely has. I cannot wait to see where else this author takes me.

Shannon C's IconGrade: A

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 desire–ebb 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…?

You can read an excerpt here.