In a long-running series, there are always a couple of characters whose books are especially anticipated. However, when said book actually arrives, it’s a chancy thing…will it live up to expectations? What if it goes completely in the wrong (from the reader’s viewpoint) direction? Kresley Cole’s latest release in her Immortals After Dark series finally gives readers Lothaire’s story. You’re curious now, aren’t you, faithful reader? Oh, there might be spoilers here, yo?
Lothaire, the Enemy of Old, has been a force throughout the IAD series. Sometimes he helps, sometimes he hinders…whatever suits his mysterious (until now) ultimate goal. Finally, Lothaire is ready to claim a key piece needed to attain his goal – his Bride. Like all vampires, Lothaire searched for ages to find his Bride – the one woman that allows him to once again walk among the living. A vampire’s Bride makes his heart start beating (literally). Lothaire is an ancient being and is steps from madness…his hold on reality is getting slippery, but time with his Bride can soothe him.
Lothaire’s Bride is unique, of course. At first he thought she was plain Elizabeth (Ellie Ann) Peirce, native of West Virginia – a human, of all things! Lothaire knew fate would never be so cruel as to pair him with such a lowly creature (Lothaire’s ego is…healthy). Then he discovered that Elizabeth had been inhabited by Saroya the Soul Reaper, goddess of death and blood (and the Vampire Horde’s ancient diety – suddenly all things became clear.) With Saroya by his side, he will be able to claim the Horde (vampires who drink blood straight from the source) throne and the throne of his mother’s people, the Dacians. First, though, he must find a way to get rid of Elizabeth’s spirit so Saroya can keep the body.
Until Saroya has full control of Elizabeth’s body, she will not consummate any sort of relationship with Lothaire – and won’t even stay present (she fades into a sleep-like state). So, as you might imagine, Lothaire is inspired to find a way to get rid of Elizabeth quickly. However, these things take time and he is forced to spend some of that time with Elizabeth. As he gets to know her, he begins to wonder if it might be that Saroya isn’t his Bride…what if he is really meant to be with Elizabeth?
Elizabeth, in the meantime, has suffered all sorts of horrors due to Saroya’s possession – she’s the Soul Reaper, remember. And she really, really enjoys reaping. Thanks to Saroya’s escapes, Elizabeth ends up convicted of multiple murders and is on death row, seconds from death, when Lothaire breaks her out. Elizabeth doesn’t want to be free, though. She knows if she is free, Saroya is too and if Saroya is free, more people will die. The only alternative Elizabeth sees is her own death. When Lothaire spirits her away, he explains why he will not allow Elizabeth to die – until he is ready to extinguish her spirit so he and Saroya can rule.
Elizabeth is not on board with the plan. She decides to try whatever she can to drive a wedge between Lothaire and Saroya – including seduction. Lothaire, however, views humans as animals, so she has her work cut out for her. Somewhere along the way, though, Lothaire begins to see Elizabeth as more than a vessel for Saroya. But unbreakable vows have been made and there are more players on the field than anyone realizes.
Oh, faithful reader, as you might imagine, there is much more to this book than my summary. So much happening! So many plot threads weaving along! This is barely an overview. This book, mostly, picks up right after Dreams of a Dark Warrior leaves off (there are some prologue bits to establish things too). However, is it absolutely necessary to read DoaDW before reading this one? I say no…not if you’re pretty familiar with the series. If you’ve never read the series, this is not the place to start.
Elizabeth is an excellent heroine, says me. Smart, quick, funny – she never stops trying to find a way out of her situation and does all she can to protect her family. Lothaire ends up being a better hero than I would have ever thought. HOT! NAUGHTY! *ahem* Moving along…the supporting cast is fun, too. Some new and interesting characters (yay, spin-off series) and some characters we already know. Also, let me report that we get more information about Nix – no, not who her hero might be or anything like that…just some stuff about her background and stuff. Still…yay!
Wow, that Saroya is a piece of work. Talk about icky villains! No remorse, nothing redeeming anywhere in her character. Bleh. Not that she’s one-dimensional…just evil. Also, I think Lothaire is blind to the reality of who his bride actually is for too long. And having Elizabeth sometimes speak in a mountain dialect is unnecessary – but I find that sort of thing annoying, generally, so take that for what it’s worth.
I enjoyed the book! It’s much better (and much less bloody) than DoaDW. If you are a fan of the IAD series, you will not be disappointed. And you will definitely be intrigued by the new characters introduced. Is it worth buying in hardcover? If you are a serious fan, sure. I don’t think the payoff is as big in this book as it is in Nalini Singh’s Kiss of Snow, for example. Has Lothaire’s story been very, very anticipated? Maybe it has, but I don’t think so. So, if you are behind in the series or just curious about it (and it is an excellent series), start at the beginning…by the time you’re ready for this one, it will be out in paperback.
ALL FEAR THE ENEMY OF OLD
Driven by his insatiable need for revenge, Lothaire, the Lore’s most ruthless vampire, plots to seize the Horde’s crown. But bloodlust and torture have left him on the brink of madness— until he finds Elizabeth Peirce, the key to his victory. He captures the unique young mortal, intending to offer up her very soul in exchange for power, yet Elizabeth soothes his tormented mind and awakens within him emotions Lothaire believed he could no longer experience.
A DEADLY FORCE DWELLS WITHIN HER
Growing up in desperate poverty, Ellie Peirce yearned for a better life, never imagining she’d be convicted of murder—or that an evil immortal would abduct her from death row. But Lothaire is no savior, as he himself plans to sacrifice Ellie in one month’s time. And yet the vampire seems to ache for her touch, showering her with wealth and sexual pleasure. In a bid to save her soul, Ellie surrenders her body to the wicked vampire, while vowing to protect her heart.
CENTURIES OF COLD INDIFFERENCE SHATTERED
Elizabeth tempts Lothaire beyond reason, as only his fated mate could. As the month draws to a close, he must choose between a millenniaold blood vendetta and his irresistible prisoner. Will Lothaire succumb to the miseries of his past . . . or risk everything for a future with her?
Read an excerpt (opens a PDF, FYI).
Other books in the series: