I am a recent convert to the cult of Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark Series. I started the series last year and burned through the first handful of stories. Then various shit hit various fans earlier this year, and I desperately needed comfort reading. So I powered through a cool dozen books about badass immortals and wicked sexy-times in a matter of weeks.
This crazy-pants Beauty and the Beast retelling features a hell dimension complete with torture, hellhounds, and dragons, a magic castle with a mind of its own, a demon hero with revenge on his mind, and a young smart-as-hell literal fairy princess heroine who isn’t about to put up with anyone’s crapola. It’s a weird recipe for a damn satisfying and entertaining read , and I wouldn’t change a damn thing about it.
Lila is a royal fae who was exiled to the human realm at age thirteen, after her parents attempted and failed to stage a coup against Lila’s royal fiance. She’s spent the subsequent years using her book smarts to study as much as she can about governing, because she damn well intends to be queen of her birth realm and she damn well plans to kick ass at it. When her fiance and a crazy-ass Valkyrie soothsayer set her up as bait for an angry demon looking for his fated mate, her life takes a decided turn.
Sian, the “cursed” ruler of demon hell dimension Pandemonia, is struggling with his recent ascent to the throne following his brother’s death and with the unpleasantly “beastly” physical changes that ruling the kingdom is having on him. He’s also still holding a massive grudge from 10,000 years prior when his fae princess mate did him wrong in a major way. He’s been waiting millennia to get his revenge, and now that she’s been reincarnated as Lila, he’s looking forward to making her pay and ensuring that history doesn’t repeat itself.
Sian may be a huge dick and kidnapper, but he’s not all bad. He’s fiercely loyal to his fellow Morior (a super-powerful band of primordial immortals from space… sorta) and they to him. He’s genuinely in awe of Lila’s spirit and determination, even when he’s desperately trying to resist falling for her. He let himself be vulnerable once and, by golly, is he not doing it again. Except that never seems to work out for romance heroes now, does it?
“For ten thousand years, I was one way. For a couple of days, I’ve been another. I’m a very old demon unused to change.”
My absolute favorite thing about this book is the heroine, Lila. I could write pages and pages about my love for this damn woman. She has pretty much zero tolerance for bullshit. She tells Sian up front that she is in no way accepting responsibility for some shit she knows nothing about that some woman did multiple millennia before she was even born and he can shove his revenge where the sun don’t shine. She also informs him that she’ll escape from his clutches her own damn self and there’s nothing he can do about it. She’s nobody’s puppet and she’s nobody’s doll to be propped up and displayed. She reluctantly grows to love and trust Sian, but that doesn’t mean she won’t kick his damn ass if he requires it.
“Calliope, I would very much like to spar with you. I wager I’ll be up for the mental challenge.”
“Demon, I win this round just by virtue of one fact.”
She held his gaze. “You didn’t even know we’ve already begun.”
I love Lila. I love Lila so damn much. I spent the entire time I was reading this book with a huge grin on my face, and, once I had finished, I immediately wanted to start over from the beginning. I want a release date and a synopsis for the next book and I want it now!
I know many series fans are disappointed with the Morior arc and wish the series would get back to the threads it has hanging, but, for me, this arc is injecting some fresh momentum to the series and giving things a definite sense of direction. If you have never read an Immortals After Dark book and are hesitant to start all the way at Book 1, then I highly recommend trying the recent book Sweet Ruin as an alternate point of entry. It features a supernatural ass-kicking heroine who knows nothing about the supernatural world and it takes place mostly adjacent to the long-running narrative of the series. Wicked Abyss can be read right after Sweet Ruin. (Or, if you’re a reading maverick like myself, start wherever you want and go back later. Whatever works!)
The terrifying king of hell…
As a boy, Abyssian “Sian” Infernas had his heart shattered by a treacherous fey beauty who died before he could exact vengeance. Millennia later, a curse has transformed him into a demonic monster–just as she’s been reincarnated. Sian captures the delicate but bold female, forcing her back to hell.
Meets his match.
Princess Calliope “Lila” Barbot’s people have hated and feared Abyssian and his alliance of monsters for eons. When the beastly demon imprisons her in his mystical castle, vowing revenge for betrayals she can’t remember, Lila makes her own vow: to bring down the wicked beast for good.
Can two adversaries share one happily-ever-after?
As Calliope turns hell inside out, the all-powerful Sian finds himself defenseless against his feelings for her. In turn, Lila reluctantly responds to the beast’s cleverness and gruff vulnerability. But when truths from a far distant past are revealed, can their tenuous bond withstand ages of deceit, a curse, and a looming supernatural war?