[clapping twice and pushing back from the Kindle]
I’m out. I just can’t with Kresley Cole for one more second. Thank you again to Malin and Alexis for the free books. Maybe even a thank you to Kresley Cole for some of the THUNDER SEX™, but my sojourn in paranormal romance is at an end. This is going to be a smush review. If you add up the portions of the Immortals After Dark series novels Dark Desires After Dusk andKiss of a Demon King that I actually got through, it equals more than one book, but less than two.
I’m not even going to bother with plot summaries. They’re always the same, only the kind of immortal creatures changes. The beings in Desires After Dusk andKiss of a Demon King are brothers. One of them is a deposed King, the other is his heir. Deposed King’s mate is a sorceress. Brother Heir’s mate is a Ph.D. student and unbeknownst-to-herself Valkyrie halfling and mystical Vessel. I know.The brothers are rage demons with horns that straighten when stimulated and skin that flushes red, I think it was red, when strongly aroused. The demons doona “mate” like Cole’s absurd Scots-brogue-spouting werewolves; or get “blooded” by their “Bride” like her Estonian “I vant to suck your blud” vampires; they “attempt” their prospective mate. That means bang. They have to bang their prospective mate to confirm she is The One. Said demon’s bite immobilizes his beloved during the final portions of the rather intense consummation. It’s a whole fangy-roofie-banging thing. Always with the fanging, biting, and banging in these books. “Fangin’n’Bangin’™”. There’s an apt sobriquet for paranormal romance…
IMMORTALS AFTER DARK:
COME FOR THE FANGIN’N’BANGIN’™, STAY FOR THE THUNDER SEX™!
What I Actually Enjoyed About This Series:
- Kresley Cole has impressive organizational skills. These intersecting novels had to have been plotted out well in advance and have potential for an endless series. This is evidence of a keen marketing intellect. Kudos for that.
- The writing style is consistently flip and breezy. It goes well with the general ridiculousness of the stories. The pop culture references in the midst of hand-to-hand combat can be a bit jarring, but overall it works.
- I am not good at allowing people to take care of me, so I can appreciate the appeal of a great big, protective hero in one’s escapist literature. The dominance/submission aspects not so much.
- In a reversal of the stereotypical man dragged to the altar, it is consistently the women who resist a long-term relationship. The hero’s reaction is always simply “MINE.” The heroine’s reaction is “Not so fast, caveman. I want to be sure you are worthy of me”.
a. Each successive novel upped the ante on the scarring backstory. Cole started pretty high up on the trauma scale and the glimpses I’ve seen of later books tell me it manages to get worse. The phrase “blood slave” went by. [shudder]
b. The heroine/hero height differences are farcical and completely impractical. Each of the women is tiny. The men are all at least 6’6″ and the demons are almost 7′ tall.
c. The women in these books are powerful illusory beings, but they can also be pretty vapid. Sure, she’s an immortal who can gut you like a fish, but what woman doesn’t want a rich guy to take her shopping? Amiright, ladies? The Valkyrie characters are particularly discomfiting, living life as an endless slumber party. They are catty, extremely acquisitive, and can be easily distracted by jewelry even during battle.
d. The immortals are frozen in age at the height of their power. For the men, this seems to be consistently in their mid-thirties. For the women, it’s twenty-five at the latest. If the men are meant to be uber-masculine, what does this say about their female counterparts? Best to change over while everything is still perky in a bikini, I guess. The women’s sexuality is also problematic. They are adults in full and healthy possession of their sexuality, but while they are active partners in the THUNDER SEX™, the narration always clarifies at some point that the women have had few partners because, hey, they’re not sluts. Heaven forfend, they should have THUNDER SEX™ notches on their bedpost. Even in a Fangin’n’Bangin’™ book, sexual empowerment is conditional.
e. There is a clear indication that the couples will be frozen in the wild sex honeymoon phase for all time. Is that necessarily a good thing? It all seems like an immature fantasy of a relationship: He’s big and strong and loves my ass, plus he buys me shiney things, and he’s a great lay. I’m the luckiest immortal in the world!
But who am I to judge, if that’s what someone wants when reading for escapist entertainment? It’s pure snobbery on my part. The main differences between this and the romance I normally read is the more primal nature of the character types and pair bond. If Fangin’n’Bangin’™ is what you enjoy, have at it. I’ll be over there in 19th century England with men whose horns are strictly metaphorical.
August 23, 2022: Here’s the thing – I have reread Dark Desires After Dusk more than once or twice. It’s a hot, silly tome of guilty pleasure and has one of my favourite lines in romance with “Holls, I’m a demon; I’m not a tool.”
The (Shameful) Tally and reviews for other books in the series: The Warlord Wants Forever; A Hunger Like No Other; No Rest for the Wicked; Wicked Deeds on a Winter’s Night; Dark Needs at Night’s Edge; Dark Desires After Dusk; Kiss of a Demon King; Deep Kiss of Winter; Pleasure of a Dark Prince; Demon from the Dark; Dreams of a Dark Warrior; Lothaire; MacRieve; Shadow’s Claim.