I alternately devoured it and horded it, a sign of the ultimate crave book. Like the ones before it, Dark Desires is an enthralling tutorial in big plots, big personalities and dizzyingly high stakes.
Miriam over at Rape and Adverbs wrote a pair of posts here and here that I really agree with on this book. This post here echoes and builds on some of her points.
Quick plot rundown:
Basically, Demon Cade has finally hooked up with Holly, his fated mate, the one woman in all the world and all eternity he can find true happiness with. Unfortunately, it’s his job to deliver her to an evil metallurgist in order to win his and his brother’s kingdom back, something he’s quested after for eight centuries (and it was his fault they lost the kingdom in the first place!) See Miriam’s fine rundown of more ways that the stakes are pushed high, and that everything is extreme and huge.
Like Miriam, I love how opposite the hero and heroine are. He’s a big slob, and she’s a total OCD clean freak/arrange-things-in-threes gal. He’s a sex maniac and she’s a virgin…make that extra virgin: she doesn’t even watch or think about sexy things. This extreme balance of personalities makes their interactions crackle. It's just plain old fun.
Also, Cade is wonderfully unheroic in that he tries to get out of making the hard decisions. He wants his kingdom AND he wants his true mate. So he tries to find ways to have both, instead of making a hard choice. For example, he teaches Holly how to fight, vaguely hoping that if he does end up delivering her into the clutches of the metallurgist bent on raping her, maybe she can fight him off. Not a standup guy!
Meriam was slightly annoyed by Cade. I can see it. I’ve had that with Cole heroines—I’m thinking Emmaline in A Hunger Like No Other, where I sort of suspended my annoyance because I was enjoying the book so much. These extreme character pairings make the interaction sizzle, but the flip side is that people can get fed up. I really admire how Cole works this balancing act.
Sometimes I marvel at Kresley Cole books.
So okay, Cade and Holly are on this road trip and, as a non-sexpot girl, Holly has nonsexpot underwear. But not for long, because Nix, who is delivering a few things from Holly’s home, replaces Holly’s normal underwear with thongs and black lace stuff. Because Nix says Valkyries like that sort of thing. And Holly HAS to wear them because they’re her only underwear. I wouldn’t let many books/authors get away with that. On numerous levels.
And hello, the hero Cade is delivering the heroine to freak in a castle who intends to rape her and forcibly impregnate her, and Cade is gleefully happy her comfy underwear has been replaced by racy things and thong stuff. These are just two sort of random examples of the crazy outrages of this book.
I mean, really!
How does Kresley Cole get away with this stuff? I think, for one, she allows the heroines, especially this one, to call attention to the insanity of it all, to sort of inhabit the point of view that many readers probably have deep inside their alpha-hero addled minds:
“I’m going to react,” he said. “Even if you’re not my usual type.”I would also refer you to Meriam’s choice of excerpt, where Holly rants about another aspect of the setup.
“Usual type? Oh, let me guess. Swimbos with more breasts than brains?”
He hiked his broad shoulders. “My kind prefers tarts with a little more meat on their bones so they can take a demon’s lusts.”
“Tarts?” Her jaw slackened. “My God, you’re the most misogynistic man I’ve ever met. I bet you also like your tarts barefoot and pregnant.”
”Nah, I like them barefoot, on birth control, and always available in my bed.”
I think there’s another reason Cole gets away with these extremes, and that’s because she does it in a playful way. I always get the sense that this is an author who throws caution to the wind in the name of fun and play, and it reduces the seriousness of everything the way a cartoon can make, say, smashing a guy over the head with a mallet merely wacky (though these books are not cartoon-like at all, and they don't seem like they're trying to be funny, another thing I LOVE about them.) Though at the same time, few romances I read directly call attention to feminist issues of any sort.
It also seems like Cole herself is having a great deal of fun, and that lightens the reader experience, too. Though that authorial fun thing might be deceptive. This writing seems easy and breezy, but I’m guessing it’s the result of careful plotting and hard work. Or not!
Anyway, I can’t wait to read Kiss of the Demon King !!! The whole Immortals After Dark series is an instant auto-buy for me. There's a contest, too! See my sidebar or here.