Sunday, March 1, 2009

Kiss of a Demon King & a meditation on Sabine's evil nature

Imprisoning a handsome, good-hearted demon for wanton purposes. Check.

This was another deliciously set up Immortals After Dark book. Thank you, Kresley Cole. In this one, we have sorceress Sabine keeping demon king Rydstrom in chains in a dungeon, in order to force him to have sex with her to fulfill a prophecy ... and he really wants to have sex with her, but the prophecy must not be filled! So he doesn't. Even though he really really wants to. Then he gets out and drags her across the wasteland as his prisoner. More fun sex stuff. Sacrifices, battles.

Sigh. I guess I am barely objective about this series these days. I have achieved lift off. Out of radio range.

Finding the book, on the whole, wonderfully badass. Check.

You know that game where you randomly open a book and find a line and write it down? Pulling this book out from under my bed, I was thinking, you can open this bad boy to any random line and chances are good that it will totally entertain. Wait! I'm going to play the game now:
Devious vampire. He rose another notch in Sabine's opinion.
Okay again:

"I can make you see your worst nightmares or your most coveted dreams. And I can control them."

"You still look unsullied," Lanth said when she and Sabine met upstairs. Sabine hated that word.
Loving evil Sabine
I really enjoyed how evil Sabine was. She came from a culture where evil ways were applauded and effective, and she grew up at war, more or less, with the "good" side. In a way, it was sort of like opposite world. What is bad is good where she comes from.

Question for the ages
So does that even make her truly evil? If you grow up in a world where bad is good, where bad is honored and rewarded, and you never know otherwise, are you bad for being bad? Or are you living up to the moral code you've been handed?

I suppose, when I think really hard about that question, at the end of it is the question of whether human beings supposedly have some innate compass of good and evil. But then, hey! Sabine is not even a human.

I love this exchange between her and Rydstrom (and can I just say, what is with these names? I say that in a loving way. Anyhow):
"Why do you have to steal?"

She blinked at him "How else would I get gold? Join the typing pool?"

"Maybe you could do without."

Impossible. You must have gold." Gold is life...

"You're hated by more than can be imagined."

"Do you hate me?" she asked.

"I don't yet, but I believe that it's inevitable."

She laughed softly. "Hating me is like hating a sharp sword that cuts you. It can't help the way it was formed."

"A sword can be refashioned, shaped anew."

"Only after it's broken down. Imagine how painful the forge fire and hammer blows would feel...
I think Rydstrom himself comes to that sense that this is a conflict of cultures rather than a conflict of morality with realizations like these:

The Sorceri worship gold, Sabine had told him. He'd thought it had been an excuse for greed, but she believed it was more.

To be honest, though, I really wouldn't mind an amoral heroine even when it's not cultural. But that's another post.

And I was absolutely thrilled and refreshed that, though she ended with Rydstrom, Sabine didn't turn good in the end, but rather she seemed almost to relish a deception of his--one that I thought he'd get in trouble for.

I understand this book hit the NYT best seller list (I think). If so, I'm so very glad. I think this is the most imaginative and vibrant series in the whole paranormal and urban fantasy realm.


sula said...

This book was so excellent. I will be rereading it many times this year, methinks. Really delicious writing and awesome sexual tension. Kresley Cole just gets better and better. :)

KT Grant said...

I don't think Sabine was evil, she had to survive and the only way to do it was to lie, cheat and steal.
I love how Sabine tortured Ryd. heh heh.

Anonymous said...

"So does that even make her truly evil?"

Absolutely not. Points off her evil quotient for being a conformist evildoer. (Your blog is only 34% evil, BTW. Not that I'm criticizing, you understand, just mentioning it as I would a piece of spinach caught in your teeth.)

Sarai said...

okay I seriously need to catch up on this series.

Carolyn Crane said...

Sula: Agreed. Better and better!
KB: he was the perfect one to be tortured like that, too.

RFP: Whaaaat? Only 34% evil? Mucho spinich in teeth. I must correct this.

Sarai: Oh, do!

Shaymless Aymless said...

I agree with KB. She's not evil but a product of her up bringing.

Anonymous said...

It's my turn to admit this is a series I haven't tried yet. Though the first is sitting in my TBR pile...

Tracy said...

Great post! I'm pretty sure I've lost all objectivity towards this series as well. It's just so good!

I loved evil yet non-evil Sabine! Yes she was a product of her upbringing but she wasn't TRULY evil - at least to me. She could have turned out like Omort, but didn't. There was a light at the end of the tunnel for her and Rydstrom was the light.

Joanna Chambers said...

I've just read my first Kresley Cole! (Not this one). At first I was all ya-de-ya, and I actually abandoned it for about a month after the first third. Then I picked it up again just the other day and finished it in a day and a half. LOVED it. Just ordered two more. This could be the writer that really gets me into paranormals.