Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Immortals After Dark #12
Author: Kresley Cole
Publisher: Gallery (Simon & Schuster)
Reviewed by: Aimee
Source: Audible Audiobook PurchaseRating: Epic Win! 5 out of 5
I ended a recent book hibernation, or rather, dry spell on author Kresley Cole's latest release, Lothaire. It's the 12th book in her Immortals After Dark (IAD) series and also sets up her upcoming Dacian spin-off series. One thing I can say for sure… whenever I've been hibernating or uninspired to read, there are few authors that can entice me out of my slumber. Kresley Cole is one them. So I christened my re-entry into the literary world by listening to Lothaire in audiobook format and wasn't disappointed.
This series is full of interesting adventures, strange and humorous characters, occasional non-sensical silliness, and romance. Her stories are always fun, uniquely entertaining and her world of the Lore has immortals of all kinds; from werewolves and vampires, to demons and valkyrie. Mrs. Cole states that her books can be read as stand-alone novels, but I personally think it's more fun (and less confusing) to read her series in order so you can familiarize yourself with the world of the Lore and all of it's interesting characters. Plus, each story builds upon a larger story in the background, which is the coming of the ascession. An immortal war that serves the purpose of culling the number of living immortal beings to prevent over-population in the Lore.
This latest book covers the story of the vampire Lothaire and his mortal bride Elizabeth Pierce. Lothaire is better known in the Lore as The Enemy of Old because of his dark reputation as being, not only one of the oldest (ancient) beings within the Lore, but also a despicably evil, nasty vamp. He's spent his entire life collecting blood debts from other Lorians, some of whom believe him to be the devil. But despite his dark reputation, he appears to have met his match in his new very mortal bride Ellie.
Elizabeth Pierce (Ellie) is a hillbilly, mountain girl from a poor mining family living in the Appalachian Mountains. She's the first "true" mortal in this series to ever be mated with a Lorian. Which puts her life in jeopardy in numerous ways. Not only that, but she's possessed by the soul of the death goddess Saroya, who's cursed to live inside a human host. Because Lothaire is too arrogant to see himself with a mere human, he immediately assumes his true bride is Saroya and seeks a way to destroy Ellie's soul so that Saroya can have full possession of her body. What plays out, instead, is a full on sucker punch for our evil, yet somehow lovable, vamp.
I'm always amazed at what I'd call Mrs. Cole's character magic. In the beginning of some of her books she introduces us to characters that we're either unsure of or flat out don't like. But then she somehow warms us to them. I know some of you don't care for Lothaire because of his arrogance and ancient vampy badness. But honestly, I started out, instead, not liking the heroine Ellie. I didn't much care for Lothaire either, but Ellie is such a backwoods, hillbilly. Her accent (for me) was NOT romantic in the least. Every time she opened her mouth to speak, I was reminded of Ellie Mae Clampett, from the Beverly Hillbillies. I almost, quite guiltily, found myself agreeing with Lothaire's arrogant reasonings why she was not the one for him. Plus, I liked the evil death goddess, Saroya, even less than all of them because while Ellie was pretty on the outside, Saroya was equally "ugly on the inside."
By the end of the story though, Cole not only sucker punched Lothaire with little, miss unassuming Ellie, but myself as well. This is one of the things I love about Cole's writing. She sometimes pairs the most unlikely couples together and manages to convince the readers it's "right" even though it seems so "wrong". It's simply brilliant and great fun to boot.
On another note, this is the first time I've listened to one of Cole's books on audio. Until recently, they were not available in this format. I was also little frightened the narrator would forever damage the story for me. I've seen many a good book destroyed by terrible or even slightly bad narration. But I really liked this narrator (Robert Petkoff) who is also a broadway actor, and I hope Cole keeps him for the rest of the series. His ability to give life to the characters is almost seamless. If your going to check out the series in audiobook format, I recommend reading the prequel in ebook or print format instead as it is not narrated by Robert Petkoff. Save the audiobook formats for the ones narrated by him alone.
My final verdict? I loved this newest novel. It reminded me all over again why I'm in love with such a fun series. A series that doesn't take itself too seriously as evidenced by all the quirky humor, and yet always manages to pump out a sweet and touching love story in the process. I can't even think of how to compare them to other novels. They are definitely very fun and unique reads.