Kiss of a Demon King (Kresley Cole)

I've anticipated few books the way I have Kresley Cole's latest Kiss of A Demon King, part of her Immortals After Dark series. The entire series has impressed me with its self-validated and very strong - in every sense - heroines, and heroes that would really like a shot with the cool girl while they're taking care of whatever business their positions in the Lore (Vamps, Demons, Lycae, et. al.) require. Through the loosely interrelated stories, each couple fights a its own unique battle and comes to its own terms for dealing with not only the Accession - a cyclical time of war designed to reduce the numbers of immortals - but also with the same kinds of familial and tribal conflicts not unknown to us regular old humans (inlaws/outlaws, problematic siblings, the fallout of parental choices, etc., etc.). Kiss delivers the same kind of rolicking fun and sexy good time as its predecessors.

Sabine is the Queen of Illusions, a beautiful and powerful sorceress who is fully aware of the physical and mental benefits she brings to those with whom she chooses to align herself. Rydstrom is the deposed King of the Rage Demons desperate to regain his throne and save his people from the the cruelties of the impossible-to-kill Omort, who assumed residency in both his kingdom and castle after Rydstrom's fall. The circumstances of their meeting aren't what you'd call ideal, particularly since only Sabine is privy to the prophesy of their mating. Rydstrom rallies quickly, though, and soon the couple engages in an epic quest to best not only each other but those who pull their respective strings in a story that is both plot- and relationship-driven.

I adored this book. Seriously. I adored that Sabine wasn't changed improved by the end. Sure, she ends up in love and perhaps a wee bit rescued but, to paraphrase the movie Pretty Woman, she saves the hero right back and remains in full possession of her personality and peccadilloes. She's not a particularly nice woman at the dawn of the story and she's not particularly nice at the end of it, either. Yay! I love a heroine who isn't seen as needing improvement in some way. And I adored that Rydstrom retains his full measure of responsibility and adherence to duty, finding a way to fit Sabine into both rather than abandon either (or her). For Sabine and Rydstrom, love isn't about finding a perfect match as much as it is finding someone whose apparent imperfections compensate for their own self-imposed restraints.

Technically, the book is very good. Cole's world building is about as consistent as it gets and even when there is a little misstep the reader doesn't mind because the rest is so darn fun. Although readers new to the series don't necessarily have to read all the books I recommend at least the most recent, Dark Desires After Dusk, covering Rydstrom's brother Cadeon and his mate Holly, for a bit more of the backstory on Omort and his anxieties where the Demon brothers are concerned. The entire series takes place within a span of a few months and the stories overlap slightly but Cole handles the necessary infodump so skillfully that it hardly feels dumpy at all. Kresley Cole has set a high bar for paranormal romance with this installment in the Immortals After Dark series.


meljean brook said...

Great first review! I'm dying to read this book -- I have to finish a deadline first, but after that, it's going to be me, Sabine, and Rydstrom :-D

Marsha said...

Oh. My.

My first comment on this blog and it's one of my author crushes.

Thank you!

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