Published 2012 448 pages
Reviewed by Ania Tyburska
Summary (from the book cover)
All fear the enemy of old
Driven by his insatiable need for revenge, Lothaire, the Lore’s most ruthless vampire, plots to seize the Horde’s crown. But bloodlust and torture have left him on the brink of madness – until he finds Elizabeth Peirce, the key to his victory. He captures the unique young mortal, intending to offer up her very soul in exchange for power, yet Elizabeth soothes his tormented mind and awakens within him emotions Lothaire believed he could no longer experience.
A deadly force dwells within her
Growing up in desperate poverty, Ellie Peirce yearned for a better life, never imagining she’d be convicted of murder—or that an evil immortal would abduct her from death row. But Lothaire is no savior, as he himself plans to sacrifice Ellie in one month’s time. And yet the vampire seems to ache for her touch, showering her with wealth and sexual pleasure. In a bid to save her soul, Ellie surrenders her body to the wicked vampire, while vowing to protect her heart.
Centuries of cold indifference shattered
Elizabeth tempts Lothaire beyond reason, as only his fated mate could. As the month draws to a close, he must choose between a millennia-old blood vendetta and his irresistible prisoner. Will Lothaire succumb to the miseries of his past... or risk everything for a future with her?
Every novel in the Immortals After Dark series is a standalone novel, but in case of Lothaire I would really suggest reading earlier books first. Lothaire had cameos in pretty much every part so far and by reading only the story dedicated to him you'll never guess how seriously cool he is. That is the problem with the favorite background characters. Throughout the series the author built expectations and when they finally get to lead the show, they mysteriously fell short.
To give you some lay of the land: I was bored in the beginning of Lothaire, loved the middle and was dissapointed in the end. Initially one of the elements working against the story was a poor choice of woman's lead. I thought that Lothaire, with all his notoriety, deserved some renowned character. Nix or the imprisoned Fury. What he got was an adolescent redneck who shares her body with an evil bitch incarnate. Whenever Soraya, Elizabeth's alter ego, takes control, massmurder occurs. So Ellie is in the begining of the book on the deathrow, after a failed attempt on suicide by cop. Lothaire, having recognaized his Bride in the soon to be dead prisiner, kidnaps her and hides her from the world of human and Lore in his New York penthouse. Now the only thing he needs is to get rid of Ellie, so only Soraya, the ancient vampire goddes of death, remains and with her he can rule both the Horde and hidden vampire kingdom of Dacia.
As I mentioned before both Ellie and Soraya are initially difficult to warm to. Ellie wants to die and take Soraya to hell with her and as much as I admire her willingness to sacrifice her life, it does not make for a happy camper kind of personality. I should love Soraya with her penchant for bloody rituals and imaginative tortures, but she lacks certain flare to make a really suberb villain. She's all business and ruling the word without sense of humor and sexiness and it is really a wonder that it takes such long time for Lothaire to finally work out that Ellie, not Soraya, is his destined Bride.
As the action advances we get to know a bit more about Ellie although, at least for me, she's a far cry from Cole's really wicked heroines, like Regin or Sabine. That may be the case because the whole intrigue is really centered round Lothaire. His desires and feelings pump the action and in many instants Ellie seemed kind of subjective to his needs. The only excuse for a romantic conflict between them is Lothaire’s conviction that Ellie is inferior to him, because of her low birth and relative lack of knowledge. He wants to own her, not form a relationship, which in turn annoys Ellie. The author expects the readers to believe that Lothaire, after virtualy living for ages and happily embracing technology, Upper East Side and tailored slacks, somehow missed the whole social revolution and still looks down on lower classes. That's a bit of stretch even for a vampire.
Another flaw, in my opinion, is a small number of backup characters. One of the things that made Dreams of the Dark Warrior into such a delightful read was the complexity of the intrigue. We finally got to see how different species in the Lore interact and learned valuable information about some other characters. All the tasty bits in Lothaire are kept under wraps till the end of the book and even the cliffhanger is hardly surprising. Lothaire, who was supposed to be one of the masterminds of the Accession, proves to be no more than a pawn in someone elses game.
I understand that Kresley Cole had to humanize the deadly vampire in order to make him into a romantic hero, but she went too far. Until now Lothaire was this aloof observer, always plotting, always in the center of action with a certain mean strike to him. Throughout most of the book that is dedicated to him, he is completely lost, revaluating his goals and slowly decending into chaos. I'm not saying that sanity is a requirement when it comes to heroes, but a certain amount of cool is a must. There are moments in the story that qulify Lothaire for a long vacation in the looney bin followed by some behavioral therapy and that's not a sexy look. Speaking about sex, I'm not prudish, but there is an explicit love scene and there is TMI. At least one of the erotic scenes in Lothaire belonged to the latter category.
This book is by Cole's standards a waste of time. The story is unexpected, even if some of the conflict resolutions seem a bit simplistic. The romance part is steamy and there are few laughs inbetween the drama. Still I cannot shake a feeling that it is also a book of missed chances and unfulfilled promises. Kresley Cole had a chance to tell a story of a complete antihero, who still gets a girl and the kingdom. But in the end we got another brooding male, scarred by the childhood drama. What a waste.
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