Kresley Cole – “Dark Desires After Dusk”

15 Sep

GENRE: Romance / Paranormal
PUBLISHED: Pocket Books, 2008

WHY THIS NOVEL: Part of series

The back blurb:
“Cadeon Woede will stop at nothing to atone for the one wrong that will haunt him forever. But once he secures the key to his redemption, the halfling Holly Ashwin, Cade finds that the woman he thought he could use for his own ends and then forget haunts him as much as his past.

Raised as a human, Holly never knew that some frightening legends are real until she encounters a brutal demon who inexplicably guards her like a treasure. Thrust into a sensual new world of myh and power, with him as her protector, she begins to crave the demon’s wicked touch.

Yet just when he earns Holly’s trust, will Cade be forced to betray the only woman who can sate his wildest needs – and claim his heart?”

Dark Desires after Dusk is the story of Cade, a demon, and Holly, a human. At first, this might look like the “paranormal problem” is the main conflict of the story but that changes right with the first chapters when Holly gets turned into a Valkyrie. Holly is a heroine not-often-seen in romance novels. She’s seriously ill, a severe case of obsessive-compulsive disorder. This illness impacts her daily life in all kinds of ways, from avoiding cracks in the pavement to opening bottles without touching the rim to arranging things in groups of three. It’s so severe that traveling is a nightmare she prefers to do without, which means her boyfriend represents their work at conferences.

Cade was introduced in No Rest for the Wicked. He’s known as the Kingmaker, a mocking title, because he actually gets blamed for the loss of his brother’s crown nine hundred years ago. It was a loss that made Omort, their worst enemy, king of their lands. Since then, he and his brother are trying to find a way to get the crown back which is slightly problematic since Omort is also called “the Deathless,” and not without reason. But at the start of Dark Desires after Dusk, it looks like things finally will go their way. All they have to do is delivering the Vessel to the half-brother of Omort, Groot. In exchange, they get a sword that’s able to slay Omort.

Holly and Cade meet because it turns out that Holly is the Vessel. So far, so good, and Cade wouldn’t have a problem with handing Holly over to Groot except it also turns out for sure that Holly is Cade’s mate. Cade suspected that for about a year now, and during that time the unsuspecting Holly was, as Cade says, “the highlight of a millennium-old demon’s disappointing existence” (p. 11). For everyone, Cade delivering Holly to Groot means the last chance to win back his brother’s throne. For Cade, delivering Holly to Groot means losing his mate, the only woman he can be whole with and have children. For Holly, trekking all over the country in search of Groot’s castle (she doesn’t know that she’s about to be delivered into Groot’s hands) means being challenged not just by traveling, it means being challenged on all levels. Let’s just say, both Cade and Holly are tested thoroughly on the trip to Groot’s castle.

In Dark Desires after Dusk Cade and Holly both wrestle with their identity. Cade is defined by other people, most notable by his brother, as the one who always screws up and that’s an image he has taken to heart. The decision between losing Holly or losing his brother’s crown really puts him on the spot and forces him to think about who he is. It comes down to the question what’s more important: what others think about him or Holly. It’s a clever constructed conflict because getting both, the crown and the good opinion of others on the one hand and Holly on the other hand, doesn’t seem possible.

But the identity theme is even more important for Holly. She needs everything to be in order and that’s easiest to achieve with no change at all. So being turned into a Valkyrie (and the Vessel) right at the start of the novel (her mother was a Fury) is something Holly could do without. And going on a cross-country trip with a demon is also not very high on her list of things to do. But she goes along because 1) she’s told that Groot can reverse her Valkyrie nature and 2) a bunch of immortals is after her because she’s the Vessel. On the trip, Holly has to deal with constant change and disorder and she has to find out who she really is because, like her aunt Nix says: “you have no idea” (p. 85).

Holly has no chance but to loosen up a bit on the trip (it also looks like a big part of her illness was fueled by her repressing her Valkyrie nature with pills) and Cade is the perfect man to help her with that. He teases her, gets her food that’s prepackaged and gets the lenses in her glasses changed to clear glass when she doesn’t need them any longer but can’t work without her glasses. Cade doesn’t try to change Holly, instead he works with her compulsive behavior and views it as her “quirks,” and everyone has them. He just plain adores her and that he can’t have her for various reasons, and she isn’t equally taken with him (at first), is really getting to him.

I had a lot of fun reading Dark Desires after Dusk. What stood out the most for me was Holly and the way Cade treats her. They make a cute couple and are just right for each other.

Final thought:

– Can the Vessel get pregnant by everyone? So far, all the males were only able to father a child with their mate.

Would I recommend this novel? Yes.

Would I read this novel again? Yes.

Grade: 4 / 5


5 Responses to “Kresley Cole – “Dark Desires After Dusk””

  1. Carolyn Jean Tuesday, September 16, 2008 at 6:20 pm #

    I cannot wait to read this! Thanks for the review, and reminding me to order this. This is one of my favorite series!

  2. Christine Tuesday, September 16, 2008 at 7:17 pm #

    Awesome review, Taja! And what perfect timing! I *finally* read Dark Needs on Night’s Edge over the weekend, so I’ll be reading this one very soon! I can’t wait! I love all the IAD world and all its characters.

    Does you think Nix and Rydstrom are mates? I thought it was hinted at in Dark Needs… but if it was spelled out somewhere, I missed it.

  3. Taja Tuesday, September 16, 2008 at 8:55 pm #

    Carolyn Jean – I’m so glad I gave the series another chance. It’s one of my favourite series now too! I look forward to reading your thoughts about Dark Desires when you read it.

    Christine – thank you. It was about time that I posted it (read it 2 ? months ago). So what did you think about Dark Needs? It’s probably still my favourite, although it’s really hard to say with this series (never mind the grades).
    Nix and Rydstrom – well, I thought (hoped) so too, but after reading Dark Desires … I no longer think so. If Rydstrom’s mate is who I think it is, he’ll get quite a story!

  4. Christine Wednesday, September 17, 2008 at 4:29 pm #

    I really liked Conrad & Neomi’s story. I don’t think it’s my favorite IAD story, but still a fantastic installment in the series. All the stories and characters are so unique and well written… it’s difficult not to adore each one!

    I started Dark Desires… last night. I didn’t get far because I fell asleep early, but so far I love it! I love Holly’s OCD and find Cade so amusing and sweet.

  5. Taja Thursday, September 18, 2008 at 10:28 am #

    All the stories and characters are so unique and well written… it’s difficult not to adore each one!

    -Yes, that’s what I meant with “never mind the grades.” Well, with the exception of AHLNO, of course! 😉

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