Author: Kresley Cole
Series: IMMORTALS AFTER DARK
Plot Type: SMR
Ratings: V4, S5, H3
Publisher and Titles: Pocket:
The Warlord Wants Forever (e-book story introducing the series, 2011)
(also included in Playing Easy to Get anthology, 2006)
A Hunger Like No Other (2006)
No Rest for the Wicked (2006)
Wicked Deeds on a Winter's Night (2007)
Dark Deeds at Night's Edge (2008)
Dark Desires after Dusk (2008)
Kiss of a Demon King (2009)
"Untouchable" in Deep Kiss of Winter (2009)
Pleasure of a Dark Prince (2010)
Demon from the Dark (2010)
Dreams of a Dark Warrior (2011)
Pleasure of a Dark Prince tells the story of Lucia (Valkyrie) and Garreth (Lykae) as they attempt to defeat the evil Cruach, the ancient horned god of human sacrifices and cannibalism, who tricked Lucia into leaving Valhalla. Lucia has defeated Cruach several times, but every 500 years during the Accession, he attempts to escape. Garreth has been chasing after Lucia for years, sure that she is his destined mate, but Lucia believes that if she mates with anyone she will lose her cherished skills as an archer. The action takes place at the mouth of the Amazon River, where the couple works together to defeat Cruach one last time.
Demon from the Dark, tells the story of party-girl Carrow Graie (warrior witch) and tormented hero Malkom Slaine (vampire demon, aka venom), and it fits right in with the general structure of the series. This hero and heroine must escape from imprisonment by evil mortal experimenters who want to know the source of their powers.
Dreams of a Dark Warrior tells the story of Regin the Radiant (fun-loving Valkyrie) and her centuries-old romance with Aidan the Fierce (mortal Berserker warrior). The original Aidan died a thousand years ago, immediately after he and Regin had sex for the very first time. Aiden has been reincarnated four times since then, and during each reincarnation he and Regin always find each other with the exact same results: immediate death for Aiden. Now, the fifth "Aiden" has appeared in the form of Declan Chase, the Magister of an experimental facility run by the Order, a group of supernatural-hating humans. When he was seventeen, Declan was tortured by some horrible supernaturals who also killed his parents, so now his goal in life is to discover the weaknesses of supernaturals and kill as many as he can. In one of his sweeps through New Orleans, Declan captures Regin and immediately begins to realize that his response to her is different than it has been with other captives. Nevertheless, he tortures her horribly (the violence rating of this book is 5). Events at the lab have the same sequence as in the previous book, which followed Malkolm and Carrow as they escaped. Dreams of a Dark Warrior tells Regin's story as she tries to escape and Declan's story as he tries to come to terms with the fact that he may actually be a supernatural—one of the creatures he hates most in the world. The ending has a few twists, so don't think that you have it figured out until almost the last page.
Lothaire: Book 12 tells Lothaire's story. Lothaire has always been one of darkest villains of the series. He is a Fallen vampire, having taken the blood of both mortals and immortals for centuries. Lothaire's strategy has been to manipulate an immortal into an impossible position and then appear miraculously to save the day—but only if the immortal will agree to owe Lothaire a favor, any favor that he wants, in exchange for his help. Lothaire keeps a ledger containing the names of all who owe him these debts. Lothaire has a tragic history, of course, which is the root of his hard-hearted approach to existence. Since he was a child, he has lived only for revenge against those who wronged him and his mother centuries ago. Lothaire was a major player in the escape from the island that was described in the previous books. The heroine is Elizabeth (Ellie) Pearce, who grew up in poverty in the Appalachian mountains, where her male relatives all worked in the coal mines. When the spirit of an evil goddess (Saroya) possesses her, she becomes an unwilling and unknowing murderess and winds up on death row. Lothaire rescues Ellie moments before her execution, believing that the goddess within her is his intended vampire Bride (aka soul mate). As the story plays out, Lothaire treats Ellie horribly, with constant emotional and physical abuse. Lothaire and Saroya plan to destroy Ellie's soul so that Saroya will have complete control over Ellie's body—and they aren't shy about reminding Ellie of this. Then they will carry out Lothaire's plans for revenge and will eventually become the king and queen of two realms. Needless to say, those plans don't exactly play out as planned.
Of all the books in the series, Lothaire is my least favorite. Lothaire is a cruel, calculating villainous character who shows absolutely no redeeming qualities until the very last pages of the book. His treatment of Ellie is vile and despicable, and her love for him is incomprehensible. He savagely belittles her and her Appalachian roots, threatens to kill her family members, promises to destroy her soul, hurts her during sexual acts, controls every decision about her life, and never apologizes for any of this until almost the last page of the book. Ellie responds at first with rage, but soon she becomes sexually attracted to Lothaire and then falls totally in love with him. She is portrayed as an intelligent woman, but her behavior belies that. The plot line is as action filled as the other books in the series, but this central relationship held so many horrors that I didn't enjoy reading the book.
Except for Lothaire, I love this series. It has all of the elements that I look for in an SMR story: intricate and compelling plots, a cohesive series story arc, and (usually) a twist at the end. And Nïx is one of my favorite paranormal characters ever. I can't wait for to read her story.
The series has won two RITA awards for best paranormal romance: A Hunger Like No Other in 2007 and Kiss of a Demon King in 2010.
On Cole's web site, she presents a list of the major characters in the series and a glossary of terms. Cole explains what the Accession is in two places on her web site: in the glossary and on her FAQ page for the series. Cole plans at least four more books for this series.
Here are the names and species of the happy couples in each book: