Wednesday, 18 June 2008

No Rest For The Wicked - Kresley Cole

No Rest for the Wicked by Kresley Cole (Hereafter known in this review as NRFTW)

This is the second full length novel and third story in the Immortals After Dark Series, published in 2006.

I'm not sure why this one got stuck on my TBR pile. I kind of stalled out on this series, kept on buying the books just not reading them. So expect something of an Immortals After Dark bookfest over the next couple of weeks. (Apologies that my Hunger Like No Other Review is appearing out of order but I had already read it, so it's not TBR).

So the story opens with Kaderin the Coldhearted (Valkyrie) coming to kill vampire Sebastian Wroth. The villagers below his castle are apparently terrified of him even though he's done nothing to provoke their fear. However, it quickly becomes apparent that she is his destined Bride, and rather than kill him, she flees, leaving a somewhat disgruntled vampire behind. Their meeting has two consequences - Sebastian's heart begins to beat, and Kaderin after centuries of being an unfeeling killing machine starts to feel emotion again.

Kaderin has more important things on her mind, however. She is about to take part in the Talisman's Hie, a kind of supernatural scavenger hunt, with the ultimate prize being a key that will allow the holder to travel backwards in time. Kaderin wants the key to be able to rescue her sisters who were slaughtered on a battlefield centuries earlier - the last time she showed mercy to a vampire. Deciding it's the only way to get close to her, Sebastian joins the Hie as well. But to gain the prize will require more than teamwork, it will take the ultimate sacrifice.

I know I've said it before but I hate the no breathing thing for vampires. There said it, got it off my chest.

Of the two main characters I find myself slightly preferring Sebastian. Kaderin takes a little longer to warm to. But I think this is probably intended, as until this story she's been completely cold. It's heartwarming to read about her reawakened emotions and how they take a toll on her when she no longer sees the world in black and white.

Sebastian was turned into a vampire against his will. And he does seem to have spent a goodly amount of his immortality moping. However, this all changes when he meets Kaderin and he acknowledges that maybe everything does happen for a reason, as if he wasn't a vampire he would never have met her. I absolutely loved his reunion with his brother Nikolai - the vampire who turned him.

I will admit when I started reading I wasn't sure about the setting - the Talisman's Hie. But I really got into it. And the scene where they have to get the object from the minefield - very upsetting, as each competitor is prepared to sacrifice the others to win the box of Nagas. Knowing what the prize is you can see why the competitors are all prepared to fight so desperately for it. Kaderin wants to save her sisters, Bowen the werewolf wants to save his mate, Sebastian considers going back in time to save his family. When the stakes are that high you can understand the ruthlessness of their behaviour.

Things I love about Kresley Cole's books.

  • The banter between the characters, everyone is just so darn witty and NRFTW is no exception.
    "We've established that you can't kill me."
    She glared at him over her shoulder. "I ache to make those your last words."
    Which means you can be quite happily reading along, with a smile on your face. Then all of a sudden something terrible happens and it's all the more shocking.
  • The fact that I actually believe it when the characters say I love you. I think in all of her books the relationship feels organic. When they get to the 'I love yous' I believe they mean them.
  • The variety of her characters. Here we have demons, sirens, witches, vampires, gods, elves. Each species has its defining characteristics. But every single person we meet, no matter their species, is an individual. (Frustratingly this leaves you with a shedload of characters that you want to know more about - Regin, Aiden, Nix, Furie ( I SO want Furie to come back), Cindey - I could go on and on so I'll stop there.). Even the minor characters have intriguing hints dropped about their stories.
  • And I like how with each book we find out a little more about the Valkyries and other supernatural races. For example in this book we discover that valkyries often have a secret fear.

This leads me to my one niggle about the series, which is that sometimes it's like there are too many balls being juggled. And some of the intriguing hints feel a little half-finished, something that I just didn't quite get. The books are that good though, that I have a tendency to shrug my shoulders and assume that all will become clear in a few books time. These are things like:-

Why do Valkyries have to pay a tithe to get into their own house? What is up with Nix's hair? Either strange men are cutting it, or she's being told to cut it -I feel like I've missed something.

Already read A Hunger Like No Other and Wicked Deeds on a Winter's Night. So expect their reviews soon. And I have the next two books bought and ready to go. This is probably one of the best PNR series around at the moment and I recommend it highly.


Tracy said...

I just love this series. I wasn't sure I would. I liked The Warlord Wants Forever but then didn't LOVE A Hunger Like No Other. After that though the books got better and better and now it's one of my fav series. I'm with you -I love the banter between the characters. And how much do I LOVE Nix? Love her! :)
Great review!

li said...

I've been hearing so many raves for this series recently - must go and check out. I think it's the titles and covers that have been putting me off.

Nicole said...

I really like the first two in this series, but have yet to try the rest. I think I must get them soon, too.

LesleyW said...

Tracy & Nicole - I like how the series just gets better with each book. I think from my naughty flicking through Dark Desires After Dusk, the stories are getting much deeper and more emotionally involving.

Li - LOL, yep the titles are getting more convoluted. I wish I knew when the next one was coming out. Anyone know?

Carolyn Jean said...

Oh, hey I just finished this one, and I, too, wasn't so sure about the hie, though I also got into it. It's all about the prize, you're right on that. I ended up liking Kaderin, though I like the Lyche of book 1 better than Sebastian, I don't know why.

I love your list about 'things I love about KC novels.' Total agreement. Esp the banter, and the individuality!!

Ciara said...

I really liked Sebastian, but I don't know if the heroine transformed enough for me. Still, I love the series. great review!

Jill D. said...

I am glad you are enjoying this series. I love it. I think Cole has done a wonderful job of keeping it fresh and interesting. I especially liked the Hie. I thought it was such a fun, unique idea. Maybe fun isn't the right word because it did get gruesome.
I enjoy Cole's writing style. I just breeze through her books.

Sarai said...

So like you I own every book in the series and seriously I haven't read any of them except the first.

Wendy said...

Great review, Lesley! This is one of my favorite series ever. Nix's one of my favorite characters, she's just hilarious!

LesleyW said...

Carolyn Jean - I think I prefer Sebastian over Lachlain. Maybe because Sebastian was more willing to listen to Kaderin. But then I guess Sebastian hadn't been tortured for over a hundred years just prior to meeting his heroine. So perhaps I shouldn't be too picky.

Ciara - thank you.

Jill - Yep, I agree about each book being fresh. I think for me each book (so far) has improved on the one before. The story is becoming so layered, with each little bit I'm trying to work out how it all fits in.

LesleyW said...

Sarai - that's why I thought this would be a great series for me to tackle as part of TBR Wednesday. Otherwise I think I would have just kept stockpiling the books. But now I'm reading them I'm like - why did you wait so long to read them. :)

Wendy - Thank you. Sometimes I find Nix a little annoying, and them sometimes I find her sad. (Sad as in deep and melancholy, not sad as in a loser). Having had a little sneak peek at books 4 and 5, she seemed to have a chemistry with a certain deposed Demon King. But now I'm wondering if he's meant for someone else instead.