Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Dark Needs at Night's Edge by Kresley Cole

This is the fourth full length novel in the Immortals After Dark series by Kresley Cole. I'm not sure if it strictly comes under the rules for TBR Wednesday as it was published in May 2008. But this is the book that stalled me out on the series so I think it's kind of appropriate.

This is the one where the heroine is a ghost. If you've read my post from Sunday you'll know that this is one of my least favourite supernaturals (with only zombies rating lower).

The basic story is this:- Neomi Laress a ballerina is murdered in her New Orleans home and then unfortunately gets to stay there as a ghost watching people come and go but never able to interact with them. Until that is, the brothers Wroth arrive with their half mad sibling Conrad. The brothers imprison Conrad in the hope that he can be saved from the madness. Unfortunately he is the only one who can see Neomi which doesn't initially doesn't help. Eventually Neomi and Conrad come to an understanding but when there are still lies between them, will they have their happy ending.

I must mention one other peeve. I personally find present tense awkward to read. I can understand why to begin with the scenes in Conrad's point of view are written in present tense. (I admit here that my grammar sucks but whatever his early scenes are written in, it isn't a tense I feel comfortable reading. I find my brain switching off). I assume it's to do with his madness and the fact that he only exists in the moment. But it was just another niggle.

So on to what I did like. :)

Conrad and Neomi are both very well written characters - something I've come to expect from Kresley Cole. It's partly down to this excellent characterisation that I can read the story even though Neomi's a ghost. One of the things I like especially is that because for much of the book Conrad is a prisoner, plus he hasn't been blooded, so he and Neomi actually have to talk to one another.
The female didn't have a body that he could feel, he couldn't get erect, and yet it was powerful.
Which means when their relationship finally does become physical that there is a greater understanding between the two of them.

Taking them separately Conrad is aware that he's not right mentally. As he starts to improve I like how he tries to model his behaviour on how Neomi would want him to behave. In a way she becomes a compass for him. And he does worry that she has an idealized view of him - which in a way helps him want to be a better person.

Neomi has a great deal of patience with Conrad, but she also keeps secrets from him - usually because she feels she has to. So even though they talk to one another a lot in the early part of their relationship you can see that they still have a way to go. It's a work in progress - a bit like Conrad himself.

Although they seem very different as characters, Conrad who constantly rails against his fate - the bringer of death - and Neomi - ironically so full of life - who has had to accept her fate at least up until the point where she meets her vampire. Personality wise they are very similar. They decide what they want, they make a plan and they execute it. If that plan fails, they make a new plan until they achieve their objective. It was nice to see the contrasts and similarities of their characters played against each other.

We meet a few characters from previous books, notably Nix and Mariketa. On the subject of Mari, I fear that she has been hanging about with the Valkyrie too long as her dialogue was pretty much indistinguishable from theirs.

As I said on Sunday, the problem with having a ghost for a heroine is that the ending always feels contrived. (I like that it's mentioned that ghost are rare in this universe :) ) So although I loved the characters and what the story brings to the mythology of a series as a whole. It's not going to be one that I re-read as often as the others. But I am left with a couple of stories to look forward to. I really want to know more about Kristoff the vampire King. And I can't help but hope that Regin ends up with Grim.


Katiebabs a.k.a KB said...

This was my favorite paranormal from last year and the favorite in Cole's series. I wasn't sure how Cole would make things work between Conrad and Neomi, but she pulled it off.
Oh yes, favorite scenes is the hot ghost shower scene!

Carolyn Jean said...

Oh, interesting review, and I didn't even notice the present tense! Usually I don't like ghosts, either, but I really enjoyed these characters a whole lot. And I love Kresely Cole's crazy set ups.

Aymless said...

Hey I just finished this one too (read book 3 for my TBR challenge).

The shower scene was great!

Jenre said...

Hmmm. You've convinced me to give this a go!

One thing though: Do I need to have read all the previous books in the series before I read this one? Normally I break out in hives at the thought of starting a series part way, but if I can get away without reading all the previous books, I might make an exception in this case.

LesleyW said...

Katie and Aymless - Lol - how could I have forgotten to mention the shower scene?

Carolyn Jean - usually I find if I hit a patch of writing where I'm struggling to keep going that the author is writing in present tense. Sometimes this happens if the whole book is written that way. I don't always pick up on it straight away - this is present tense - but I'm aware that for some reason I'm finding it harder to read. Lol - must be the way my brain is wired.

LesleyW said...

Jenre - I don't think you need to have read the previous books because this story is so focused on Neomi and Conrad it's easy to follow.

All you really need to know is that Conrad was turned into a vampire by his brother's against his will. There are two sorts of vampires - forbearers (Conrad's brothers are this type, they don't kill humans) and the other vampires which do. Vampires aren't really well liked by the other supernaturals.

It's a good book to see if you like the world because even though Neomi is a supernatural she's been isolated from the rest of the Lore (supernatural beings) so as a reader you learn a lot of the stuff that's happening through her. Plus most of the terms are explained in the glossary at the beginning.

DonnaB said...

This is one of my favorite series and I agree that Kresley Cole's characters are very well done.

Having said that, I also agree that the ending to this book was completely contrived. And I too have a problem with ghosts as characters, especially when these very physical men fall in love with them. It all seems so pointless to me.

But at least Neomi became physical at the end, which was better than the Ghost of Jane ending in J.R.Ward's brotherhood series.

Tracy said...

This was a good one but I like all her books. :)

Sarai said...

K so I couldn't read the review b/c A)I'm not that far in the series and B) If I read a review that I haven't read the book I end up not reading the book. So I'm sure it was a fantastic review *wink*

LesleyW said...

Tracy - It's my least favourite so far. But that's because of the ghost thing. Even so it's still on my keeper shelf.

Sarai - lol, yes the review was fantastic.

LesleyW said...

Donna - I think that's the main problem I have with ghosts as protagonists that it just doesn't feel like the relationship is going to work long term. So the happy ending feels more happy for now.