From the BLURB:
A seductive beauty he can never have, yet can't resist...
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.
A tormented warrior she should fear, but can't deny...
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 myth and power, with him as her protector, she begins to crave the demon's wicked touch.
Surrender to dark desires...
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?
This is the 6th book in Kresley Cole’s ‘Immortals after dark’ series.
I struggled with plot logistics in this novel. Cade (the ‘kingmaker’) and his Kingly brother Rydstrom have been appearing spasmodically throughout the ‘Immortals’ series. I admit, I’ve never really grasped their storyline. Its been told in drips and drabs throughout the various books, but always in passing between characters and never with much detail.
Even in this book, the story behind how Cade lost Rydstrom his demonic thrown is told a little too hastily to grasp. In fact, I was a little hazy on the entire plot of ‘Dusk’. For one thing, the action kicks-off from page one and sets out a fast pace from there on in. Kresley Cole is relying on the reader remembering tidbits from previous books – like the fact that NÏx predicted Rydstrom would regain his crown when he found a sword that would kill demon-rival Omort. Or the fact that Omort’s brothrer, Groot, owns this sword. Kresley Cole is also hoping that readers will remember the fact that Cade has been spying on a human female for the last year after bumping into her at a college campus. It was a good thing Cole kept repeating her character’s motivations in one-line catch-phrases, or else I would have been a little confused; “Cade had to trade his female for Groot’s sword”, etc.
I did like Cade; he was cheeky, funny and totally smitten on Holly.
He knew it was ridiculous. He was an ancient immortal, a brutal mercenary, head of a crew of soldiers of fortune. And yet Cade looked forward to nothing – except seeing her.
But maybe my liking Cade had a little something to do with his linguistic-similarity to Bones from Jeaniene Frost’s ‘Night Huntress’ series. Cade speaks in a British accent, constantly throwing out words like ‘chit’, ‘tosser’ and ‘pet’. And I’m a sucker for a British accent….
I did feel that Cade was underdeveloped as a character. He’s been harbouring guilt over losing his brother’s crown nine centuries ago – yet Cole never gives him a really cathartic scene in which he comes to terms with his guilt. Maybe that’s coming in book 7, since that one deals with Rydstrom, but it’s a gaping hole in ‘Dusk’.
Holly Ashwin (human turned Valkryie) was a so-so character for me. As a human she battled OCD which had her needing her life organized in divisions of three and not being able to eat or drink anything contaminated by her own hands. I actually think Cole could have pushed Holly’s OCD even further – because once she turns Valkryie she pretty much has her compulsions under control, despite complaining otherwise. I think if Cole had given Holly an extreme case of chronic OCD it would have been a bigger triumph for her character to overcome, and a more distinct transformation.
One thing I can’t fault is Kresley Cole’s sex scenes. She never crosses the line into trashy, and she manages to shake things up in all of her books; never relying on the same clichéd descriptions or positions. It's actually pretty impressive how she manages to keep things steamy.
The general plot of ‘Dusk’ confused me a little, and just when I thought I had a pretty good grasp on everything; Cole rushes the ending. Cade betrays Holly in a very vicious way, and it’s at this point that emotions are wrought and the stakes are heightened. But Cole wraps things up too neatly and quickly.
This is probably the worst of the ‘Immortals’ books so far, IMO. I would prefer the books to concentrate on the Valkryie living in Val Hall, or the Scottish werewolves; but that’s just my preference.