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Book pick: ‘Dreams of a Dark Warrior’ — darkest story in the IAD series February 20, 2011

Posted by Diana McCabe in News, Reviews/summaries.
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I usually shy away from reincarnation romance stories, but I couldn’t pass up DREAMS OF A DARK WARRIOR, the ninth novel  in Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark series.  But be warned, this is a much darker IAD book than her previous entries.

The story — which is almost a retelling of DEMON FROM THE DARK from a different point of view — follows ill-fated lovers  Aidan the Fierce and Regin the Radiant. Warlord Aidan first meets Regin when she is 12. He is  a berserker, who recognizes her as his mate, and waits for her to grow up before claiming her. But his life — and their love life — is cut short before he can gain immortality.  And that’s their history. Every time the reincarnated Aidan and Regin consummate their love, Aidan  dies shortly after, leaving immortal Valkyrie Regin to mourn his loss and wait for his next reincarnation – where he dies again.

So when the present day story picks up, the cheeky Regin is done repeating history. This time,  she decides not to look for the next version of Aidan — hoping to avoid heartbreak and their cursed history.

Instead, Regin is kidnapped by The Order, a mortal organization that wants to wipe out all immortals. And guess who is a bigwig in The Order and Regin’s captor?  Declan Chase, a bitter, emotionally/physically scarred human who hates all immortals — but who is the latest reincarnation of Aidan the Fierce.

Chase is a real evil dude. He kills and tortures good and evil immortals alike and doesn’t realize that not all supernatural beings are like the evil creatures who  killed his family and tortured him when he was a teen.  As fate would have it (Hint: Nix knows all), Regin ends up as one of his torture victims. This is where the story got a little weird for me. In previous reincarnations, Aidan would recognize Regin as his beloved — just after they kissed — and would do everything in his power to protect her from any harm. But while Chase feels something toward Regin — he refuses to fall for her, fails to protect her and it makes him a very hard Kresley Cole hero to love. This is a guy who has his best friend (Brandr) cut up. (Yuck!) He even guts Regin during the capture and continues to let her come into harm’s way at the compound.

I have to say, Chase is my least favorite hero of the entire series right now. There’s nothing wrong with a few flaws, but he’s beyond just a few. He’s a broken man, at times warring with his personal feelings and brainwashing via The Order. He’s hooked on drugs. And in desperation, he makes deals with other immortals — yes — to help save Regin — but it’s hard to swallow. And the torture stuff. Ugh. Just hard to take that and think this is the guy the spirited and witty Regin will wind up with.  In the end, the author does salvage his character enough that some IAD readers should come around.

He’s not super popular among the Lore either. After he helps Regin and other immortals escape from The Order’s torture camp,  Chase kind of has a price on his head. After all, he captured and tortured so many of the Lore. And even at the end of the story, it’s clear that many in the Lore don’t care if he’s with Regin — he’s not been forgiven for his role in The Order.

DREAMS OF A DARK WARRIOR does have a great supporting cast:  Natalya with her poisonous claws; Thad, the clueless vampire halfling who has no idea what his “talent’ might be,  and Lothaire (evil vampire) who holds a lot of power and secrets. They offer most of the  humor that’s a trademark of Kresley Cole, and they lighten the dark romance between Chase and Regin.  Their escape gives you the “other view” of the collapse of The Order’s compound that we saw in DEMON FROM THE DARK. And if you’ve read that — you definitely already know some of what happens to Regin and her friends. We also get to see Malkom Slaine and Carrow Graie again. (Since this is a retelling)

As with all IAD books there are a lot of sex scenes. This time around, I thought it was a bit much. (Maybe it’s because I didn’t like Chase for most of the novel?)

Still, if you’re reading the series, you don’t want to miss this story. The reincarnation romance  was interesting and even funny at times — plus it had an interesting twist.  And this story also is setting us up for the next book in the series. Nix is nuttier than ever.  What is her connection to Lothaire? And will Lothaire ever get his ring back and who is the “she” he must get back to? (If it’s who I think it is — it will be a real  talker!)

As the Ascension is clearly in full swing, you have to wonder if the rest of Cole’s stories will become even more dark. I hope not. I don’t expect her to write all sweetness and light when the world of the Lore is falling apart, but I want more of the humor and wit and grit from both heroes and heroines that has come to be a hallmark of her series. (OK — and give me a hero who is worthy of our Valkyries!)

Tip: If you haven’t read the IAD series, don’t start with this book. Most of the other novels can stand on their own but the last few in the series are definitely interconnected. And DREAMS OF A DARK WARRIOR should be read after DEMON FROM THE DARK.

DID YOU MISS THESE?

Comments»

1. Diana McCabe - February 20, 2011

OK — who else has read this? Hard to say you don’t like the main hero but blech. What a loser for Regin. I know, I know — he got better toward the end but still — he’s just not a fave of mine. He’s got some explaining to do …… and “I’m sorry” — give me a break.

diana

2. krissy - February 21, 2011

Hmmm, I have not read this series yet. Do you recommend it?

Diana McCabe - February 21, 2011

Oh — I actually love Kresley Cole’s IAD series. First book is “A Hunger Like No Other.” She has some unusual characters and I just love her humor. Her last book — the one I just blogged about — is a bit darker than the other novels in the series. But definitely check it out and let me know what you think!

Diana

3. L. Blanchard - February 22, 2011

I agree with Diana, the series itself is stellar. I reccomend as much as possible starting at the very beginning as it is some of the best paranormal romance/urban fantasy out there. However after so many books that were so good and this book was so highly anticipated (Cole herself stated this books part of teh story was the synthesis for the entire series) it was a surprise how she went about telling their story and was not what I expected. The hero was virtually irredeemable. So start at the beginning, enjoy the ride, and then decide for yourself,but be prepared by about book ten for a major shock or pull out then, but for gods sake don’t let this stop you from reading the first 10 books or so, they are brilliant.

Diana McCabe - February 22, 2011

Thanks for posting Laurie. I think you were spot on about the book on your blog. (Folks — if you are looking for another paranormal romance blog to add to your reading, check out Dangerous Romance. Here’s a link to Laurie’s post about the latest IAD novel. http://dangerousromance.com/2011/02/18/dreams-of-a-dark-warrior-kresley-cole/)

But — I still love the whole series. I just cannot warm up to Declan Chase!

diana

L. Blanchard - February 26, 2011

Diana,
You are too kind. Thank you for the shoutout!

4. Krissy - February 24, 2011

Thanks for your input guys. I will check out this series. They are closing the Borders in Freehold, NJ, so I am going to check out their closing sale and I will pick up this series while I am there.

5. pawsitivelife - February 25, 2011

I love paranormal romance books BUT the covers are so embarrassing to read in public places

Diana McCabe - February 25, 2011

Yes — some of those covers are pretty funky to be carting around in public. I switched to a kindle and now have an iPad so it’s not an issue really. But when I first started reading paranormal romance — my literally minded sisters were like “What’s that on the cover? What are you reading?” I look at some of the YA covers and think those are pretty cool. But I wonder about the marketing behind the other covers …. do they think we’re more likely to pick up a book with a certain type of cover? Does it — even tho we think it is embarrassing — somehow attract our attention?

Diana

L. Blanchard - February 26, 2011

I was surprised to notice that the IAD covers for Australia actually looked very Y/A which surprised me. A pretty young woman or man from the waist up mostly face and suprisingly more clothes and less tattoos.

6. Karen H - February 26, 2011

I love the series and I especially love the covers! I proudly carry my books with me everywhere and everyone knows what I’m reading. Why is it embarrassing to carry a picture of a beautiful man around? They’re mini works of art.

DOADW was harder to read than the others because it was darker but I had no trouble with the hero. I only wish there was more about the previous reincarnations, especially Gabriel. I actually felt sorry for Declan through much of the book as I could tell he’d been brainwashed and was struggling with his actions. Plus, he was on drugs most of the time so who knows how much of his behavior was influenced by whatever they were giving him.

I’m looking forward to whoever comes next!

Diana McCabe - February 26, 2011

I like the IAD series, but Declan just wasn’t my fave. Be interesting to see how his character develops in the next book. I liked how the previous reincarnations were told and thought Kresley Cole might spend more time there, but she probably had to keep the story moving forward?

Re the book covers. What a hoot. I like to count how many “headless” heroes show up. Just part of the genre.

D.


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