Friday, January 4, 2008

"Wicked Deeds on a Winter's Night" by Kresley Cole

Ok, this is a paranormal romance, and I fully enjoyed it! I didn't say I was giving them up entirely, I don't believe.... Anyway, not the well-written ones, that is. This is the third installment of The Immortals After Dark series by Cole, and I must say, I've loved each and every one of them. Why? Well, the writing is pretty darn good and the characters are well-developed. Ah...there's that term again, character development. What can I say? I like to feel like I know my characters!

The heroine of our story is Mariketa the Awaited, a 23-yr-old witch. She's entered the Hie, a sort of supernatural scavenger hunt where the grand prize is a very special key; it allows the winner to go back in time, not once, but twice. Mari is competing against a lot of heavyweights, both literally and physically. While she is a witch, she's not an immortal, not yet. This means that she has weaknesses that the other competitors don't, such as unnatural strength (like the Lykae), healing powers (again, like the Lykae), or the power to teleport out of sticky situations (like the vampires and demons). But being human is exactly why Mari's entered the Hie; she's tired of being known as a bumbling witch with a penchant for blowing things up with her spells (at a 99% success rate - of explosions, that is).

Enter Bowen MacRieve of the Lykae clan, a werewolf who desperately wants the key to go back and save his mate. Seems she was killed accidentally before they had a chance to consummate their relationship and he blames himself (she fell on a tree stump while running away from him after he turned at the full moon, a very grisly-written scene). He has been matching wits and adventures with Mari, finding himself strangely attracted to her while loathing her at the same time. His family has a nasty history with witches and he doesn't trust them.

Circumstances, of course, force the two together and Bowen realizes that Mari might be his mate, something that Fate doesn't usually provide, as Lykae mate for life and with only one partner. Mari has had only one previous boyfriend, a demon, a relationship that ended on a rather sour note (demons aren't known for monogamy). Both have been hurt, both have trust issues, and both can't keep their hands off each other. Need I say more? Oh, and there's that pesky destiny of Mari's, the "Awaited" part...

I can just see you shaking your heads, dear readers, asking what's so special about this book? Well, as I said before, character development, a key element in any good book! There's also a good plot that moves at a good pace, the build of sexual tension (the actual act not taking place in the first 20 or so pages, thank you very much!) and the inclusion of well-written minor characters. It all blends into a great read where the heroine needs help, but isn't helpless; the hero is heroic yet flawed (and realizes it); and the evil is vanquished, for now. Trust me, this is a good series and one I'm going to keep reading for hopefully several books to come!

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