Monday, November 8, 2010

"Demon from the Dark" by Kresley Cole

Malkom Slaine: tormented by his sordid past and racked by vampiric hungers, he's pushed to the brink by the green-eyed beauty under his guard. Carrow Graie: hiding her own sorrows, she lives only for the next party or prank. Until she meets a tortured warrior worth saving. In order for Malkom and Carrow to survive, he must unleash both the demon and vampire inside him. When Malkom becomes the nightmare his own people feared, will he lose the woman he craves body and soul?

Cole has returned to form with her eighth entry in her Immortals After Dark series. I liked the last few books well enough, but they lacked the oomph of the first entries. Luckily, this romance between Malkom and Carrow shows that Cole still has it.

The story is pretty much the same as all the other books, except that now we know where beings from the Lore have been vanishing to - a secret facility run by humans who think the creatures of the Lore threaten all humans' existence (think the old torch and pitchfork townsfolk, only with much better equipment). Carrow is trapped there, forced to wear a collar that prevents her from using her witchy powers, and desperate to escape. She's offered a "deal" - travel to the plane of Oblivion and lure Malkom, half-demon/half-vampire, back to the portal so that the humans can trap him, too. In return for her "help", she'll be released - with her niece Ruby. Of course Carrow agrees, especially when she learns that Ruby's mother has been killed. And of course Carrow is about 99% sure that she's going to get screwed by the humans. But what's a witch to do?

Malkom is the classic tortured soul, made a vampire against his will. Born to a hussy of a mother, he was sold/turned out by her to the vampires as a sex/blood slave, only to be tossed aside into the cruel streets when he became too old to satisfy (our "vemon" reminded me a lot of LKH's Acheron...) Malkom is befriended by the leader of the demons, who becomes his best friend. Unfortunately, the vampires invade Oblivion and pretty much try to take over the place; they are almost run out until Malkom and his king are caught and turned by the Viceroy (head vamp). Malkom believes his best friend betrays him (you'll have to read the book to find out what happens)... and he kills him, making him even more of a pariah among his people.

Carrow and Malkom are so obviously meant for each other it's not funny. And yet, it is - Carrow is an awesome character with a very smart mouth on her. I really enjoyed Cole's strong female character this time: the right amount of sass and spunk without too much drama. The only thing I wasn't too sure about was her insistence that Malkom and her not have sex; I think she was worried about getting pregnant, but I'm not entirely sure. However, I will admit that the scenes where Carrow tries to explain that they can't, well, you know.... hysterical!

This book has restored my faith in Cole as a writer, and I've already put the next installment on my Amazon Wishlist. A great story, awesome action, a well-developed romance (and the relationship with Ruby is much appreciated, too), it all comes together and makes for a very satisfying read.

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