So, I've been dragging this review for a while now.
I've read this over a month ago, pretty much the day it released and I devoured it in a day but I couldn't review right away.
I love the Immortals After Dark series. I love Kresley Cole's brand of writing—always full of attitude, humor and sensual undertones. It's always fun to read anything she's written.
The story between the sorceress Lanthe and Vrekener Thronos have been hinted at in several of the previous books and it has always intrigued me. He's always hunting her down, viciously as it was implied, and she was always running from him. Those little hints were already packed with potential for an extensive backstory.
And there was a back story. The preliminary chapters offered an almost bittersweet history to the two but it fell a little short in terms of how much it impacted me and my sympathies toward the kind of relationship these two now have many centuries later. Nonetheless, there was a lot going for the book to keep me glued for several hours straight and many times, I did swoon a little at some things about Thronos. I didn't really have too much of a problem with Thronos except that maybe, if he'd been so obsessed about Lanthe, he would've kind of picked up a little bit on the fact that she was being terrorized by Vrekeners. Thronos had a lot of redeeming qualities and personified the kind of alpha males many of Cole's books have—fiercely possessive, infuriating as hell but still pretty damn sweet.
As for Lanthe... Hmm... I liked pretty much every female lead in the past IAD books but I do have my favorites. Lanthe always struck me as the stereotype younger, more shy, more innocent sister but she had a lot of spunk on her own once she was free from Sabine's shadow—at least until much later in the story. I just don't know that a lot of it was in the right place.
I still enjoyed this book quite a bit. No regrets.
I would've given this four stars if it didn't quite become clear to me, so early in the story, that this book has more couple's therapy than an actual session or a self-help book—on top of the very established and empowered sexuality that Lanthe embraced.
I get it, Lanthe wasn't a nun locked away in a monastery somewhere remote wearing a chastity belt. I get it, she slept with a lot of guys and a lot of times, for the wrong reasons, and yes, I'm not going to criticize her for it. That's fine by me. I just didn't need to be constantly reminded every other chapter. I would've liked to have read more about the actual story. I hated those moments but some parts I felt like skipping through because I felt like I was watching a Jerry Springer episode. I wanted to read a sexy, exciting and highly amusing paranormal romance, that's all.
I felt that the book might have embraced Lanthe's sexual liberation a little bit too much. It's the modern day and age, sure, and we are all responsible adults who can make decisions about our lives. No one needs to tell you what to do. Lots of reviews of books nowadays loudly criticize 'slut-shaming' and I think this book was a bit in-your-face about not judging someone for the way they are. I wouldn't get in someone's face and tell them they have to lead a sainted existence so there is no need point a finger at my face and dare me to criticize Lanthe's choices. This almost felt a bit like 'virgin-or-less-sexually-experienced-adult-shaming' if I really wanted to go so far. But anyway, a little less of that and I might have actually enjoyed the story a bit more instead of wondering every few pages here or there if I even wanted these two to end up together.
And for someone who's so empowered in one thing, I felt that Lanthe still got a bullied around by Sabine and Morgana toward the end. Balance is a beautiful thing, you know, but I guess, how are we to love our fictional characters if not for their flaws, right?
I'm still looking forward to the next instalment. The whole series just feels epic even though this particular pair was a little less so.
I'm looking forward to Nix's story the most. So far, not a ton of hints as to who would steal the heart of this clever Valkyrie who has everyone moving on her chessboard like pawns in a game she's playing with an unknown enemy. God! Loved her little moment with the goddesses!
Read more reviews about it here: Dark Skye by Kresley Cole