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Thursday, January 19, 2012

REVIEW: "Lothaire" by Kresley Cole


Lothaire by Kresley Cole
(Immortals After Dark #12)

Paranormal Romance-Vampires, Shapeshifters, Magic, etc.
Gallery--January 10, 2012
Hardcover, 468 pages 

Rating: 5 Stars









SUMMARY


ALL FEAR THE ENEMY OF OLD

Driven by his insatiable need for revenge, Lothaire, the Lore’s most ruthless vampire, plots to seize the Horde’s crown. But bloodlust and torture have left him on the brink of madness—until he finds Elizabeth Peirce, the key to his victory. He captures the unique young mortal, intending to offer up her very soul in exchange for power, yet Elizabeth soothes his tormented mind and awakens within him emotions Lothaire believed he could no longer experience.

A DEADLY FORCE DWELLS WITHIN HER

Growing up in desperate poverty, Ellie Peirce yearned for a better life, never imagining she’d be convicted of murder—or that an evil immortal would abduct her from death row. But Lothaire is no savior, as he himself plans to sacrifice Ellie in one month’s time. And yet the vampire seems to ache for her touch, showering her with wealth and sexual pleasure. In a bid to save her soul, Ellie surrenders her body to the wicked vampire, while vowing to protect her heart.

CENTURIES OF COLD INDIFFERENCE SHATTERED

Elizabeth tempts Lothaire beyond reason, as only his fated mate could. As the month draws to a close, he must choose between a millennia-old blood vendetta and his irresistible prisoner. Will Lothaire succumb to the miseries of his past . . . or risk everything for a future with her?



MY THOUGHTS

WARNING!  THIS REVIEW MAY INCLUDE SPOILERS TO EARLIER BOOKS IN THIS SERIES!

--Introduction--
I feel like I have been waiting for Lothaire's story forever!  But, like always, I was a little hesitant because I was afraid that my expectations were too high.  I had similar pauses before reading other books that focused on beloved characters in series such as Acheron in Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark Hunters and Hawke in Nalini Singh's Psy-Changelings.  Thankfully, I had nothing to worry about because Kresley Cole gives readers a hell of a good ride full of fascinating characters, detailed worldbuilding, and a plot that always kept me guessing.

--Main Characters--
The title character of this story is the bad boy of the Immortals After Dark series, Lothaire Daciano.  Lothaire has been anti-hero that pops up throughout the series to either antagonize or grudgingly assist the Loreans.  One of my favorite things that Cole did with Lothaire was letting readers get into his head and understand his motivations.  He witnessed his mother's exile and murder and swore revenge on the vampires he believed responsible.  He has developed a detailed Endgame to accomplish this task which includes finding his destined Bride.  Lothaire has had this plan forever and does not react well when things start to come apart at the seams. 

At his core, Lothaire is sexy, tortured, and completely insane. While Cole allows her readers to see Lothaire's inner turmoil and even fall in love with him, she never forgets his true nature.  There is no ultimate "I must be a good guy now" epiphany scene because it just wouldn't work.  But, Lothaire does show himself to be heroic in a lovely, but twisted way.

Due to Lothaire's polarizing nature, Cole had to pair him with a unique woman who could handle his issues and still make him a hero.  Elizabeth Pierce (Ellie) is the perfect character for this purpose.  She is from the mountains of Appalachia and has dealt with povery for most of her life.  Just when it seems like she might be able to make something of herself, she is possessed by a vampiric demon, Saroya, who is determined to extinguish her soul and use her body to wreak havoc throughout the world. 

At first glance, Ellie is the exact opposite of what Lothaire wants.  He believes that Saroya is his Bride and, despite his attraction to Ellie, strives to eliminate her to accomplish his goals.  I got into Ellie's corner from the very beginning and admired her strength, loyalty, and intelligence.  She has been put into a bad situation, but, rather than sitting around whining about it, takes the proactive path and does her best with it. 

--Secondary Characters--
I thought Saroya was an interesting villain.  She appears to be everything that Lothaire wants and believes he deserves in a Bride: beautiful, bloodthirsty, accustomed to luxury, etc.  But, it becomes clear to both readers and eventually Lothaire the truth.  Her horrible treatment of Ellie and Lothaire makes her a villain that irritated me, but I still could appreciate the depths of her evil nature.  She was a great contrast to Ellie.

Like most IAD books, there is a large cast.  The world of the Lore is full of wonderful characters so it is always a blast to meet new ones and catch up with favorites.  Nix, the all-seeing Valkyrie, is very important in this book due to her background with Lothaire and we see a more vulnerable side to Nucking Futs Nix that gives her character a new twist.  We also meet up again with Thad, the vampire/phantom hybrid whom Lothaire meets during his escape from the Order, and see the complex friendship he has with Lothaire.  There are quite a few other regulars that pop up and it was fun seeing them again especially Regin the Radiant.

In terms of new characters, we meet Balery aka the Hag who has been Lothaire's confidante for years.  Her character was a cool way for Ellie and readers to get to know more about Lothaire's past and inner thoughts.  And then we have the Daci vampires who are a group of natural-born vampires that were thought to be a myth by even the Loreans.  Lothaire's revenge includes his involvement with these characters and the IAD spinoff (Realm of Blood and Mist) will focus on the Daci and their adventures.

--Romance--
The relationship between Lothaire and Ellie is complicated, to say the least.  Due to the complexity of their situation, it takes a bit of time for them to get comfortable with each other.  Trust is a strong topic for this couple and both of them have issues giving it freely.  This was definitely a relationship that required work on both sides though, to be honest, Lothaire had a bit more groveling to do than Ellie.  I personally love the opposites attract theme and believe that they will definitely have an interesting life together.

--Worldbuilding--
Worldbuilding continues to be a strong suit of this series.  It is full of complex details, overarching plots, and an ever-growing cast of characters, but rarely becomes confusing for readers.  This has much to say about Cole's writing style and comfort level with her story. 

--Plot--
The plot of Lothaire is like most of the Immortals After Dark books.  It is full of action and is very unpredictable.  Even though it is a paranormal romance and it is a given that there will be a happily ever after, I found myself wondering how the story would progress.  While there is a conclusion to the romance of Lothaire and Ellie, Cole continues the overarching storyline of the series which is the Ascension and the coming war amongs the Lore.  There are also little tidbits that tell  readers the issues of the Order from the past few books is not resolved.

--Conclusion--
All in all, this was a fabulous story of one of the most complex heroes I've read about in years.  The plot was fascinating, the world of IAD continues to blow me away, and the characters remain the heart and soul of one of my favorite paranormal series. 


COVER

Since the book is simply the hero's name, I like the fact that the cover is just his face.  Not sure about the hair, but I like the model's features and the fact that they added the red eyes. 


FAVORITE QUOTES

“I never knew I could hate someone as deeply as I do you.”
“I often help others discover the outer limits of their hatred. It’s a talent of mine.”




SERIES INFORMATION

Immortals After Dark
1. The Warlord Wants Forever (Nikolai and Myst)
2. A Hunger Like No Other (Lachlain and Emmaline)
3. No Rest for the Wicked (Sebastian and Kaderin)
4. Wicked Deeds on a Winter's Night (Bowen and Mariketa)
5. Dark Needs at Night's Edge (Conrad and Neomi)
6. Dark Desires after Dusk (Cadeon and Holly)
7. Kiss of a Demon King (Rystrom and Sabine)
8. Untouchable (Murdoch and Daniela)
9. Pleasure of a Dark Prince (Gareth and Lucia)
10. Demon After Dark (Malkom and Carrow)
11. Dreams of a Dark Warrior (Declan and Regan)
12. Lothaire (Lothaire and Ellie)

Realm of Blood and Mist (spinoff)
1. Shadow's Claim (To Be Released 2012)

BOOK TRAILER


BOOK CHALLENGE ENTRY


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