I know a lot of people were disappointed by Kresley Cole’s decision to feature two new characters in this book. They want Furie and Kristoff. Or Nix and… somebody. Cole has created such a vast landscape of characters already, we’re all greedy to get their stories. But this book does something important. It broadens the scope of the series and –in my opinion– ramps up the Ascension more than any book that’s come before it. It also introduces the guy who I think will be Nix’s HEA, but I’ll get back to that in a minute.
Since book 1, we’ve gotten to know the Vertas, the “good guys” in the coming war. What this story does, is kind of turn our preconceptions on their ear, because we’re getting an inside look at the Morior. And they’re not the villains of the story, at least not this story. In fact, one of them is our hero.
Rune is a Dark Fey, part fey and part demon. His blood is poisonous to anyone who comes in contact with it. He has been maligned and enslaved for much of his long life. Now he owes his loyalty to the leader of the Morior, Orion, the enigmatic and powerful being who freed him. He uses his sultry sexuality to extract valuable information for his allies, and serves as an assassin when needed. Now, he’s tasked with the death of Nix the Everknowing.
Our heroine is Josephine. We’ve never met her, but she is connected to our main cast of characters in that she is the long lost sister of the young vampire, Thaddeus. She raised him from the time he was a baby, even though she was just a young girl herself. She had no memory of their lives before she was eight years old and was found carrying him in the streets. What she knew instinctively was that Thaddie was her life, and everyone else be damned. She learned to be tough and streetwise, but it all came crashing down when she got a little too tough and ended up in the crosshairs of a gang-banger.
Thaddius was raised by an adopted family when it appeared as if Jo was dead. But, obviously, those bullets didn’t keep her down. They only revealed her true nature. She is something more. She can become insubstantial and she craves blood, but she has no one to help her understand what that means. So she ends up with a pretty lonely life. Until her path crosses with Rune.
For the first time, she’s found a man who is as unusual as she is. She craves his body and blood, but he can’t imagine a life with just one woman. How could he when he is convinced he can never have a mate? All that matters is his loyalty and his revenge on the family who enslaved him all of those years. Jo tempts him with her attitude and her mystery. And he spends the book trying to get into her pants, while she tries to convince him they could have something more.
I liked Jo. Kresley Cole does a great job crafting strong women with a sense of self-worth. My only complaint is that sometimes, they feel too much alike. They all have different circumstances and motivation, but most of them think they’re awesome; they’re always telling the hero that they’re awesome; they’re strong and sexually empowered… and they have the same voice. It’s a good voice. But it’s the same one. Her powers and species are cool, though, as is her devotion to her brother.
Rune has some issues, as you would expect after years of forced prostitution. But I enjoyed the tension between him and Jo. I appreciated his loyalty to Orion and the Morior, even as it put Nix on his hitlist. He has one big Really Stupid Moment, but otherwise, I liked him. The romance is sexy and fun and I liked seeing him finally finding the love he never thought he’d have.
I’ll admit I was a little confused about Jo’s nature even after the details were revealed. Like… did she keep aging after she “died?” She was only 10 years old. Does her survival mean she can never die?
And I didn’t forget what I said about a man for Nix. I think it’s Orion. I mean, it’s got to be someone as strong as she is. And wouldn’t a Happy Ever After with the Big Bad be just right for this series? This book is definitely a bridge to the next major arc of the series. I’m ready to learn more about all of the primordials we met here and see their impact on the storyline. Who knows where it will all go next? I know there are some people who may feel like too much is changing –we’re branching out too much– but I would rather that than a rehash of the same stuff, risking the the possibility of such a vibrant series going stale.
*ARC provided by publisher
Click to purchase: Amazon
by Kresley Cole
Release Date: December 1, 2015
Publisher: Gallery Books