Untouched, by Kresley Cole

>> Saturday, July 27, 2013

TITLE: Untouched
AUTHOR: Kresley Cole

PAGES: 280 (70K words)

SETTING: Contemporary / Fantasy
TYPE: Paranormal romance
SERIES: 8th in the Immortals After Dark series

KRESLEY COLE delivers a breathtaking tale of a brutal vampire soldier about to know love for the first time...and a Valkyrie aching to be touched.

Murdoch Wroth will stop at nothing to claim Daniela the Ice Maiden -- the delicate Valkyrie who makes his heart beat for the first time in three hundred years. Yet the exquisite Danii is part ice fey, and her freezing skin can't be touched by anyone but her own kind without inflicting pain beyond measure. Soon desperate for closeness, in an agony of frustration, Murdoch and Danii will do anything to have each other. Together, can they find the key that will finally allow them to slake the overwhelming desire burning between them?
Untouched is a slightly shorter than usual entry in Kresley Cole's Immortals Afer Dark series (it was published in a book called Deep Kiss of Winter, together with a short story by Gena Showalter). It tells the story of the 4th Wroth brother, Murdoch.

The Wroths were an Estonian (IIRC) family who were turned into vampires in the Middle Ages, and the turning was more unwilling for some than for others. The stories of 3 of the 4 surviving brothers were told in earlier books in the series, and Untouched covers all that territory again, but showing it all from Murdoch's POV, and including what's going on in his life.

Murdoch is in New Orleans with his brother Nikolai (from the novella which starts the whole series, called The Warlord Wants Forever), who's chasing his Bride (in this universe, vampires have fated mates called Brides and are basically eunuchs until they meet them and are 'blooded'). Murdoch has seen the torment that being blooded but not being able to be with his Bride has been for Nikolai, so he's not amused when he's blooded himself, as he helps a pale young woman under attack.

But it gets worse: his Bride is Daniela the Ice Maiden, part Valkyrie, part Icere. The Valkyrie bit is bad enough, since they're not too fond of vampires, but the Icere, or ice fey bit means that any touch from a non-icy being is agonisingly painful for Daniela. The story is all about how Daniela and Murdoch can make things work.

This all takes place over quite a long period, which gives it a bit of a weird feel. We're constantly being caught up with what's going on outside, which basically means the first 7 books in the series, so quite a lot of territory. We're constantly being told "oh, this has happened", which sort of made sense to me because I've read the books, but even then, it's been over a long period, so I don't remember all the details. I can only imagine how puzzling this would be to someone who hasn't read them. Plus, it's poorly done, with no attempt to integrate it into the story. It's all: 'so this is what Murdoch has been doing while he's away from Daniela'. Didn't work for me at all.

To be honest, neither did the romance. I didn't see any connection between Daniela and Murdoch, and although I liked the way Cole resolved their big problem, it was too little, too late. Not great.



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