Kiss of a Demon King, by Kresley Cole

>> Wednesday, March 09, 2011

TITLE: Kiss of a Demon King
AUTHOR: Kresley Cole

COPYRIGHT: 2009
PAGES: 432
PUBLISHER: Pocket

SETTING: Alternate world
TYPE: Fantasy romance
SERIES: Immortals After Dark #7

REASON FOR READING: I really enjoy this series

From New York Times bestselling author Kresley Cole comes this spellbinding story of a demon king trapped by an enchantress for her wanton purposes -- and the scorching aftermath that follows when he turns the tables and claims her as his captive.

HIS OBSESSION...

Sabine, Sorceress of Illusions: the evil beauty who surrenders her body, but not her heart.

HER DOWNFALL...

Rydstrom Woede: the ruthless warrior who vows to keep her at all costs.

THEY WERE NEVER SUPPOSED TO WANT EACH OTHER THIS MUCH...

With each smoldering encounter, their shared hunger only increases. If they can defeat the sinister enemy that stands between them, will Sabine make the ultimate sacrifice for her demon? Or will the proud king lay down his crown and arms to save his sorceress?
Kiss of a Demon King takes place pretty much concurrently with the previous book, Dark Desires After Dark. The earlier book is where Rydstrom and his brother Cadeon's quest began to overthrow the evil, unkillable sorcerer Omort and win back the kingdom they lost centuries earlier. At one point in that book, we see Rydstrom being kidnapped by the evil Sorceress Sabine, Omort's sister, leaving Cadeon alone on his mission to get the sword that's the only weapon that can kill their enemy. KOTDK fills in the blanks by telling the story of what happens between Rydstrom and Sabine.

Sabine may be an evil sorceress herself (she's very proud of that "evil" bit) doesn't like her brother any better, but he controls her through having fed her poison and controlling the substance she needs to ingest periodically to keep her from dying. She thus must do what she says. There's a prophecy which predicts she's the demon king's mate, and that if they marry and produce a child, that child will be able to access a source of great power. Therefore, she must seduce Rydstrom into marrying and impregnating her.

Which is how Rydstrom ends up tied to her bed, being tormented and tempted by a woman who, he rapidly begins to realise, is all his most secret fantasies made flesh.

Sounds exciting, doesn't it? And it does get so, eventually. Unfortunately, I didn't like the beginning at all. I don't think it was the fact that the man was in the less powerful position, because that's not something I mind. It was more that I didn't really know these people very well, and neither did they know each other, so all the supposedly sexy scenes didn't feel particularly sexy to me, and actually bored me.

Plus, it was all a bit cartoonish. I have liked Cole's previous books so much because her characters are real people, even though there's a lot of craziness going on around them. I didn't get that feeling with Sabine and Rydstrom in the first section, and so I had a lot of trouble getting through it, until about the time when Rydstrom escapes. I just couldn't force myself to keep reading more than a few pages at a time (I even read 3 or 4 other books in between those few little pages). If this hadn't been an author I trust due to prior experiences, I wouldn't have persevered.

Once they're out of the castle, it gets much, much better. Exciting adventures, fun new worlds and creatures, and a hero and heroine whose adversarial relationship doesn't hide that they are perfect for each other.

And Cole shows us that. As always with this author, she handles the whole issue with the fated mates extremely well. Being fated mates in her world doesn't mean that the characters are instantly in love. In fact, rather than provide a shortcut for the romance and make any conflict disappear, this creates even more conflict, so it actually makes the story more interesting, rather than more boring. Cole takes the time to show us why the proud, always-honest king falls so hard for this woman who prides herself on lying and tricking people whenever she can.

One of my favourite things? At one point, Rydstrom tricks Sabine regarding something very important to her. Throughout the book, I dreaded how that was going to be resolved, hoping against hope that Sabine wouldn't end up acting out of character. And she didn't! I loved the way it was handled in the end.

MY GRADE: A B.

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