A Hunger Like No Other by Kresley Cole
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is the first full-length story in the Immortals After Dark series, following the novella The Warlord Wants Forever that introduced the Lore, the mythical strata created by Kresley Cole "where those sentient creatures that are not human live". You don’t have to read that short story to understand A Hunger Like No Other, but I did and I think it helps to get a better grasp of the overall scenario as some events in the two stories take place at the same time.
Lachlain MacRieve is the Lykae King, a 1,200-year-old werewolf who’s been searching for his mate for a long, long time. For the past 150 years, he’s been imprisoned in the catacombs beneath Paris, where he’s been tortured by the Vampire Horde and subjected to die from the fires of hell only to be resurrected by his immortality - over and over again. The only thing that keeps him alive and somewhat sane is the thought of finding his mate, so when he unexpectedly scents her nearby one night, he finds the strength to break free from the bonds that keep him captive. When he finally escapes the catacombs and finds his way to the surface, then into a darkened alley, his mate is gone. He’s not defeated, though, because once a Lykae scents his mate, she’s his forever – and he will find her again… However, Lachlain has the shock of his life when he catches up with her one week later and discovers she’s, gasp!, a vampire. No, this cannot be! Lykaes and vampires are mortal enemies, so why would fate give him a vampire as a mate?
Emmaline “Emma” Troy is actually half vampire and half Valkyrie. Her mother Helen (of Troy?) was a Valkyrie who died when Emma was still a baby. As for her father, all Emma knows is that he is/was a vampire. Determined to finally find out his identity, Emma’s left the Valkyrie coven in New Orleans for the first time in her 70 years – wow, she’s almost a newborn compared to Lachlain! – and flies to Paris, where her parents are believed to have met and lived together for a while. Imagine her surprise when, one night, she’s kidnapped by a strange non-human male who seems to be a bit "deranged", to say the least.
Lachlain is torn between lust and disgust. His "beast" wants to claim Emma as his mate, but he’s having a hard time reconciling the fact that she’s a vampire. He ends up "convincing" her to travel with him to his home in Scotland, with the promise that he’ll let her go when they get there. He’s lying through his teeth, of course, as he has no intention of letting her go – ever! He’s only buying time, before she accepts her position as his mate. But there are people after her – not only her Valkyrie foster mother and aunts, but some bad vampires too – and Lachlain has to fight all of them to keep Emma safe. Not an easy task, when he has to woo her and convince her she belongs with him at the same time.
When I read the Prologue, I thought Lachlain would end up being one of my favorite heroes. I was sure he would be a dark, brooding and intense hero – come on, he severed one of his leg to free it from its bonds to get to his mate! – but that was not to be. He had a brief bout of "insanity" in the beginning, which was completely expected considering his 150-year imprisonment, but he recovered from it quite easily and I found it too unbelievable. Strangely enough, I wasn’t put off by his lying to Emma. I’m usually not a fan of deceitful heroes, but I was OK with Lachlain’s lying because it was consistent with his initial "madness". He kept lying later, when he was "sane" again, but that was another story...
As for Emma, she got on my nerves. She started out as a wuss – by her own words – and ended up as a strong and independent vampire/Valkyrie – kudos to her! – but the journey in between was uneven. I guess she was supposed to be funny and witty, but I found myself wanting to shake some sense into her a couple of times. Some of her conversations with her crazy Valkyrie aunts were hilarious, but I got tired of their antics after a while. There’s a time to joke around, and there’s a time to get down to business. JMHO.
I could have "ignored" Lachlan’s and Emma’s shortcomings if the plot had been engaging enough but, alas, that wasn’t the case. Some jarring inconsistencies kept pestering me while I was reading this book, and I just couldn’t get over them. A) Lachlain’s escape from the catacombs wasn’t as difficult as it should have been. I mean, not a single guard intercepted his way! B) Why did Lachlain waited 150 years to escape? Don’t tell me that he only felt compelled to do it when he scented Emma, because I can’t believe he didn’t find ending his torture as soon as possible compelling enough. C) Why didn’t the Vampire Horde go after Lachlain when he escaped? He couldn’t be that "insignificant", could he? D) Why did Demestriu, the Vampire King, … Okay, I’ll stop ranting now because I’m about to enter into spoiler territory.
All things considered, this was a fun read but, as it happened with The Warlord Wants Forever, I wasn’t wowed by the story. I’m feeling kind of weird here, because many readers love this series and I just don’t get it. I do love the idea of having all kinds of non-human beings living together – mostly at war but some in peace – in the same universe, the Lore, but that’s all. Ms. Cole’s writing was humorous and easy to read, the love scenes were hot and the story was fast paced and entertaining despite its inconsistencies, but I’m still unsure about this series. Does it get better? Should I give the next book a try? Decisions, decisions…
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