No Rest for the Wicked by Kresley Cole
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I guess third time is the charm... At least, with the Immortals After Dark series. I wasn't impressed with The Warlord Wants Forever and A Hunger Like No Other, the first two entries in the series, but now I understand what all the fuss is about. To be honest, I wasn't "feeling the love" in the first half of this book, but things got much better in the second half.
Back in 1709, Sebastian Wroth was turned into a vampire by his brother Nikolai, the hero in The Warlord Wants Forever. That happened against his will, and Sebastian has never forgiven his older brother for it. When Valkyrie Kaderin the Cold Hearted shows up at his castle to kill him, he's more than happy to oblige... until he realizes she's his Bride, the one and only female destined to be his eternal wife. Now he doesn't want to die anymore. Too bad Valkyries hate vampires and Kaderin is the best vampire slayer on the face of the Earth, er, the Lore.
Kaderin isn't called "the Cold Hearted" for nothing. She hasn't felt any emotion in a thousand years, ever since her two sisters died by the hand of a vampire whose life Kaderin had just spared out of pity. Devastated by guilt and grief, she was given the blessing of feeling nothing so she could move on with her life. She's cold, fearless and ruthless, the ultimate vampire killer. But all that changes when she meets Sebastian and she starts feeling and experiencing emotions again. However, she isn't the least interested in consorting with a vampire, and she pushes him away.
Besides, she needs to focus on the Talisman's Hie, which is basically an immortal version of the TV show The Amazing Race. Kaderin is the Hie's reigning champion and has won every single edition of the deadly competition, so winning the Hie is a must. But there's more than pride and ego at stake this time around... This Hie, the winner will be given Thrane's Key, a powerful weapon that enables its possessor to time travel to the past. Here's Kaderin chance to go back in time and save her sisters! Her competitors are fierce, but she's positive she'll be able to defeat them. Sebastian offers to join her in the competition, but she flatly refuses his help. So he decides to enter the Hie himself and win the prize for her - after all, she's his Bride and he'll do anything for her. And while they're "globetrotting" in search of the talismans, he'll make her see they're meant for each other. Or will he?
Awww, I loved, loved, loved Sebastian! How could I not? He was adorable, protective, caring, honorable, and sexy as hell. And I think he was a virgin! I loved how he got all nervous and tentative around Kaderin, before he realized she wasn't fragile like the women he knew in his previous human life. I have to say I didn't fully understand why he didn't end his own life in all the three hundred years he lived as an unwilling vampire before he met Kaderin and found a purpose to live, though. I guess I should believe it was fate and he was just waiting to meet her, but Kaderin's behavior didn't make it easy to go along with that idea because she was so not worthy of him... Not in the beginning, at least.
I wanted to throttle Kaderin for the most part of this book. She was cold as expected, given her nickname, but I had a hard time figuring her out. I just couldn't understand how she remained imune to Sebastian for so long. At one point, she even lied to him and tried to use his feelings for her to get her out of a jammy so she could complete a task in the Hie. Thankfully, she came to her senses later in a wonderful scene that made my heart skip a beat. Was it enough to win me over? Not completely, but it was enough to stop me from wanting to smack her, LOL.
The pace of the story was a bit uneven to me. I struggled to get through the first half, when Sebastian and Kaderin didn't really spend much time together and I couldn't see how they would manage to fall in love if they didn't get to know each other. Following the Hie was fun, but it wasn't enough to hold my interest for itself. Once Sebastian and Kaderin started to interact more often, things improved. The second half of the story had a nice mix of action and romance, and I would have read it in one sitting if it wasn't for the darn power outage that took my country by surprise last night. All in all, the final half of the story saved the book for me and the ending had a nice tease - not exactly a cliffhanger - that made me want to read the next book, Wicked Deeds on a Winter's Night. Yay!
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