Publisher: Pocket Books
Publication Date: September 24, 2007
Series or Standalone: Immortals After Dark #3
Links: Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Goodreads
I was excited to dive into the third installment of the Immortals After Dark series as poor Bowen went through the wringer in No Rest for the Wicked. This book ended up being a very weird reading experience for me – I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it either. The plot was what really threw me and not in a good way.
After losing his mate nearly two centuries ago, Bowen MacRieve of the Lykae clan will do anything to get her back during the Talisman’s Hie. Mariketa the Awaited is also after the Talisman’s Hie prize, though she’s not yet come into her full powers. Destined to be one of the most powerful witches, she has potential but is no match for Bowen, who traps her during the Hie. However, she curses him so he cannot heal and needs her to reverse the curse after the Hie. Meanwhile, the two feel a stunning attraction to each other that they cannot fight. Bowen believes Mari enchanted him as he found and lost his one fated mate, yet it seems there are bigger forces at work, and they must work together to defeat an evil goddess.
My biggest issue with this book was the plot. Kresley Cole can sometimes write a bonkers story and make it work. This was one of the times it fell flat to me. The story was all over the place in Wicked Deeds on a Winter’s Night. It felt like there were three separate storylines smushed together into one, and the payoff didn’t really deliver. The connective tissues between the different story arcs were weak and could be easily missed or forgotten by the reader. I found the middle to drag a bit as it was a literal trek through the forest, but it picked up a bit more after a literal plane crash that helped usher in the final part of the story. I did enjoy the Häxa storyline at the end, but it felt like the whole first third of the book didn’t fully connect to the last third. I wish there was a little more buildup to it in a way that made sense.
The romance in this one was a little bit strange to me. I found the chemistry between Bowen and Mari to be scorching hot at times and then incredibly feeble at others. I liked the addition of Bowen’s previous mate being thrown into the mix as it helped shake up the fated mate concept a bit. However, I did feel like I struggled with seeing Bowen and Mari as a romantic couple, given how Bowen treated her initially.
Speaking of Bowen, while this man clearly went through the wringer losing his mate, not once but twice, and came out incredibly worse for wear during the Hie, he done messed up multiple times when it came to Mari. First off, he trapped her in a crypt with incubi, where they basically tortured her until he showed up a few weeks later to rescue her. Then he calls her the WRONG NAME during sex while also constantly accusing her of enchanting him. I think he redeems himself in the end, but boy, did this man make it hard for me to like him based on his actions.
When it comes to Mari, I found her a bit hard to connect with. She does come off incredibly young. Granted, she is 23, but she feels more immature than that. She’s been sheltered most of her life due to a prophecy and never really given a chance to interact with others outside her Coven until she entered the Hie. Her naivete and innocence really showed, and it was a little grating. She eventually came into her power, but she made some stupid decisions along the way and needed Bowen to rescue her in the end.
What saved this book for me was the secondary characters. I really enjoyed the crew Mari got trapped in the crypt with and I cannot wait to see more of Rydstrom and Cade in future books. We also have Nïx being Nucking Futs Nïx, and I truly adore her. Plus, we get to see some familiar faces from previous stories which I’m always a fan of.
Wicked Deeds on Winter’s Night was a bit of an odd read and not my favorite. I liked it more than A Hunger Like No Other, but it paled in comparison to the standout No Rest for the Wicked. Overall, it was an interesting addition to the series that introduced us to some more members of the Lore and some new characters who I looked forward to seeing stick around.
I’m definitely continuing with the Immortals After Dark series as these books are a lot of fun, even if all elements of the story don’t work every time. I love the world Cole created and enjoy learning more about the various members of the Lore in each one.