Publisher: Pocket Books
Publication Date: January 25, 2010
Series or Standalone: Immortals After Dark #8
Links: Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Goodreads
CW: Rape; sexual assault; violence
Y’all, I don’t think the Lykae books in the Immortals After Dark series are for me. I’ve been putting off writing this review for almost two months, and my feelings on it have really sunk in now. I did not like this book at all, and it is currently my least favorite in the entire series. The plot and the romance were incredibly lackluster and the only thing that I liked was the epilogue.
Lucia the Huntress is a famed archer who never misses a shot. If she does, it causes her much pain. After encountering Gareth MacRieve, Prince of the Lykae, earlier, they both realize that they’re fated mates. Lucia’s gifts are dependent on her abstaining from sex, so she flees from Gareth, even though he continues to track her down. Lucia also harbors a dark secret that threatens to destroy her and possibly the world if she cannot keep her archery skills and do her duty. As Gareth pursues her and tries to convince her to accept him as a protector, Lucia struggles to stay away from him.
Let’s start with the plot. The first half of this book felt a bit repetitive if you’ve read the previous books in the series. I kept waiting for something to happen. There was a lot of recounting of previous scenes we’ve seen before, and not much happens besides Gareth realizing Lucia’s his mate and she’s constantly running away from him. I honestly felt bored a lot of the time while reading it. Once the action got underway, I found the story very predictable. The climax was what I expected and how the situation was resolved was incredibly predictable. I would have liked a little bit more of the unexpected as I know Cole can deliver on that.
The story’s pacing picked up once Gareth and Lucia were on their jungle cruise on the Amazon, but it felt like all the action and plot were packed into the last 40% of the book. It went from zero to one hundred very quickly, and I found myself frustrated that everything was crammed into the end of the book. When the action did pick up, the book started to give me some video game vibes – specifically reminding me of the Tomb Raider and Uncharted video games – which I liked, but it wasn’t enough to save the book from the lackluster first half.
I’m also not a fan of the romance in this book. Gareth is the prince of the Lykae clan, while Lucia is a Valkyrie who was granted a gift for archery by the goddess Skathi. In exchange for her archery skills, Lucia cannot have sex. That’s not going to fly when your mate is a Lykae as they are incredibly possessive and want nothing more than to bang and claim their mate. I didn’t think Lucia or Gareth had any chemistry, and I kept getting annoyed at how aggressive Gareth was pursuing her. She kept telling him no and running away from him, yet he continued to pursue her and try to convince her to give in to him. He was so overbearing, possessive and arrogant, and I couldn’t stand it. I realize all the Lykae are like that, and I just don’t think they are for me. All my least favorite books have had a Lykae male lead, and I just cannot stand how possessive they are and how they think they know the mind of their mate better than she does.
Meanwhile, Lucia felt a bit bland to me. She’s a Valkyrie, but I felt like she didn’t have any of the spunk that they usually have. And even though she’s supposed to be this great archer, I felt like she forgot she also has Valkyrie abilities she could have tapped into during fights. Her storyline with Cruach was the only thing I found relatively interesting, but it was resolved faster and easier than I expected.
The only bright spots of this novel were Nix and the epilogue. I will continue to love Nix as I love her scheming as she always makes me laugh forever. And that epilogue! This book made me almost not want to continue with the series, but the epilogue immediately hooked me back in and made me excited for the subsequent darker phases of the series.
I actively disliked Pleasure of a Dark Prince so much that I almost didn’t want to continue with the Immortals After Dark series. However, I’m glad I continued as the next few books after this are really good. I wish I could recommend you skip this book, but there are a few plot points outside the epilogue that are important for the next few books (I’m looking at you, Lothaire), so I think you need to read it if you want to understand everything. If you’re going to read this, I recommend you get it out of the library rather than spend your money on it.