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Wicked Abyss (Immortals After Dark) Mass Market Paperback – September 19, 2017
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"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover," illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Learn more
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About the Author
Kresley Cole is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the electrifying Immortals After Dark paranormal series, the young adult Arcana Chronicles series, the erotic Game Makers series, and five award-winning historical romances. A master’s grad and former athlete, she has traveled over much of the world and draws from those experiences to create her memorable characters and settings. You can learn more about her and her work at KresleyCole.com or Facebook.com/KresleyCole. Sign up for Kresley’s email newsletter to receive the latest book release updates, as well as info about contests and giveaways (KresleyCole.com/Newsletter).
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Eleven years ago . . .
As King Saetth leisurely wiped blood off his sword, Lila choked down her fury.
Seated upon his throne, he took his time, keeping everyone in suspense. With two executions complete, only one trial remained.
Would she follow her parents’ fates?
Through one of the throne room’s towering windows, a ray of sunlight beamed over the king. His blond locks and his ornate crown—a wreath of gilded evergreen branches—seemed to glow. Even the sun wanted to touch him.
For all of her thirteen years, Lila had been just as enamored of him.
Off to the side, whispers sounded from her backstabbing royal cousins.
“Saetth’s about to behead his child fiancée!”
“The foulmouthed brat got used to being the king’s favorite.”
“Why isn’t the little bitch crying?”
“Or begging for her cursed life?”
Crying or begging? As if. Lila faced Saetth with her chin up and shoulders back, her pampered appearance belying her fortitude.
The perils of this fey court had honed her mettle. Learning from the mistakes of others had sharpened her acumen.
Yet nothing could stifle her unfeylike temper; after all, she’d been betrothed to Saetth since her birth, raised to become the queen of this realm. Rumor even held that she was a princess reincarnated.
Fate wanted her to be a queen.
Lila had worn a purple silk gown for this occasion; the color was royal—and defiant.
As the castle’s clock tower tolled, Saetth finished cleaning the weapon he always carried, the Ancestors’ Sword, the unifying symbol of their royal line. He raised the blade to the sunlight, eyeing the edge with his piercing blue gaze.
Her earliest memories were of sighing over his handsome face, imagining him as her husband and her dollies as the subjects they protected.
Yet now her king suspected Lila of treason?
How could her coldhearted parents have plotted against such a powerful ruler? They’d foolishly trusted an informer, leaving their only child’s life hanging in the balance.
Secrecy equals survival in this court.
They’d never cared about her—never pretended she was more than a valuable bargaining chip—which was one of the reasons she’d bonded so strongly with Saetth, who’d at least shown her attention. . . .
He sheathed his sword. Peering down at her, he began her trial with one question: “Why shouldn’t I believe you were involved in your parents’ plot to steal my crown?”
Lila pinned his gaze with her own uncanny one. Her defense consisted of eight words: “Because it still sits upon your godsdamned head.”
Stunned silence reigned.
Saetth’s shock turned to amusement. “And that is why you remain my betrothed, Calliope of Sylvan, the queen of my heart.” He laughed, his gaze seemingly warm. “If there was ever a girl born to rule, you are she, cousin. But I too was born to rule, and I’ve kept this crown for millennia because I allow no threats to fester around me.” His smile disappeared as if it’d never been. “I hereby exile you from our woodland kingdom.”
Leave her beloved Sylvan? Lila would almost rather die. The forests were what separated the Sylvans from the other fey. The splendor of those great trees was equaled only by the shining, meticulous order of life at court.
Just two weeks ago, at a ball in her honor, the lights from a thousand candles had reflected in her jewels as Saetth had led her out to dance. The next day she’d run through the woods alongside bounding deer.
Separating her from this place would be like draining her veins of blood. “To where?”
“The mortal realm.”
Gasps sounded; some of her cousins tittered. He might as well have sentenced her to hell.
She would go from proudly displaying everything that made her a Lorean to hiding her very species from prying mortal eyes. From the order the fey so cherished to human chaos.
Saetth said, “We’ll see if my hothouse rose can survive among primitive humans.”
Lips drawn back from her teeth, she said, “Careful, cousin, this hothouse rose intends to flourish and grow sharp thorns.”
Saetth’s eyes flickered with excitement. He leaned down and said, “I am counting on it.”
“And if the fey-slayer finds me, what then?” Rune Darklight, a homicidal archer and one of the Møriør, was murdering the Sylvan line of succession. Lila was one of only fourteen left.
This castle had a barrier to keep Møriør out; she’d be vulnerable anywhere else.
“Test your new thorns against him,” Saetth said. As if any of the monstrous Møriør could be fought! “If you’re truly the queen I deserve, you’ll figure out something, I’m sure.”
“How long until I can return?” Six months? A year?
“Should there come a time when you can prove your loyalty to me through great personal sacrifice, I will provide you the chance to take your rightful place by my side. Until then, wait for my word. . . .”
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First, let me address this book. It wasn't a "bad" read, I enjoyed it but it was just OK. There was no "thrill" to it, no feeling of "epic" plot or adventure. But, it also just left too many issues unexplained which I will get into further in my review. Why, once he knew she didn't remember, why not just start anew? Why spend 90% of this story on such a petty issue of her past behavior from 10 thousand years ago that she didn't even remember when he barely fought for her in the past? I can't EVER imagine Rydstrom just up and allowing Sabine to walk away and marry someone else or Markum for that matter. Naturally our heroine spent HER 90% of the story trying to find clever ways to escape. I did enjoy and like both characters. I also enjoyed the animated soup, that was side stitch laugh worthy.
And what was with the deer? That was just "weird".
This just seems to be too much of a spin off of Beauty and the Beast, with a magical castle, but instead of a talking tea cup, you get a deer. And of course, even turning human again at the end.
This story offered NOTHING and now for the unexplained issues. It had no real backstory or structure and presented no future structure either. What did Sian really do during those 10 thousand years? Why did she get reincarnated and how and by who? The timeline just seemed "off" though I know it wasn't and I think it was due to the fact that there was so little backstory. Was Saetth the same king as in past? Why did Saetth even leave her alive at all, why the banishment in the first place if he never had any intentions of marrying her? That just didn't make any sense to me. The biggest was that Sian seemed to have little to no contact with his brother during those 10,000 years but he acted like the "loss" of closeness with his brother was also "her fault", which I found ridiculous since he did in fact have 10,000 years to rectify that. The story never really addresses why as close as they were, suddenly wasn't and why Sian didn't feel compelled to help his brother with his apparent descent into loneliness and grief. He should have stolen the key from the Wroth brothers and go back in time and save his own brother since the Wroth's apparently aren't going to use it...(hint!).
Like Sweet Ruin, it was another stepping stone to nowhere. The only thing it did offer outside of the beauty/beast scenario was the change in players in this "chess" game of fate playing when Nix traded off one player (Lothaire) to a new opponent Orion and released the fact that the Morior are there to "govern" the immortals since they can't seem to govern themselves. They believe Nix is leading everyone to an apocalypse and the Morior are there to stop her, but yet at the end even Rune and Sian are scratching their heads over her recent "move".
I felt thrilled and awed when I would read about Sebastian and Bowen and their mates though the Hie games, or the Amazon adventure with Lucia and Garreth, and the interesting characters such as the OCD quirkiness of Holly or the shyness of Emma, or the hillbilly sassiness of Ellie, and even the tomboyish Chloe, and since Uilleam's book....I've been vastly disappointed but not for the reason you think.
NOW FOR MY RANT AND WHY MY PATIENCE IS WEARING THIN:
I now have read two books in a row that offered NOTHING really to the overall story.
I am STILL waiting to know if or when the Wroth brothers will retrieve their sisters.
I am STILL waiting to know what's in the well in Rydstrom's castle which takes a son to open.
I am STILL waiting to know when Fury will be rescued.
I am STILL waiting to know what Dorada plans to do with the Book of Debts.
I am STILL waiting to know what happens when Lothaire creeps up on Kristoff and says "hello brother"...which was back in 2012!
And for the love of Gods, I am STILL waiting on MUNRO'S story!
Now, while Mrs. Cole may tell us that she is writing these books in a way that she promises will come together, SHE needs to understand OUR perspective as FANS. WHY WRITE CLIFFHANGERS THAT IS TAKING YEARS....YEARS TO ADDRESS THEM????
Now I am practically begging Lothaire to jump off a page and bite me in the neck to become immortal so I can perhaps live long enough to read the resolution of these past issues...because it's starting to feel like an eternity! So when I read TWO BOOKS in a row that does NOT progress this story in ANY WAY and doesn't resolve past events in any way....being bit by Lothaire seems to be my only course of action at this point.
I can read these stories forever....BUT....It is tiresome when unresolved issues continue to remain so year after year after year and while Mrs. Cole may have her reasons and it will play into the structure to future books, well this book and the last was in no way a contributing factor into it. It would be different if I had some epic story that I'm reading but I'm not even getting that out of it and even these past two books simply make no sense.
Such as, how can a child die, come back immortal and grow into womanhood instead of being "frozen"
Why chase Nix all around the globe...that's not an adventure...that's just idiotic. Even Rune should of known he can't catch Nix who would already know to disappear before his arrival. I mean COME ON! That wasn't even a challenge to reach a destination that already had the ability to be long gone before you even get there! And I hated Josephine's character with a passion born from the first pages and Rune wasn't much better.
While I liked both the characters in Wicked Abyss, Hell sure did have a great deal of luxuries. Why hell, Hell sounds better than Heaven! But it just made no sense to me why Mrs. Cole would have Sian spend 90% of this story pining over past offenses that I can't even understand how he even remember at all after 10,000 years, let alone what she looked like. But I really REALLY felt it was a wasted unproductive story line to have a character pine his bitterness 90% of the time to a woman he was lucky to have back, who should have been THRILLED of that fact, one who didn't remember how hateful she was, and could have spent that time wooing her and THEN perhaps used their story to then embark on an adventure towards cleaning up a past plot, such as hunting down Fury to bend Nix to their will...or SOMETHING interesting like that.
I hope Mrs. Cole takes my plea to heart and clean up a bit of the past and THEN move forward. PLEASE AND THANK YOU.
Abyssian thinks back upon only a few moments, yet you're supposed to have this belief that there was some great romance destroyed. Where the heck did that come from? All of his flashbacks almost feel...tedious. For someone holding on to a grudge for 10,000 years I'd expect a pretty intense revelation of epic proportions. Yet when he finally reveals these betrayals one can't help but think, "Really? That's it? Put your manties back on and go fix this nonsense."
Then there's the element of the trickster, as someone who enjoys wit and puzzles I was ecstatic for this part. Yet, just as I was getting keyed up it all abruptly ends. It was almost like chapters were ripped out of the middle, one second he's creating impossible tasks with witty banter, and then the next he's inviting her to dinner while dreaming of pile driving her. Why? He had a conversation with a dragon and suddenly he's over his 10,000 year old grudge?
Then there's the castle, this castle had so much writing potential. Why the deer? What was the deer? Who created the deer? Tell me more about the castles power, display more of the castles powers because apparently it's the castle that's in charge of hell.
And can we talk about the transformation thing? She gets all up in arms when he turns into his original form because she's not shallow, she loves him as he is. Just hold on a second, his natural form was the tan skin form, the red skin form was the result of a curse shaping him as it desired. Not only that, why is it up to her what form he takes? Shouldn't it be about what makes him happiest? This just added to the sense of juvenile love, heaven forbid he go to his original form because that's the good looking form, it'd just be far too shallow for her to swoon for that.
Now I understand this form was foreign to her, but that's something else that I feel is missing. If she is his hellfire, then couldn't there have been a slow transformation throughout the story? He begins to trust her, love her, and parts of him start to change back. Yet when he drifts back to his loopy past thoughts, gets his rage on, the curse erases those changes? All the while he's perplexed, she catches on that something isn't right, more FITFO has to happen, voila more story to fill this void of a book.
I had a constant sense that she just didn't care about these characters, I was left empty much like I felt after MacRieve (also, where the heck is Munroe?) I waited so long for this story, and after Sweet Ruin was so beautifully written I had very high hopes. Yet now I feel so ...meh. What happened to the character building? The love for her characters? Lothaire was a masterpiece, I keep reading the originals with the Wroth brothers, Lachlain, Rydstrom, all of them. Those stories were loved, and you could sense it when you read them. Wicked Abyss on the other hand, came across as an assignment that an 18 year old was being forced to turn in.
Overall this story felt like a rush, I finished it in record time and I even read chapters twice to make sure I didn't miss some gigantic part of the story. The only parts I found myself laughing at were King Uthyr (who wouldn't chuckle at a soaps loving dragon?) and that guy just has a few bit parts. I'll stick with the originals for now, but seriously am I the only one wondering where Munroe went? Furie? Kristoff? Cara? The younger Wroth sisters? Kaderin's two sisters she brought back from the past? Oh well, I'll just have to be patient I guess.
I wish Ms Cole would write a book comparable to the earlier volumes in this series, like the stories of Rysdstrom and Sabine, or Kaderin and Sebastian (yes, again!), or Konrad and Neomi! Sigh...One can only dream!
I have to say that I also loved "Shadow's Claim", although Bettina was too passive for me. So I didn't mean that story by "lackluster" IAD books.
PS.: Still waiting for Kristof's story, Ms Cole!