What I'm Reading

Stardust by Joseph Kanon
Coming out in the fall, the next novel by the author of The Good German. It's so good I kinda want to lick the pages.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Immortals After Dark

The kindest thing a person can do for me is this:
Write a book. Write it well. Give it a setting that's so fully formed and well-described that I can picture it. People it with characters who are witty and interesting, who make me feel their pain and laugh at their jokes. Make me want more. Enthrall me so that when I get to the end I'm sad that it's over. Then turn that book into a series, so I can keep coming back and visiting. So I can't wait for the next book.

That's the kindest thing a person can do for me. And it's why the Immortals After Dark series has made Kresley Cole my new best friend, even though we've never met.

It all started out with Playing Easy to Get. I picked the book up because it had a novella by Sherrilyn Kenyon, whose Bureau of American Defense series I had recently discovered. (Bad-ass crimefighters kick terrorist ass as part of a secret governemnt agency. In between they have really hot sex. A concept made in Bookgirl heaven.) And there, at the end of that collection, was "The Warlord Wants Forever," a novella about Myst, a Valkyrie (an immortal born of a female warrior who dies in battle), who falls in love with Nikolai, a vampire. She had me at hello. The stories are set in the Lore, a world where "creatures that are not human [are] united... coexisting with, yet secret from, man." Brilliant, laugh-out-loud funny dialogue; great battle scenes; even better bedroom scenes. Imagine my joy when I found out there was already a full-length novel in the works.

Cue A Hunger Like No Other. Our heroine Emmaline, half-Valkyrie, half vampire, falls in love with Lachlan, a Lykae (a type of werewolf), even though vampires and werewolves are sworn enemies. As one character puts it, "Vampires, Valyrie, and Lykae, oh my--the fucking monster mash." (Two years later, and that line still makes me bitterly jealous I didn't write it.

Next came No Rest for the Wicked. This time our heroine is another Valkyrie, Kaderin, who's part of what can best be described as The Amazing Race for immortals, where everyone from witches to sirens to "killer gnomes" battles it out across the world on a giant scavenger hunt. Along the way, of course, she falls in love with Nikolai's brother Sebastian, also a vampire. (Which means we get to visit our friends Myst and Nikolai from the first book. Hurrah!)

Then Wicked Deeds on a Winter's Night. Bowen (part of the same clan of werewolves as Lachlan) falls in love with Mari, a witch "from the shady New Orleans coven, the slacker Animal House of witches." The story is so good that I don't even mind not having a Valkyrie as a heroine for the first time.

Next came Dark Needs at Night's Edge. Conrad, the third vampire brother, falls in love with Neomi, a ghost. I find myself hoping maybe the remaining fourth brother will fall in love with me. I realize I've officially lost my mind. And maybe I'm getting a little too into these books...

And now, just out, Dark Desires After Dusk. I haven't read it yet, because I decided I wanted to savor instead of gulp, so I'm rereading the series leading up to the new one. The only series I've ever done that with is Harry Potter. Yes, they're that good.

I demand a lot of my books. I like them smart and funny, entertaining and well-written. I want to curl up and lose myself in the story, and forget everything going on around me. When I find one book that hits the mark, it's exciting. When I find a whole series, well that's about as good as it gets.