Saturday, August 31, 2013

Wicked Deeds on a Winter's Night by Kresley Cole

Wicked Deeds on a Winter's Night (Immortals After Dark, #4)Wicked Deeds on a Winter's Night by Kresley Cole

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is my second read of this book, and my first attempt to review it.  I couldn’t write a review before, because it had been years since I read it, and my feelings were so all over the place. I didn’t think I could write an honest review at the time unless I did reread it. Don’t get me wrong. I love this book, and it’s definitely a five star read, but it challenged me in ways the first three books didn’t.

Bowen is a character we got to know in A Hunger Like No Other, and we followed up on him in No Rest for the Wicked.  I was already emotionally involved with him, so it was exciting for him to get his own story. Despite that fact, Bowen could be a major jerk at times.  I mean a serious clod.  Some of the thoughtless things he says and does towards Mariketa are just loutish.  I really winced at one particular misstep.  An epic fail.  I was just thinking:  Wow, Bowen. You’re like the guy who caught the ball that cost the Cubs their first chance at the World Series in a long time!  Yeah, that bad!

Despite the fact that Bowen commits some serious relationship nonos with Mariketa, he also has some heart-meltingly sweet moments where you can’t imagine not being bowled over by a guy like him wooing you.  I think that combination of ineptness and fan yourself appealing hotness makes him an unforgettable hero.  It means so much that despite the numerous obstacles he faces in his relationship with Mariketa, that he is able to win her heart and keep it, and leave behind all his preconceived notions and reservations about being involved with her.  And I can’t blame him for some of those, just about how insensitive he was in addressing  or dealing with them.

Mariketa is quite interesting as a heroine. Although she’s younger than Emmaline, she’s a lot more modern-thinking and less sheltered.  She embodies the modern twenties-something girl in a more recognizable way than Emmaline, although they both have that dynamic.  I liked that she was more street-smart than Emmaline because Bowen really needed someone who could handle him.  Now, that’s not to say that he doesn’t wound Mariketa, or sorely challenge her.  At times, I could see why Mariketa definitely was not feeling the idea of a relationship with him. She had very good reasons, especially with her abandonment/not measuring up issues and his disdain for witches.  On the second read, I was cheering her on a lot more.  When she called him on his selfishness, she hit the nail right on the head.  I could see why she wasn’t about to let her sexual attraction and maybe a little more feelings for Bowen deter her from the path she’d chosen, especially when Bowen  felt like she had to give up something that was so vital to her identity.

It struck me that this book has a lot more relationship drama than the previous books.  I think that although this is paranormal, some of the relationship dynamics would feel very familiar to a modern person with an active dating life; and they are trying to decide if someone is the ‘one’ they want to spend their life with.  Many readers seem to dislike the ‘love at first/fated to be mated’ concept, but Cole doesn’t use it as a crutch to get out of building a genuine bond between her characters, or as a foregone conclusion.   They still have to work out and through the particulars of cementing and committing to that relationship despite their instincts that they belong together.  Particularly in this book, I seriously wondered how Mariketa and Bowen would work things out. Their problems are pretty enormous despite their volcanic sexual chemistry and growing love for each other.  Since this is a romance, logically I know we’ll get a happy ending, but there is a good haul to get to that destination.

As always, Cole blisters the pages with the powerful sexual chemistry between her characters.  She tantalizes and teases the reader so that they are just as highly expectant for the promised consummation as her main characters. And she doesn’t disappoint when it happens.  I love the fact that Mariketa doesn’t make it easy for Bowen sexually.  She needs his respect as much as the sexual release he clearly can give her. She also needs trust, and that is something a reader can definitely identify with.  It just feels right. Even though the reader can love all the hot stuff, you can also get a connection between the main characters that makes sense intellectually and ethically (if that makes sense).  You don’t want a character who doesn’t respect herself enough to expect respect from a hero.

Wow, this review turned out pretty long. I guess I did have a lot to say.  Everything I love about Cole’s writing is here.  She challenges me in ways, but that’s good.  While this book has a bit more angst than the first three books, it also has some good humorous bits.  The suspense storyline is intense, and it ties together very well.  I liked that I didn’t remember exactly how everything goes together, which is a mark of a good book, that you can see more in the story with each read.  Wicked Deeds on a Winter’s Night is a worthwhile read for fans of well-written, sexy paranormal romance.  

Final Shoutout: Bowen, I’m glad you finally got your act together.  High five!  Mariketa, you go girl!

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