Kiss of a Demon King
Kiss of a Demon King is the sixth installment in Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark series. I have found them all to be compulsively readable; the world she has created of vampires, Valkyrie, werewolves, demons, humans, assorted Fey and now, Sorceri, is well defined without being overwhelming. Prior to this installment, I’ve given an A to one of the books, a solid B to B+ for three others, and a C+ for the weakest, so I overall am enjoying the series.
Rydstrom Woede, one of the oldest immortals in the Lore, is on a mission to find a special sword and regain the Kingdom he lost to an evil Sorceri called Omort the Deathless, whom he has just found out could indeed be killed. Sabine, the Sorceress of Illusions, is Omort’s half sister who, apart from being able to create illusions, is able to rise from the dead and has done so on numerous occasions with the help of her sister Melanthe. Sabine is extremely powerful, reputed to be extremely wicked – and unbeknownst to him, she’s Rydstrom’s mate.
Omort orders Sabine to waylay Rydstrom en route and secure him in a dungeon where she is then to convince him that she is his mate and, basically, get a babe on the man. This child will be the key to unlocking all the wonders of a magical Well that is in the heart of Rydstrom’s old castle.
Once all of the above has been set up for the reader, Kiss of a Demon King charts a lot of sexual territory. Sabine, showing her illusory prowess, manages to easily capture Rydstrom but the seduction proves to be much more difficult than she expected. Rydtsrom’s body recognizes Sabine as his mate, but his heart and mind refuse to believe an enemy – and an evil one at that – could be his for eternity. So, most of their getting-to-know-each-other stage takes place with him tied up and Sabine sexually torturing him. Then, in their getting-to-know-each-other-better stage, it’s Sabine’s turn to be his captive and Rydstrom’s turn to tease her sexually.
You can’t read this series if you like subtlety in your sex scenes. They are detailed and they are plentiful. I will say that at times they are too plentiful and true romance between the characters is sacrificed. I believe this is what happened here, because though Cole set all the groundwork for a fantabulous romance – characters of equal strength and intelligence with wildly diverging views on life and how it should be lived – she only dipped her toe into scenes where Rydstrom and Sabine delve into each other’s psyches but did some deep sea diving into their sexual games.
I would have liked a reversal of this, or at least an equal sharing of importance within the pages of the novel. In particular, Rydstrom, who is pure of heart, good, and honest to a fault (yes, Demons aren’t evil in the Lore – a sort of mind-bending moment for me) makes several references to changing Sabine from evil to good and Sabine tells him not only that she cannot and will not be changed, but that conceptions of right and wrong are shifting things (I’m paraphrasing). The conversation doesn’t go past this stage, though I would have liked it to. Looking to the future and their immortal lives together, discussions of this nature are sure to be relevant. Instead, Cole makes it clear that Sabine is not really evil, though she does have her do some rough and tumble things in the name of self preservation.
Also, the Sorceri don’t believe in mates and fates as Demons do, but this as well is not discussed beyond a one-liner Sabine gives to Rydstrom in the early stages. Basically, Cole dropped a lot of teasers for me about issues this couple would have to sort out, but in the end most of them were passed over in favor of the development of their sexual relationship.
What saved Kiss of a Demon King for me, was that though most of the issues were passed over, Cole did focus on some and she imbued those scenes with enough poignancy and yes, romance, to leave me gratified. Though this is not my favorite of the series, I believe it showcases the strongest and most equal of couplings so far. Rydstrom and Sabine are my favorite characters but I felt as if important aspects of their relationship got short-changed so I enjoyed a better reading experience from less alluring couples with more fleshed-out storylines. I would still recommend this one and give it another solid B.