Desert Isle Keeper
Kresley Cole is one of the few writers I know the release dates for and usually pre-order her books so I can start reading that very day. Needless to say, I’m slightly addicted to the IAD series and have been waiting for Lothaire for a long, long time and I wasn’t disappointed.
Lothaire, The Enemy of Old, has worked toward his Endgame for his entire existence: Conquer both the Horde and Dacian Vampires and unite them under his rule and find his Bride, a female even his long dead mother would bow to. His existence, one spanning thousands of years, has consisted of vicious revenge and the building of blood debts to help him in his quest. For the last five years, he’s been even more brutal to find a way to obtain his mortal bride, or really the female who has taken possession of the mortal’s body. Now he must find a way to banish the mortal so his Bride can take complete possession and become immortal. However, the mortal Elizabeth Pierce, keeps trying to end herself to keep the evil goddess from taking her body and wreaking even more havoc with the red-eyed vampire.
Growing up in a mining community in the Appalachians, Elizabeth, or Ellie to her kin, is the first in her close knit extended family to try to reach beyond what they’ve always known. However, on her way to her dreams, life is interrupted by the vicious possession of her body by an evil bent on death. For Elizabeth, her own death is better that allowing the monster within her to rise up again and she’s eager for her death row sentence to put an end to it all. Yet, the man from her nightmares has other plans for her though and “rescues” her seconds from execution and holds her until he can banish her soul from her body.
Faced with a world of unbelievable creatures and true myths, Elizabeth is overwhelmed and terrified of Lothaire. Imprisoned in a penthouse apartment with a madman who reminds her constantly of his hatred of mortals and her impending doom, she runs the gamut between despair and hope, all the while learning what she can and exploring her options. Lothaire, on the other hand, is confused by the peace he feels when he’s around Ellie and it isn’t long before he doubts that the goddess who’s possessing her is his actual Bride. However, he can’t imagine that fate would slight him by giving him a vulgar mortal instead of a ruthless goddess. Regardless of who his Bride is, he still has Endgame on which to focus.
Lothaire is the anti-hero and if you want him to be redeemed in his story then you will be disappointed as Cole stays consistent with his characterization. He’s brutal when it comes to getting what he wants and he’s still underhanded and backstabbing. He is extreme to the point of being manic in his treatment of Ellie; threatening her life one moment and then showing her gentleness the next, which is fitting since he is on the brink of madness. He’s still worldly, arrogant, and absolutely ruthless and possesses the same dry wit and humor in this installment as he’s had in others.
Ellie’s character is the complete opposite of Lothaire’s and as such is the perfect complement. Much to Lothaire’s disappointment, she’s a hillbilly. Yet at the same time, she’s smart, somewhat innocent, and absolutely determined to survive, while keeping her family safe as well. There are times when she absolutely astounds Lothaire with her cleverness and ingenuity and those are some of my favorite movements. Because of her sheltered, poor background, everything is an eye-opening and new experience, which reawakens feelings in Lothaire he thought were long dead. She’s tough, yet vulnerable, and more real than some of Cole’s other heroines, therefore making her one of my very favorites.
Lothaire is one of the longer of Cole’s IAD series if not the longest and as a result there is more detail and more character connections explained. Lothaire’s motivations are all explained, making him somewhat more sympathetic in his ruthlessness.
If there were any areas where Lothaire’s story falls short, for me it would be that there wasn’t quite enough groveling. He’s cruel and threatening to Ellie and, though she gets fed up with it and gives him what for, I would have liked to see him treat her much more like his Bride. Plus, I became really tired of the evil goddess pop ups and wanted her to go away long before she actually did. Also, Lothaire is in no way a stand alone story. Those who read it as such will be disappointed, confused, and will miss many of the motivating factors that drive the characters.
Kresley Cole’s Lore world is one of the best examples of creative and detailed world building in paranormal romance today. Every time I enter this world, I’m left wanting more and looking forward to the next installment. Even after twelve in this series, I’m still committed and hope to see much more of Lothaire and Ellie in upcoming installments and, hopefully, in the new series The Realm of Blood and Mist. However, for me Lothaire is a standout in the series with unforgettable characters and complicated, moving storytelling.