Dark Desires After Dusk – Kresley Cole

Dark Desires After Dusk
Kresley Cole
Pocket Books, 2008
368 pages

I get a wide variety of books when I review, which includes an interesting array of fiction from Pocket Books/Simon and Schuster. Amid the various nonfiction texts and tomes, it’s nice to take a break and just have some fun with a bit of fiction. My latest bit of enjoyment, Dark Desires After Dusk, was a quick read, and a bit of a surprise.

Imagine you’re a straight-laced kind of woman–with a case of OCD, no less. Everything in your life needs to go in a particular way. Now add in an entire alternate reality that overlaps with this one, where demon mercenaries interact with vampires, (admittedly unorthodox) Valkyries, and fey beings. Get yourself dragged into the show and dropped right into the spotlight. Oh, and on top of it, your main contact and support in this sudden invasion of your privacy is not only your complete opposite as well as a demon (complete with horns), but has an enormous….ah….crush on you.

You see where this is going, right?

Ever since Laurell K. Hamilton hit it big with her erotica-themed modern fantasy/horror novels, the niche genre has exploded. Some have been more on the novel-with-a-little-sex end; this one is quite firmly planted in the romance novel side of things. I’ll admit to not being a huge romance novel fan; I find them to be rather formulaic, and this one travelled the usual “reluctant female eventually falls for bad boy” route. However, the worldbuilding was good enough to keep me interested. If this hadn’t been specifically intended to be a romance novel, I would suggest that the author cut out the romance and focus more on the really interesting storyline developing aside from the main characters’ budding relationship.

Romance aside, I found this to be a fun read. Cole is a talented writer, and I found her style to be wonderfully inviting. Her fleshing out of the characters was a nice touch–I found myself alternately hating and cheering for Cadeon, the aforementioned demon-bodyguard-pain in the ass, in particular. The sex scenes aren’t overly gratuitous, so they don’t distract too much from the story. And as the book ended with plenty of opportunity for a continuation of the series (of which this is the fifth book), I’m actually curious to see where this goes next.

If you aren’t normally a romance novel reader, you might find the romantic bits to be a bit distracting. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a romance novel that can actually stand on something besides the naughty bits, this is a nice bit of brain candy, and I know I enjoyed the read.

Four pawprints out of five.

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