Wow, I love Kresley Cole's novels and I was more enthusiastic about this story than any other. (I literally took off work to go track down the book and read it yesterday.) Usually I have no trouble writing a review of even my least favorite of her stories because she's so good. But this was a strange book. I wasn't sure I would like it for half of its over 500 pages!
It is dark. Very dark. In fact if you are one of those people who thinks that Peter Jackson's The Lord of The Rings trilogy was gratuitously violent (I don't), then this book might bother you. Declan is a very twisted, damaged, unsympathetic character for many pages. He is the anti-romantic hero. He's a junky, he tortures people, he's been brainwashed, and he has tunnel vision when it comes to his sense of right and wrong that he has no interest in contemplating. Oddly enough, I didn't hate him and I still maintain that the preceding Demon From the Dark is the more psychologically disturbing tale. However, I found Declan mildly distasteful and wondered if I would ever believe in an epic love between him and Regin.
Regin has been my favorite character since I began reading this series over 3 years ago. Though she had some really funny lines, she was not her usual bright self. Her glow was noticeably dimmed for a good chunk of the story. Since she was tortured, locked up, or suffering life-threatening injuries most of the time, it made sense that she wouldn't be cracking jokes every couple of lines of dialogue. We get the serious side of Regin--the "tears of the clown" if you forgive my unfortunate reference. I missed her crazy side. I really did. I wished we could have seen more of it at the end of the book after everything has worked out for her and Declan. But I did appreciate the somber side of Regin and that she wasn't a one-dimensional joke machine.
About half-way or so through, in one small scene involving a bathtub, I finally understood how Cole was going to bring these two together. It was some masterful writing because after that I quickly started to really like Declan as he was and not as some wrong version of the reincarnated Aidan. But in the end I still felt starved for more interaction between him and Regin because I realized that, unlike previous books, these two spent less time alone together than any of Cole's other pairings. Somehow it makes their story both more epic and intimate, instead of less so. I don't know how Cole does it.
After finishing this book I was left a little gobsmacked. I didn't know how to react. It didn't leave me with the same fuzzy romantic feelings I had for No Rest For the Wicked, but it still had an amazing impact. I'm still not sure I can define it. I do think it was the most well-written, evenly paced, and thorough of her books so far. Cole has written that Regin was one of the first characters that she came up with for her IAD series and I can see this evident in the ease with which this book was written and the way it flows. It's over 500 pages and seems to go by in a blink. There wasn't one section that I thought deserved more time or needed to be fleshed out more. I wanted more of Regin and Declan living happily ever like you sometimes want to read fanfiction of your favorite tv series after the curtain has gone down on the final episode of the final season. But Dreams of a Dark Warrior was the best self-contained story I have ever read in a series that still managed to create interest for future stories.
As always, side characters were well-developed while not taking up too much of the limelight. Lothaire seduced me with his quirky humor, ambivalent honor, and slightly homoerotic relationship with Declan. I'm curious to see if Regin and Declan have cameos in his story.
Overall, DOADW is a wonderful addition to the IAD series and perhaps the best written romance novel I've ever read.
Dreams of a Dark Warrior is the 9th book in Cole's Immortals After Dark series (11th, if counting the anthology stories, which one SHOULD count). This story concentrates on the Valkyrie Regin the Radiant and her reincarnated berserker mate Aidan/Declan.
Cole's writing is seamless (sorry for the pun in bad taste!). While the writing was riveting and highly descriptive (the lab scenes were honestly tough to get through), the chemistry between the main characters didn't seem nearly as strong to me as others in Cole's stories. For as much history as Declan and Regin had together, their fated love just didn't seem to leap off the pages. To me, they just weren't as intense and raw as Carrow and Malcolm, Rydstrom and Sabine, etc. As was alluded to in the previous installment (Demon from the Dark), Declan is the quintessential anti-hero, but is written here with much more pathos. And in my opinion, Regin is portrayed as a more believable immortal female and not as some drunken sorority sister. As I got closer and closer to finishing the book, I kept wondering HOW Cole would bring these two characters together, how could she possibly come up with a paranormal happily ever after in less than 50 pages... The ending itself was okay - not knock-your-socks-off great, but not horribly bad either.
This story parallels the same timeline as Demon from the Dark, and I love how Cole easily flips her magical literary mirror (lame, I know, sorry!) and depicts several scenes from the previous book through the eyes of others (events that occurred at the Order's facility, the exams, La Dorada, the battle to escape the island, etc. I absolutely loved how much depth Cole gave secondary characters like Natalya, Thad (such a cutie!), and Lothaire.
After so many installments, this series certainly has its share of ups and downs, but it is obvious that Cole (unlike other authors, you know who they are!) is definitely trying to keep her stories and characters fresh, her readers on their toes and the edges of their seats. I look forward to reading more about these characters from the Lore, catching up with old friends and seeing how younger beings like Thad and Ruby are faring, and what the heck is going to happen in the imminent Assession!
Kresley Cole's Immortal After Dark series is one of my favorite in the paranormal genre. For many books in the series, we have waited for Regin's story and her happy ever after. Finally, Dreams of a Dark Warrior is here and it does not disappoint fans.
Regin is one of the Radiant Ones. She's wild, she glows, she has attitude, and she has only had a relationship with Aiden over the centuries that we know of. Aiden is cursed. He is reincarnated over and over and each time, he finds Regin again, only to die one more.
Declan Chase is out for revenge, and he kidnaps Regin and some of the other immortals to torture and to experiement on, hoping to erase their kind from existance forever. But Regin wants him to relive his past lives, and hopefully she can convince him that they are not as bad as he seems to believe. But when Declan remembers, Regin will have to keep on her toes if she hopes for a HEA with Aiden.
Dreams of a Dark Warrior is a page-turning breathless adventure brimming with romance, shocking scenarios and paranormal creatures. Cole is a master with words, creating scenes and dialogue with expertise. If you haven't read this series, you need to. It is one of the best paranormal romance series on the market. Cole's characters are complex, compelling, realistic, and her men are hot hot hot! Don't miss this new addition to the series! I can't wait for the next one!!
Dreams of a Dark Warrior is the ninth book in Kresley Cole's Immortals After Dark series. Regin the Radiant and Aiden the Fierce have an ill-fated love. Throughout the centuries, Aiden a mortal Berserker was killed before he could earn his immortality. Since then, he keeps being reincarnated but as soon as he kisses Regin he remembers Aiden's memories. Shortly after that, he dies. Regin is taken captive by Declan Chase the Magister of the Order. Regin realizes right away that Declan is Aiden reincarnated once again. Somehow Regin has to escape without alerting Declan to his past or she knows he will be killed again yet at the same time, she must keep her own self alive too.
I didn't enjoy Dreams of a Dark Warrior as I have some of the other books in this series. Mainly it was because of Declan. I had a really hard time with his character. He was very badly damaged as a teenager and his hatred of immortals has shaped his whole life. I found his character not very appealing. I thought his behavior was hard to redeem.
Now having said how much I didn't like Declan, I did really like Regin. She had a lot of funny one liners that were quite humorous. If you have liked Cole's humor in the past you will continue to enjoy it in this book, as well. Regin and Declan have such a struggle in this book. The reader really wonders how all the problems are going to be solved between Declan and Regin. I think the author did a pretty good job of showing a change in Declan. He just wasn't a very appealing hero for me, though.