Monday, June 09, 2014

Lothaire (Immortals After Dark #12) by Kresley Cole

Note: The book reviewed contains themes only appropriate for those over the age of 18.

SUMMARY (from Goodreads): All Fear The Enemy Of Old
Driven by his insatiable need for revenge, Lothaire, the Lore’s most ruthless vampire, plots to seize the Horde’s crown. But bloodlust and torture have left him on the brink of madness – until he finds Elizabeth Peirce, the key to his victory. He captures the unique young mortal, intending to offer up her very soul in exchange for power, yet Elizabeth soothes his tormented mind and awakens within him emotions Lothaire believed he could no longer experience.

A Deadly Force Dwells Within Her
Growing up in desperate poverty, Ellie Peirce yearned for a better life, never imagining she’d be convicted of murder – or that an evil immortal would abduct her from death row. But Lothaire is no savior, as he himself plans to sacrifice Ellie in one month’s time. And yet the vampire seems to ache for her touch, showering her with wealth and sexual pleasure. In a bid to save her soul, Ellie surrenders her body to the wicked vampire, while vowing to protect her heart.

Centuries Of Cold Indifference Shattered
Elizabeth tempts Lothaire beyond reason, as only his fated mate could. As the month draws to a close, he must choose between a millennia-old blood vendetta and his irresistible prisoner. Will Lothaire succumb to the miseries of his past . . . or risk everything for a future with her

MY OPINION:

Lothaire, whom we have met in the IAD series time and again since the very beginning, is certainly an intriguing character, and I had been looking forward to his story very much.

What I liked:

The Enemy of Old: although he is a protagonist about whom I had mixed feelings; he is after all for the major part of the series what we would consider a villain, or at least an anti-hero, a character whose actions and way of thinking I often disapproved of. Yet, Kresley Cole presents him in a way I could also understand him and even sympathise with him. There were times I wanted to give him a hug and times when I had an urge to smack his thick skull with a mallet, sometimes both at the same time. However, that kind of complexity is what I appreciate in a fictional character.

Lothaire’s backstory: tragic and violent and, hence, making him full of vengeful plans which blindside him to the point he almost endangers his future. His Endgame revealed was simple, yet required a lot of dedication which is a good example to follow – of course when applied to non-evil goals.

Ellie: she is smart, fierce, strong, persistent, and she holds her own against Lothaire. She doesn’t give up, even though she comes close a few times, and she gets what she wants.

Nix: she played a big role in Lothaire, and we get more hints of her past and possibly future. I loved the history between her and Lothaire and their black king/white queen dynamics with a twist I didn’t see coming. And I loved how Nix once more confirmed her nickname – Nix the Ever Knowing.

Some revelations about Lothaire’s relations to some other characters, such as Kristoff and Emma. Or maybe I shouldn’t say revelations, since we had known some of it before, but in Lothaire the connections become clearer.

Other characters and things mentioned in the previous books: Thaddeus, Hag, Ellie’s family, Regin, La Dorada, Webb, etc. all added their own flavour to the book.

The contrast between attraction vs. love: while it is present throughout the IAD series, it is even more striking in Lothaire. On principle, I don’t like fate taking the choice away from people. 

However, I like Kresley Cole’s concept of fated mates: at first, it’s a physical attraction/bond, which is not enough for a relationship to work, so the pair needs to work through their issues, falling in love in the process, and that is what finally brings them together. With Ellie being possessed by Soraya, this was particularly obvious in Lothaire.

Things I found frustrating, though they made the book what it is, that is: amazingly complex:

Do I need to say they all have to do with Lothaire?

Firstly, it takes him ages to figure it out that his Bride is Ellie, not Soraya. Understandably so, as he is blindsided with his preconceptions what his Bride should be like and his hatred and despise towards humans.

Lothaire is quite a bit sexist in his belief about women having to adapt to men, thus he doesn’t listen to Ellie’s opinion.

Also, he is not familiar with the concepts of discussion and compromise. As I said above, sometimes he deserves a smack round his head for just doing things Ellie doesn’t want, instead of waiting and talking to her first.

Mostly, he lacks communication and relationship skills – he acts first and then deals with consequences and tries to make things right. As per his own admission, it is the easier way of doing things for him, because he doesn’t know anything about relationships and women, since he has never had to deal with them before.

However, he is aware of his shortcomings and once he realises his mistakes, he tries to improve and change his ways, which somewhat redeems him.

I loved to hate: Soraya. I hated her; nevertheless, she was actually a formidable villain, as purely evil as she was.

Overall, despite Lothaire’s chauvinism and arrogance at times sorely trying my patience, Cole’s story-telling in Lothaire is yet again brilliant, especially with (sort of) resolution of the mess with La Dorada and Nix’s flawless millennia-long play to nudge Lothaire in the right direction.

Therefore, in spite of being frustrated by some things, I enjoyed this book. We are talking about Lothaire here, so this uneasy, gory, and yet beautiful story was fitting for him and it has more than met my expectations.
4,5 stars

RECOMMENDATION: As the entire IAD series, Lothaire is an amazing instalment and I can’t wait for more. If you’ve read the series to this point, you probably feel the same and I don’t need to tell you to stick with it.

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