First, allow me to scoop up the remnants of my brain from off the floor. I have been waiting for this book for years, ever since Thronos and Lanthe were introduced in Kiss of a Demon King. That was seven books ago.
The two are natural enemies – a winged Vrekener and a Sorceri – but were childhood friends, and eventually more than just friendly attachments began to emerge. The Vrekeners killed Lanthe’s parents and, feeling that Thronos betrayed her, Lanthe commands him to fall from a great height without using his wings, using her power of persuasion. Since then, they’ve been enemies every since, despite Lanthe being Thronos’ mate.
DO YOU UNDERSTAND NOW WHY I’VE WAITED SO LONG?!
How could you resist a plot like that?
As I was going through the passages I’ve highlighted on my Kindle, trying to figure out where to begin, I noticed the first quote I picked out was:
Or she could command him to repeatedly stab himself in the dick.
I loved Lanthe. She embraced her experiences, whether they were good or bad. Using her powers to heal and save her sister, Sabine, after she suffers repeated attacks by the Vrekeners. Bedding fellow sorcerers only to have them steal her powers. Being chased by her mate, knowing that he wants nothing but vengeance. Lanthe is strong and surprisingly takes everything in stride. Her race prides themselves on their emotions and she doesn’t shy away from them.
As Sorceri have no mates, Lanthe is able to sleep with others, much to the detriment of Thronos, who can (essentially) only sleep with his mate. Like demons, they uh…can only reach the finish line with their mates, making Thronos still a virgin. Needless to say, you can see his bitterness and judgment from a mile away and it’s a frequent argument between the two of them. Lanthe does her best to get him to accept her, to look past his hurt and jealousy. There’s frequent mantra in the book that I loved and I’m paraphrasing here: “It’s not the first person you’re with that matters, but the last.”
With Thronos, he’s very much the tortured hero and I was surprised at the strikingly religious undertones of the Vrekener race. They’re winged like angels, keepers of justice, so to speak. They dress plainly, have sex through a sheet, and must keep quiet during their sexytimes. They shun things like drinking and gambling. There’s a mystery surrounding the Vrekener origins and some say they’re an offshoot of demons, given that they have horns and can only come inside their mate. Naturally, Thronos takes great offense to being compared to demons.
At times, the religious allusions were heavy-handed, but it painted a very clear picture of the Vrekener way of life, given that information regarding them has been kept quite mum throughout the previous books. It explained a lot without needlessly writing pages and pages of exposition.
The two couldn’t be more opposite. But they were so freaking adorable together!
For instance, Lanthe would frequently make pop culture references, only to have Thronos be completely perplexed:
“I feel like Private Benjamin!”
“Don’t know what that is, Lanthe.”
I may or may not have welled up with tears at a few parts. Once where Thronos is cursed to relive Lanthe dying over and over, fighting to reach her before she’s crushed to death. He fucking claws off his own leg to get to her! Now if sudden amputation doesn’t say true love, I don’t know what does.
And then there’s the end, because it would be an Immortals After Dark book unless Kresley Cole tried to screw over the couple one last heartbreaking time.
Just in case, SPOILER (highlight text to read):
Morgana, Queen of the Sorceri, curses Thronos. While Lanthe and Thronos have been adventuring, portal to portal, trying to make it home after being captured by The Order, some serious shit has gone down. Thronos’ brother, Aristo, has attacked Morgana’s protégé (a la Shadows Claim) and she thinks Thronos has now brainwashed Lanthe. She steals Lanthe’s power seeking revenge and persuades Thronos to forget his memories of Lanthe. Though he’ll keep the strange sensation that he’s lost something, he’ll never be able to remember what. And then she fucking destroys the Vrekener’s kingdom. What a bitch.
The book wasn’t without a few hiccups.
Every time the two would get close, something or someone would show up. So many cockblocks! Like a ridiculous amount. It was a coterie of cockblocks. Halfway through the book, I was just as frustrated as Thronos.
Lanthe spent her life running from Thronos for more than just fear of revenge. Throughout her life, she and her sister suffered several attacks from the Vrekeners, something Thronos doesn’t believe at first. Vrekeners take the whole mating thing super seriously – they do have sex sheets, after all – and trying to kill one is a pretty big violation. SPOILER (highlight text to read): It turns out that the leader of these hunting parties was none other than Thronos’ brother, Aristo.
I was expecting there to be a big confrontation once Thronos got back to his kingdom, but the problem resolved itself in a bit of a fizzle, though I should have seen it coming given the IAD timeline and that Dark Skye takes place after Shadow’s Claim. Earlier in the book, it definitely seemed like this issue would play a main part of the conflict. Don’t be fooled.
Despite these things, the book was worth the wait. Truly. The themes of religion fit nicely into the character differences and I was really pulling for Lanthe and Thronos to make important compromises for the benefit of their relationship. I also thought it was a nice touch that Lanthe’s abilities grew more powerful and she became more confident in using them when she was around Thronos, a sign that being with the right person can make you stronger.
Now I’m just anxious to find out who will star in the next book. My money is on Munro, given that his mate was introduced at the end of MacRieve.