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A Hunger Like No Other by Kresley Cole

October 6, 2010
Cover of "A Hunger Like No Other (The Imm...

Cover via Amazon

Here’s the obligatory description (as if you haven’t already read it):

A mythic warrior who’ll stop at nothing to possess her . . .

After enduring years of torture from the vampire horde, Lachlain MacRieve, leader of the Lykae Clan, is enraged to find the predestined mate he’s waited millennia for is a vampire. Or partly one. This Emmaline is a small, ethereal half Valkyrie/half vampire, who somehow begins to soothe the fury burning within him.

A vampire captured by her wildest fantasy . . .

Sheltered Emmaline Troy finally sets out to uncover the truth about her deceased parents — until a powerful Lykae claims her as his mate and forces her back to his ancestral Scottish castle. There, her fear of the Lykae — and their notorious dark desires — ebbs as he begins a slow, wicked seduction to sate her own dark cravings.

An all-consuming desire . . .

Yet when an ancient evil from her past resurfaces, will their desire deepen into a love that can bring a proud warrior to his knees and turn a gentle beauty into the fighter she was born to be?

How do I love A Hunger Like No Other? Let me count the ways. One, Lachlain. Two, Emma. Three, Nix. Four, Bowen. Five, Lachlain. Six, Nix. Sorry, couldn’t resist. This was my second time reading the first book in the Immortals After Dark Series. I read it for the first time a few months ago, which makes me a recent convert. I’d heard about Kresley Cole and seen her name mentioned many times as a suggested Paranormal Romance author I should try. I think I’ve mentioned that the cover really turned me off. And now I come to think of it, it’s not very accurate. Yes, Emma has long, fair hair, but it’s curly. And the cover kind of makes it look like Lachlain is the vampire. I mean, he’s all pale and looks like he’s very interested in biting Emma’s neck. Also, Emma reflects on Lachlain’s tan skin more than once. And there’s the all-black ensemble. But, points for Emma’s nails being polished! And the gold necklace.

Why did I reread this book? Well, it all started with Pleasure of a Dark Prince. If you’ll recall, a great deal of Dark Prince covered the same time period as A Hunger Like No Other. Of course, in Dark Prince, the action is from Lucia and Garreth’s perspectives. It was great fun to go back and reread Hunger knowing the other parts of the story. While Hunger is Emma and Lachlain’s story, it also introduces Lucia and Garreth’s. We know from the first book of the series that the latter pair will end up together. Lucia is, after all, Garreth’s mate. And Lykae do not let their mates go.

All right, back to the beginning. A Hunger Like No Other begins with Lachlain sensing his mate. He is, unfortunately, in an underground prison. Vampires have been torturing him for 150 years. In order to escape, Lachlain cuts off his leg—no, don’t worry—it’ll grow back. Let me also explain a little about the Lykae/mate thing. Lykae are part of a group of mythical beings called the Lore. The Lore is made up of immortal creatures like werewolves, vampires, witches and Valkyrie, all of great age. Lachlain is “roughly twelve hundred years old.” Though Lykae live a long time, they also have only one true mate. Unfortunately, their mates aren’t always easy to find. Those same twelve hundred years that Lachlain lived, he has dreamed and waited and anticipated and prepared for the “one woman who would be his.” All this should help to explain why Lykae are so possessive of their mates.

Did I mention that Lachlain has been tortured by vampires for 150 years? I did? Oh, well, did I mention that his mate, Emma, the woman that he has waited over a millennium to find, is also a vampire? No? Well, you should at least be able to imagine the drama that ensues when Lachlain finds out that his fated beloved is one of the bloodsucking species. It’s pretty grisly. Especially for the girl, who is known among her Valkyrie aunts as Emma the Timid. When the two meet, Lachlain is furious that fate has dealt him such a blow. Emma is terrified by the bedraggled, but beautiful, man that essentially kidnaps her off the street and demands that she take him back to her hotel room.

What follows is several pages of angsty back and forth between Lachlain and Emma. Lachlain is, from the first, overbearing. This makes sense because he’s the King of the Lykae—basically the alpha of alphas. But also because he doesn’t know that Emma is only half-vampire or that she has never taken blood directly from a human before. Lachlain comes pretty close to being unforgivable. The only thing that saves him is that his anger at having a vampire for a mate is constantly at war with his Lykae need to care for and protect her. And when the latter wins out, he more than makes up for it. I love the little quirks that Cole adds into her characters, like the Valkyries’ acquisitiveness, and their love of nail polish. Lachlain’s genuine desire to make Emma happy is deeply ingrained. He’s planned on the ways he would make his mate feel cherished and happy for over a thousand years. So when Lachlain is finally able to move past Emma’s vampire nature, the ways that he tries to make things up to her are alternately endearing and laughable.

This book is a shining example of a successful entry into the series. It stands alone as its own story, but it also serves as the starting off point for the books that follow. There’s no awkward exposition, but we learn a lot about the world of the Lore. What impressed me when I read Pleasure of a Dark Prince was how much Cole had already planned out even before the second novel was published. It reminded me of reading the third Harry Potter book and realizing how many layers J.K. Rowling put into Sorcerer’s Stone without her readers realizing it yet.

I think I could write about this book forever, I love it that much. However, this post is already impossibly long and I need to wrap it up. I hate to end on a negative note, but it was inevitable I’d start nitpicking on a reread. You already know I love this book, so I think I’m safe enough to point out a few things I noticed. One thing that niggled at me was Emma’s repeated reflections on Lachlain’s tanned skin. I thought this was bizarre considering the fact that he has spent 150 years in an underground dungeon. Maybe immortals don’t ever lose their tans, but it still niggled at me. Another thing was that, in this reading I wasn’t as easily able to forgive Lachlain’s behavior towards Emma during the first half of the book. He’s pretty awful and if he wasn’t a fictional character I don’t know if I’d ever be able to forgive him. The last thing I want to mention is that, in the Lore, vampires’ eyes turn red when they have killed a person by drinking all their blood. Emma does not have red eyes and yet Lachlain never stops to reflect on this when he is accusing Emma of being a filthy bloodsucker. I suppose that this could be chalked up to Lachlain’s irrationality brought on by the torture he’s experienced.

There’s so much more I wanted to say, so maybe I’ll have to do a follow-up post on A Hunger Like No Other. For now, I need to stop. My eyes are crossing even though my brain is still churning with thoughts. See you soon!

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