Dreams of a Dark Warrior (Immortals After Dark, Book 9)
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I’m a creature of habit. Once I find a series of books that I love, I will read and re-read the same books over and over again. Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series and the Harry Potter books are two examples of this habit. Luckily, I’ve found a new series to obsess over: Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark books. I’ve read the first eight books probably about three times each, and couldn’t wait for book nine to come out. I even went so far as pre-ordering the book before it came out, something I’d never done before. It was definitely worth the wait.

The Immortals series revolves around, as the title suggests, different immortal creatures: demons, vampires, phantoms, witches, and the like. Some immortals are good; some are evil. One group of “good” immortals is the Valkryie: beautiful and fierce female warriors. This book revolves around one Valkryie named Regin.

A thousand years ago, Regin fell in love with Aidan the Fierce, a brave berserker Viking warrior. Tragically, Aidan was murdered after just one night together, but he vowed to return for her. Over the next millennium, Regin finds herself being pursued by three different reincarnations of Aidan, each with the same tragic result. Just as the latest version realizes he’s Aidan, he dies.

The fourth and latest of Aidan’s reincarnation is Declan Chase, a tortured and intense modern-day warrior from Belfast, Ireland. Declan witnessed his entire family being murdered and eaten (yes, eaten) by evil immortal beings. A heroin addict to begin with, Declan understandably hits rock bottom after being tortured by his family’s murderers. He’s saved from a probable overdose death by the Order, a mysterious group on a mission to study and destroy all immortals, as they see them as “abominations.” Declan rises to the top of the Order and is in charge of one of their holding and testing facilities, where he incarcerates Regin, only to be find himself irrevocably drawn to her. Despite his attraction, Regin is not spared the Order’s attentions, something that doesn’t put Declan in Regin’s good graces. Once an ancient evil wreaks havoc on the facility, can the two of them find a way to survive—or even be reunited?

Dreams of a Dark Warrior is definitely the darkest book in the series—and, as such, not quite as romantic. Declan and Regin have a literal love/hate relationship (ordering to have someone vivisected will evoke that response, I suppose). Despite all of the darkness and violence, though, I still enjoyed it. I love when a couple in a romance book have to struggle a bit to find their “happily ever after,” and Regin and Declan definitely need to work at it.

That said, though, I didn’t find myself envying Regin like I sometimes envy Cole’s other heroines. There is a lot of pain in this novel, both physical and emotional. I would not want to be in Regin’s shoes, even with the happy ending. At one point, she realizes that maybe Aidan isn’t the one who is cursed—maybe she is. That realization is just heartbreaking. And Declan breaks my heart as well—to go through life carrying so much hatred inside him, struggling with addiction. The fact that the two of them somehow muddle through their respective issues together warms my heart, but it also makes me sad that they had to go through it in the first place. Their resilience—especially Declan’s—is inspiring. And while the sex isn’t quite as frequent as it is in other books in the series, it’s no less steamy; Declan and Regin are literally blowing off a millennium’s worth of steam.

All in all, I will definitely read Dreams of a Dark Warrior again, once I begin the reading cycle over, and I eagerly await book 10 in the series. One thing I love about the Immortals series is that each book builds on the previous one—something that becomes even more apparent the further into the series you get. I think each book (including this one) could work well as a stand-alone read, but it’s interesting to see what happens in, say, book eight through the eyes of the characters of book nine. That sort of complexity is the mark of a truly gifted author. What can I say—Kresley Cole is my newest addiction.

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