oracne - Victoria Janssen (oracne) wrote,
oracne - Victoria Janssen
oracne

Kresley Cole, PLEASURE OF A DARK PRINCE

I really enjoy the ways in which Kresley Cole's paranormal romances rebel against tropes of that sub-genre and of gender expectations. Her female characters are powerful in their own right, often skilled at violence, even taking joy in it (many of them are Valkyries, experienced in centuries or millenia of battle); they might rebel strongly against romantic relationships (even though, since these are romances, they succumb in the end); and most of her heroines feel sex is something they feel free to enjoy without guilt (or their guilt about sex arises from some other issue than societal expectation).

Also, her books are funny. Funny because it makes me laugh when gender expectations are subverted, as when one of her heroines ties her hero to a bed, and funny because of snappy dialogue and characters. I have a deep an unholy love for her seer character, the Valkyrie Nix, who is often very confused by her visions of the future and is known as "Nucking Futs Nix."

So, anyway, on to her newest, Pleasure of a Dark Prince. I was disappointed, at first. The earliest section of the book, when hero and heroine meet, overlaps with the first book in the whole series, and I found it dull and distracting that bits from that book were happening when I wanted to focus on the new-to-me characters. It felt piecemeal, and for me the story's flow was impaired. I perservered, though, and was rewarded when the "real" story began.

The heroine, Lucia, is a Valkyrie who married, by trickery, an evil flesh-eating god. Because a goddess saves her life, she is sworn to chastity ever after in exchange for unearthly skill at archery. The hero, Garreth, is a werewolf; in Cole's universe, werewolfiness is extremely violent and uncontrollable, more giant beast than actual wolf. The werewolves, or Lykae, all seem to come from Scotland (and have humorous accents) and some of them are lucky enough to find their "mate" with whom they instantly bond for life. Garreth smells then sees Lucia and recognizes her for his mate. She's had millenia of chastity and is ready for a good time, even with an uncivilized werewolf, but she not only made a oath to a dangerous goddess but doesn't want to give up her archery skills that came with it, particularly since now her evil husband is about to make another attempt to break out of imprisonment and take over the world.

Most of the story, the parts I enjoyed the most, took place on a riverboat in the Amazon, as they travel towards a confrontation with a possible apocalypse. Instead of endless "I want to have sex, but I can't!" scenes, the hero and heroine argue and negotiate, then compromise and have everything but intercourse for quite some time. If I ever write a paper on these issues (ha!) I'm going to go back to this book to track the various negotiations between the two characters.

I won't spoil how it ends.

I don't know if this would be the best Cole to start with, if you've never read her books. If you wanted to try just one, the third one, Wicked Deeds on a Winter's Night, is pretty fun and has a good adventure plot. If you do read one of her books, let me know what you think!

Pleasure of a Dark Prince
Tags: paranormal, romance
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