Mrs. Julien’s #CBR5 Review #52&53: Shadow’s Claim & MacRieve by Kresley Cole

“I’m out. I just can’t with Kresley Cole for one more second,”  I said, and yet here I am with more Fangin’n’Bangin’™. I’m not proud. I am deeply and appropriately shamed by my conduct. Self-recriminations take place on the full and half hours. Rationalizations are on the fifteens and forty-fives. I always promise myself the current Kresley Cole Immortals After Dark paranormal romance will be my last, usually while reading it. It goes like this:

Why am I reading this? Trehan’s an assassin and he lives in a library. That’s pretty cool. I have a degree in English. Why am I reading this? Bettina is in her early twenties and Trehan is 900 years old. What could she possibly have to offer him? Which one is this? Shadow’s Claim. He’s wearing black leather pants. I do so love a good-looking man in black leather pants. I should re-read Their Eyes Were Watching God. Trehan lives in a secret vampire realm. Wait. There’s a third, hitherto secret, vampire group in Cole’s novels? There are the Hoarde, Forbearers, and now Dacians.  I bet the Dacians were an afterthought to extend the series. Kresley Cole is a paranormal romance savant. Bettina is a half-sorceress, half-demon, jewelry designer, princess, and heir to her realm, her powers have been stolen, plus she’s a virgin who can’t drive. I would kill for a good historical romance right now. Bettina has agreed to a tournament for her hand in marriage. One of her suitors is a pus demon. Is she having a panic attack? How many of these have I read? Did I just gasp? Cole is really good at the battle scenes. I don’t hate this nearly as much as I should. Bettina is guarded by a Sylph-phantom-thing that inhabits handy objects for want of corporeal form. Is Bettina a Disney princess? The Sylph is watching her bathe and talking about onanism. No on the Disney princess, check mark in the voyeurism column.There is something appealing about how devoted the heroes are. Is it over yet? I wonder if Caspion’s character will get his own book later. Ignore the jejune spelling. Trehan’s wearing a leather trench coat. I have a leather trench coat. Love scene THUNDER SEX™. Won’t all of the pop culture references work against the books over time? Wow, I am actually bored with the love scene THUNDER SEX™. Of course, Bettina’s a virgin. It’s like a 1970s romance novel up in this book.There’s the intense, powerful, older alpha male captivated by a naive, seemingly powerless, immature woman for no reason other than the urgings of his Id and the plot. There’s the Big Misunderstanding that can be cleared up with one simple conversation.  Kresley Cole is old school. Lothaire? I read part of that book. It was the same as this part of this book. Who are these people? Is this an epilogue?  Oh, it’s a preview. It’s over. Never again.

I read about 50% of MacRieve, but you’ll see why I’m counting the experience as a whole book, maybe two.  I think the judges will allow it. I read it to see what could be so bad on the “Kresley Cole Is Atrocious” scale that Alexis said it was best left unread. The heroine, Chloe, thinks she is a human, but learns she is actually transforming into an immortal succubus whose sustenance comes from ejaculate. You read those words correctly and in the right order. Chloe is a succubus who feeds on ejaculate. Consumption is non-orifice specific. If the ejaculate comes from an unwilling male, she will sicken and die as it changes into “venom”.  She got very sick about two-thirds of the way through the book. It didn’t take me that long.

The werewolf hero, Uilliam, has childhood sexual abuse trauma associated with an exploitative succubus (which is apparently not a redundant statement), so he hates the entire species. Chloe is his fated mate, he is drawn to and disgusted by her simultaneously. He really freaks out whenever she takes his precious bodily fluids. She shows remarkable forbearance and forgiveness. There is a dissertation’s worth of repellent, sexist themes in this book: the ejaculate issue; the transition of a woman into a monster with sexual awakening; a woman sucking the life out of a man, a literal succubus; a man being sexually drawn to, but also reviling the object of his affections because a relationship will imprison him and take his power; forgiveness of male mistreatment because he can’t help it; the saintly, redemptive female; lessons in love that not all succubi (women) are the same, you just need to meet the right one; and so on. Revolting and misogynistic elements masquerading as a love story. How very repugnant, Ms. Cole.

The (Shameful) Tally and reviews for other books in the Immortals After Dark series: The Warlord Wants Forever; A Hunger Like No Other; No Rest for the Wicked; Wicked Deeds on a Winter’s Night; Dark Deeds at Night’s Edge; Dark Desires After Dusk; Kiss of a Demon King; Deep Kiss of Winter; Pleasure of a Dark Prince; Demon from the Dark; Dreams of a Dark Warrior; Lothaire; MacRieve; Shadow’s Claim.

P.S. Cannonball!

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14 thoughts on “Mrs. Julien’s #CBR5 Review #52&53: Shadow’s Claim & MacRieve by Kresley Cole

  1. Congratulations on hitting 52! I read a book earlier this summer with humans with super powers, and one of them actually states “my power comes from my sperm” – basically he hasn’t ejaculated in years to keep his powers up. At least that one had the excuse of being written by a guy in the ’80s (and was one story in a compilation), but seriously, what is it with sperm?

  2. Yay! You finished your Cannonball! You write such hilarious reviews and manage to make reading about bad books even more enjoyable than good ones.

  3. Congrats!
    (And also? Is that second book for real? How in the HELL did something like that even get published??? Athough, I fear what it says about me that I kinda want to read it…)

  4. Congratulations on 52!!!

    And seriously Mama – Prolixity just skimmed the surface of what made Macrieve so repugnant. I’ll admit I enjoy Kresley’s THUNDER SEX and whatnot and even I couldn’t stomach this book. I hate-read it till the bitter end because I’m nothing if not a completest. But don’t be curious. Don’t read it. Every reader only encourages her. If I knew Kresley Cole I would take her out to a 3 martini lunch and have a long hard talk about Macrieve followed by a big hug.

    Honestly Prolixity, I feel that I’ve somehow corrupted your summer with books filled with repetitive sex and misogynistic themes. Can I get a chance to redeem my book-recommendation reputation? What about Daughter of the Forest (Marillier) – I’ll stand behind the quality of writing, character development, romance, and shame-free readability!

  5. Oh, Mrs J, I can promise you that Daughter of the Forest is nothing at all like Kresley Cole. I would classify it as fantasy with a strong romantic element, rather than romantic fantasy, but it’s excellent, and the sequel, Son of the Shadows is amazing.

  6. I can’t hear/read “precious bodily fluids” without thinking of Dr. Strangelove. Although Dr. Strangelove is my favorite movie, it is not conducive to reading any kind of romance. Also I just read about the portal to Heaven and the portal to Hell having sex and seeing the birth of stars. Review coming soon.

  7. Oh my god. I laughed and gasped at “You read those words correctly and in the right order.” I’m just speechless at VitaSemen being a real thing in a real book. Anyhow, congrats on the cannonball!

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