The eighteenth installment of the best-selling Immortals After Dark series by Kresley Cole once again shifts away from well-known and loved characters by introducing a reincarnated fey princess and dropping her straight into hell.
Because Nix the Ever-Knowing plays a long game.
The realm of the Fey have been enemies of the demon home world Pandemonia and the Møriør for centuries. Their royal line, descendants of the Queen Magh, are also being hunted down by the Møriør Baneblood archer, Rune. Princess Calliope Barbot, better known as Lila to her friends and family, is living in exile among the unsuspecting humans, hoping to avoid death at the hands of her enemies. And what better place for a princess to hide but in plain sight? No one would think to look for a real life princess dressed up like a fairy tale princess in the Magic Kingdom. That is until Nix becomes involved and decides to set into motion a reunion of sorts between a princess of Sylvan and the mate she supposedly spurned in another life a millennia ago, the primordial demon of hell.
Abyssian “Sian” Infernas has been searching for the reincarnation of his dead mate since he lost Kari ten thousand years ago. His anger has built year after year until all he wants now is to revisit all the pain and suffering of their past interactions back upon her. When she is literally dropped onto his doorstep by two tricky sorceri, he knows the young fey has probably been sent in as a spy, but his desire to finally have his mate under his control overrides any good sense he might have had and Sian quickly agrees to whatever terms necessary to keep her.
As you can imagine, and I know established fans of this series will know exactly what I’m talking about, Sian and Lila’s relationship starts out just a wee bit rocky. He’s this big, brutish, powerful demon with horns and fangs and memories of a painful betrayal that have haunted him nearly his whole life. She is a delicate fey who has not yet reached her full immortality, but cunning and determined to outwit her captor in order to fulfill her duties as spy by gathering information about Pandemonia and the Møriør’s plans to wage war on Sylvan. They clash repeatedly. He treats her like a prisoner, dumping her in one of the dirty, decrepit, abandoned rooms in his home and forcing her to complete impossible tasks. What he hasn’t yet realized is Lila is vastly different from the woman he remembers who broke his young heart. Her motto is FITFO (figure it the fuck out, LOL) and she has spent her time in the human realm learning and gathering degrees in an array of subjects. She isn’t about to just wither away in a prison and let a demon blame her for sins not her own. Thank goodness, because I adore this author’s heroines. Badasses, every one of them.
I think Wicked Abyss is reminiscent of so many other romances in this series; Enemies to lovers, fated mates, two powerful main characters battling it out with sharp words and shrewd wits. This book had more of a beauty and the beast feel to it as one of Sian’s main issues is that his connection to Pandemonia is slowly changing his appearance into one that directly reflects his home world. Huge horns, clawed hands, razor sharp fangs, glyphs covering his skin and piercings in all sorts of interesting places. He worries that if his long ago dead mate couldn’t accept him when he was nice to look upon, how can her reincarnation possibly welcome him now that he has turned into something so fearsome. Not to worry though, Lila lusts after Sian exactly the way he is and their relationship turns from enemies to enemies who can’t keep their hands off of each other pretty quickly. These two are smoking hot. Smoking. Hot. Lust soon turns to love and as all of their secrets come out they must decide whether to let the past go and embrace their future or let memories and fears keep them from each other.
It occurred to me as I neared the climax and finally began to figure out what would happen and what that would mean for both sides of the Accession, that Ms. Cole is herself playing a long game. I keep seeing comments stating some fan’s displeasure over this author veering off course into new characters and having to wait for fan favorites like Furie and Kristoff, or Munro, or even Nix herself, and while I do get that, after reading the previous installment, Sweet Ruin, and now Wicked Abyss, I have a feeling that Ms. Cole is gearing up for something magnificent. Nix is crazy, or is she? Does she already know the identity of her forever mate and is just reeling him in, while at the same time bringing about a world where there are no enemies, but where love has created allies within the whole of the Lore? Because I’m pretty sure I know who will ultimately be paired with Nix and if I’m right OMG. I had suspicions while reading Sweet Ruin, but now I’m even more convinced that Nix will end up with the leader of the Møriør, Orion the Undoing.
As with any book in this series, I enjoyed Wicked Abyss from beginning to end. I love this world and am so exited to see where this author takes her readers in the future. I believe I’ve heard (although I can’t pinpoint exactly where) that Furie is coming up next, and all I can say is bring it on. I’m ready. Final grade-B
He grunted in pain. “Little wife, you are the hellfire for me. My beacon in the dark.”
Wicked Abyss by Kresley Cole