Dreams of a Dark Warrior
by Kresley Cole
Release Date: February 15, 2011
Publisher: Pocket Books
Book #10 in the Immortals After Dark series
Number of Pages: 532
Paranormal Romance M/F
Ages 18 and up
CW: drug use, abuse, torture
Read 6/21/21 to 6/24/21
He Vowed He’d Come For Her…
Murdered before he could wed Regin the Radiant, warlord Aidan the Fierce seeks his beloved through eternity, reborn again and again into new identities, yet with no memory of his past lives.
She Awaits His Return…
When Regin encounters Declan Chase, a brutal Celtic soldier, she recognizes her proud warlord reincarnated. But Declan takes her captive, intending retribution against all immortals—unaware that he belongs to their world.
To Sate A Desire More Powerful Than Death…
Yet every reincarnation comes with a price, for Aidan is doomed to die when he remembers his past. To save herself from Declan’s torments, will Regin rekindle memories of the passion they once shared—even if it means once again losing the only man she could ever love?
Kresley Cole is a genius. Seriously. I mentioned in my review of Demon from the Dark that it was hard to believe a certain character would be able to be redeemed. Granted, I did say I had faith in the author to do so, but I was skeptical. And I’ll admit, the character arc for Declan is not going to work for everyone. I won’t deny that. But it worked for me.*
It wasn’t until about 100 pages in that I was starting to see those seeds of how I was going to find it in myself to like Declan. I definitely hadn’t yet seen how I’d think he was anywhere good enough for Regin. This is a long story so really that’s not even a quarter of the way into the book. As more and more of Declan’s backstory was revealed, I couldn’t help but compare him to people who grew up in a radical religious household. In other words, I found Declan to be a bit brainwashed. While it didn’t happen when he was technically a child or come from his parents, it was still the same thing. The Order is certainly a cult and Webb, Declan’s mentor, feeds him only the information that makes the Lore look bad while hiding the good aspects of the Lore from him.
Another thing that really helped me with the Declan character is how I was really able to think of Declan and Aidan, the Beserker who originally connects with Regin who keeps being reincarnated, as two separate people. In the beginning, this helped me to believe and dive into the connection between Regin and her fated mate, Aidan. Later, it helped me to see the differences between Aidan and Declan in a way that actually ended up putting Declan in a better light. He fully supports Regin in ways Aidan wasn’t able to. While the need to protect her and keep her safe is overwhelming, as it always is with fated mates, he also trusts her to take care of herself and even join him in battle if need be. Regin is a strong and independent woman. She needs a man who respects her strengths and supports her independence.
Even while I was still on the fence about the Regin and Declan match-up, I couldn’t deny their chemistry. Of course, it held so much more sizzle knowing that neither wanted to be attracted to the other but there was no resisting the connection.
Because the stories in this series are often happening simultaneously, there was a bit of “hurry up and get to it” that I experienced. The “it” being La Dorada showing up for her ring. Believe me, the first half of the story is needed to understand everyone’s motivations in this story, especially those of Declan and Regin. But I was still anxious to get to the action. That being said, the second half of this story flew by and had me attached to my e-reader.
(Warning: the following paragraph may be a bit of a spoiler, but nothing too major is given away.)
In a way, this book is also a buddy story. An odd group of buddies, but a buddy story nonetheless. You have the enemy Lothaire teaming up with Regin and her friends to get done what is needed. Declan being in the mix is another anomaly since they all pretty much want him dead. The other three that round out this group are characters I am so invested in that I am hoping they all get their stories told, and soon. Thaddeus the halfling who didn’t even know of the Lore until very recently, Natalya the dark fey that many believed to be dead, and Brandr the Beserker. The last book may have been the start of torture island, but this book set up so many more stories that I didn’t know I needed until now.
I am not enthralled with Lothaire the way others seem to be, but I have no doubt Kresley Cole will have me falling in love with him in no time in the next book. Does Lothaire deserve an HEA? Is he has terrible as we all think? And, very important question, what is the Nix/Lothaire connection?
*If you’re having a hard time wrapping your head around Declan, even after reading this book, I strongly suggest you listen to the Fated Mates podcast episode that does a deep dive on this story. Season One Episode 10: Declan Chase is Kinda Trying. Sarah and Jen did a fantastic job of helping me to understand how I could possibly have forgiven Declan…and even actually liked him by the end.