Living Within the Pages – Book Review #9

29 11 2010

Title: Eternal Kiss of Darkness

Author: Jeaniene Frost

Series: Night Huntress World (#2)

Amazon Rating: 4.5

Goodreads Rating: 4.13

Alex’s Rating: 4

Eternal Kiss of Darkness is the second book in Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress World series, a spin-off of her Night Huntress series featuring Cat and Bones. Eternal Kiss of Darkness is the story of Mencheres, a 4,500 year old master vampire readers were first introduced to in One Foot in the Grave, the second Night Huntress novel. From Cat’s point of view in the NH novels, we get the sense that Mencheres is a cold, chilled, calculating, and unemotional vampire. Cat has an unnamable sense of dislike towards Mencheres, so as a reader, at first, I did not know what to think of him. Could we really trust him as much as Bones seemed to? Why was he so guarded and unyielding? Well, Frost finally let us in to the head and world of Mencheres, and let me tell you, it was a nice change of pace.

The novel begins with Mencheres being surrounded by young ghouls seemingly about to attack him and kill him. What is odd right off the ba, is Mencheres seems to be allowing the torture even though with a small flex of his powers he could easily destroy each ghoul without even touching them. His attempt at suicide is interrupted when a human woman, Kira Graceling, enters the warehouse on her way home from work (back from a stakeout; she is a private investigator). She walks into a gruesome scene, not understanding what she sees, and the ghouls attack her. Before she got to the warehouse she had called the police and they were closing in. Not wanting the human to die as she was there in an attempt to save him, Mencheres kills the ghouls and flees the scene with Kira.

He takes her to one of his smaller homes outside of Chicago and essentially holds her captive for a week. She is immune to his mind control, so she cannot forget about the events and that is a danger he cannot afford, especially now as his millennia old feud between himself and a Law Guardian named Radjedef is coming to a head. For this one week, Mencheres observes Kira and is inexplicably drawn to her. There is obviously a pull on both sides, but neither wants to admit how deep their attraction is at first. Realizing that Kira needs to be back in her world with her sick sister, Mencheres releases her and asks that in return for helping her family she stay silent about the vampire world as she has learned several secrets over the past days of her captivity. She agrees, but there is sadness in their parting, and we know they will meet up once more.

The rest of the novel shows the development of Kira and Mencheres’ feelings for one another when they are apart, and due to some of her own private investigating on the side, Kira comes face to face with Mencheres once more in a battle for her life, but this time, Radjedef is in the mix. I don’t want to give too much more away as the book revolves around Kira and Mencheres’ budding relationship (sorry for the cliché) and Mencheres’ internal battle with losing his visions and guilt over his wife’s murder and of course Radjedef, the crooked Law Guardian out to steal Mencheres’ power and then kill him.

Although this was not my favorite of Frost’s books (I can’t help it, I’m biased towards Cat and Bones) it was nice to see a different side of Mencheres. In this novel we see how 4,500 years has made him a little numb and how suicide is tempting to such old and powerful vampires. We see that he is not cold and calculating in a menacing way, but in a way that a leader cares for his people. He avoids killing innocents, saved Kira and her sister, and has a great sense of compassion despite being jaded by all of the death and destruction he has seen over the past thousands of years.

What I enjoyed most was seeing Kira stand up to Mencheres. In the NH novels he is always a force to be reckoned with. His powers are immense and no one questions him, yet here is this 30-something human woman who isn’t afraid of him and is willing to love him despite all of the evil he believes he has had a hand in. I enjoyed Kira’s character even though she definitely had her stupid meddling moments. They both saved each other from their pasts, and that was what one takes away from the novel.

I can honestly say I like Mencheres now. I wasn’t sure before as Cat’s perspective didn’t really allow for that exploration of his character. Perhaps it wasn’t until we saw him care for a person outside of his current vampire world that we could get a true glimpse into the person he truly was beneath all of those years and power.

Like I stated in my earlier review of the first NHW novel, these heroes and heroines (although wonderful) are no Cat and Bones. I will still continue to read the NHW series (Vlad and Leila are up next), but there will never be another Cat and Bones. Frost writes so perfectly for both of those characters that her other attempts with Spade and Mencheres are good, but not great. But then again, I’m biased.

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