You know you’re in deep trouble when you can’t sleep without knowing how a story turns out, when your hands itch to pick the book out of your bag at work and when you hunger for that moment of solitude when the kids are in bed and you can at last settle down in on the sofa for a good night’s reading.
Well, that’s what I went through when I read A Hunger Like No Other by Kresley Cole and Jacob, the debut of Jacquelyn Frank’s Nightwalkers series, back to back. First of all, take heed and learn from my experience: read these two books over the weekend, preferably starting the read-a-thon on a Friday night. I was loathed to drag myself off to bed because I simply had to know what happened to the main characters.
I happened to pick up Hunger at a UBS on a whim, and by the time I finished the prologue (page 3), I was hooked on the story. This book introduces a sizzling series about immortal creatures that will have any paranormal fan clapping in glee … werewolves, Valkyrie, vampires, witches. What separates this book from other paranormal works is the marvelous way Cole built up the tension and her characters. With each chapter, you peel off another layer of Emma, the half-Valkyrie/ half vampire super being, who’s being pursued by the tortured Lykae king, Lachlain (I just love Scots) for his soul mate.
For Emma, who has been sheltered by well-meaning aunts all her life, meeting Lachlain turns out to be quite a liberating experience. She discovered new powers and strengths, and grew new skills almost overnight. Although the road to accepting the fierce hero, whose species has not exactly been co-existing peacefully with hers, was not smooth (else where’s the excitement and tension?), their struggles and battles with an ancient evil from her past, and their eventual capitulation towards each other made for engrossing reading.
What helps is Cole’s balanced use of humour and witty repartee. She’s not overly verbose and doesn’t over embellish her descriptive writing, so that the fast-paced action doesn’t get dragged down by repetitive details. I practically devoured the book, willingly sacrificed a few hours’ sleep just so I could finish the book! I simply couldn’t tear myself away from its steamy and intriguing pages. This sensuous tale of unlikely alliances and desire warring with fear and prejudices is one I would find myself returning to. For the plot summary, try this site.
Cringe-inducing endearment (little flower, anyone?) aside, Jacquelyn Frank’s Jacob is another worthwhile way of spending the weekend. She is another master at drawing out the romantic tension between the Demon hero Jacob and hybrid Druidess heroine Isabella. Her prose is more lush and lyrical, and she can be such a tease. There were so many hit-and-miss near consummation of the main characters’ love that at one stage I almost tore my hair out in despair over yet another frustrating interruption of the lovers’ tryst. For the uninitiated, go over to the author’s site for the plot summary, I’m delving straight into the book.
The use of biblical names for her Demon characters was surely inspired, the double entendres clever, and the fascinating paranormal world full of almost humane demons, vampire, Lycanthrope, hunters, sorcerers and necromancers are the stuff that fantasy/ paranormal fans would appreciate. As for me, I got sucked into this parallel world bad, so bad I’ve just had to get the sequel, Gideon (which, incidentally, I finished, and love even more, last night). I guess the only thing that left me feeling a little shortchanged was the battle with the necromancers towards the end. It was almost effortless … it’s skirmish compared to the full blown battle in Gideon, which is definitely much better written.
Notwithstanding the above, Jacob is an outstanding series debut for Frank and truly deserves the praises that’s been heaped on it. I’m already looking forward to the third, Elijah’s tale. These two books rank up there with Nalini Singh’s Slave to Sensation as my top paranormal choices for this year. For someone who used to shun vampire and wolf tales, the conversion has happened. I’ve been Summoned, it seems, and well and truly bitten by the paranormal bug.