***Warning: This buddy review is full of spoilers. We are sorry, we couldn't help it, therefore read at your own risks.***
Dark Needs at Night’s Edge by Kresley Cole
published by Simon & Schuster in April 2008
Néomi Laress, a famous ballerina from a past century, became a phantom the night she was murdered. Imbued with otherworldly powers but invisible to the living, she haunts her beloved home, scaring away trespassers -- until she encounters a ruthless immortal even more terrifying than Néomi herself.To prevent him from harming others, Conrad Wroth's brothers imprison him in an abandoned manor. But there, a female only he can see seems determined to drive him further into madness. The exquisite creature torments him with desire, leaving his body racked with lust and his soul torn as he finds himself coveting her for his own.Yet even if Conrad can win Néomi, evil still surrounds her. Once he returns to the brutality of his past to protect her, will he succumb to the dark needs seething inside him?Genre: paranormal romance
Series: The Immortals After Dark, book #5
The Story: The book description pretty much sums up the story. Néomi became a ghost after her ex-fiancé murdered her. For 80 years, she’s been stuck in Elancourt, her beloved manor. She has no contact with the outside world other than the newspapers and the families that have lived in her home.
Conrad Wroth became a vampire against his will. For centuries, he’s been hunted down by vampire slayers. In addition, to survive, Conrad became a mercenary and willingly succumbed to the bloodlust. Now, Conrad seeks revenge against his brothers and their Brides…
Nath: So what did you think of this book, Rosie? You who oh so enjoy ghost character LOL :)
Rosie: I have to admit that I groaned when I realized Néomi was a ghost. Even while reading the prologue I didn't believe I was being set up for a ghost story. So that was an issue for me throughout and did take some enjoyment away from the book. Probably if I weren't invested in the series and reading about the Wroth brothers I'd have set the book aside for another time. That's definitely a "it's not you it's me" sort of thing. Ghosts ain't my cuppa.
Nath: LOL, you must not have read the synopsis. Otherwise, there was no chance you wouldn’t know the heroine was a ghost. I know you don’t like ghost in your books (eg. Lover Unbound); however, I think that this book has a good premise. Also, when you start out with a ghost, then there is a high probability that the ghost will… well un-ghost LOL.
Rosie: Obviously I didn't read the back blurb. When I'm into a series or not having problems with the author and they truly are an "auto buy" I often don't read the back blurb. I sure didn't this time and was totally surprised with the story. I'm not at all sorry I read it, not as sorry as some ghost stories make me feel, but the ghost thing was definitely a distraction for me.
As soon as you know that ghost Néomi can't materialize to do the horizontal mambo you know there is going to be some way out for the two of them. She has to take some real form to have physical contact with Conrad. I didn't mind that she found a way to materialize, but I didn't like the keeping of secrets about the process or the immortal twist at the end. That was a bit too convenient for me.
Nath: True. As you said, Néomi and Conrad not having physical contacts was a good clue she would gain a corporal shell. I’m not sure how I feel about the process though. I agree that with Néomi new knowledge of the Lore, she had new possibilities in front of her and it was easier to contact someone who could help her out. What annoyed me is the whole concept, i.e. giving her a corporal shell that would attract her death which would results in the loss of her soul. I thought the whole “dying” part was unnecessary. Just make her immortal right away if you’re going to find a loophole. I guess the author tried to add some angst to the whole situation, but it doesn’t work because we, readers, know that this is a romance and that means a HEA ending = heroine can’t disappear.
I think I would have enjoyed the whole process more if it had been more logical, like Néomi gaining a corporal shell and then, being turned into a vampire. In that case, even if her corporal shell attracted death, she’d be able to regenerate… By the way, those phantom creatures of the Lore, has there been any mention of them in previous books? That, I found a bit convenient. Also, when did Mariketa McRieve the witch become so money-hungry?
Rosie: Yeah, when did Mariketa become so money hungry? We know that the Valkyrie like sparklies and money, but I missed that about Mari in the previous books. I don’t remember anything about phantoms in previous books either. I sometimes think I’ve read so many books in so many worlds I can remember them all. So I’m glad it wasn’t just me.
Anyway, I was hoping Néomi would become a vampire too. I didn't remember all that stuff about not being able to successfully turn females into vamps. Well, maybe a little when the story spoke about the Wroth brothers and their sisters. However, when Mariketa shows up and talks about not being able to successfully convert a woman into a vamp I was bummed. Even at the end when Néomi knew something was not "right" I was still hoping. Just like in Lover Unbound with the ghost wife at the end, this felt a little bit contrived. But, then I have a high sensitivity to the whole phantom/ghost issue so maybe less sensitive readers won't feel the same way about it.
Nath: Really? Women can’t be turned into vampires? I can’t remember that part… So I guess they can be born as vampires like Emmaline, but not turned?
Rosie: I only remember the “can’t turn women into vampires” in a very vague way. It was really emphasized in this book though. People who read the books and are good at remembering details will probably remember though.
Nath: What did you think of the characters? I didn’t really like Conrad, I felt he was a bit bleh.
Rosie: I didn't think Conrad was bleh at all. His ferocity and hate were a good foil for Néomi and I think made him an interesting hero. I think it was a bit of a stretch to think he would recover as much as he had in so short a period of time when he (the mindless souless killer) had been centuries in the making.
There's nothing I like better than redemption, I just don't like it to be too easy or pat. Conrad's history was delicious for me. The worse it is, the better I like it. I just want the climb and return to humanity to be full of anguish and lots and lots of redemption. There was some of that in the book, but I was waiting for a bigger turning point or impetus for his slow evolution to humanity. I did very much approve that at the end of the book he's not completely "cured". It’s appropriate that Conrad will continue to struggle with his blood lust, crazy delusions and bad memories of the bad beings he's killed. That was done well.
Nath: See, I felt like Conrad didn’t want to redeem himself and really, at the beginning, he didn’t do any efforts to and that, combined with his attitude, all the pent-up anger and blaming others annoyed me. Basically, when he was turned into a vampire, Conrad went berserk with anger and hatred and it was later explained why and that I can accept; however, he really didn’t care about himself and didn’t give a damn what he has become and would become. So I agree with you, given his attitude, it’s a surprise he regained his sanity so quickly and although I can see that Néomi was a great incentive, I think it should have taken longer. By the way, since Conrad despised vampires so much, I’m surprised he didn’t let someone just cut off his head or burn in the sunlight. Where did his will to survive come from? Also, why did he join that vampire slaying faction and not tell his brothers?
By the way, what did you think of the emphasis the author put on Conrad being a virgin? Was it to add a vulnerable side to him? Make him appear more human? Cause quite frankly, I thought it unnecessary and found the emphasis on it annoying.
Rosie: Conrad’s ‘will to live’ is tricky. I think he was trying to kill himself by drinking from the vein of the people he killed. To me, that was a form of self torture. I believe he hated his own existence. As for not telling his brothers, the organization was secret. Remember all that stuff about Wroth honor and promises? If Conrad made a vow of secrecy he wouldn’t break it even to tell his brothers.
Virginity, the female or the male is a touchy subject for me. If done well it works for me. I just didn't see the necessity here. I think Ms Cole wanted something that would make Conrad not seem such a monster. His embarrassment may have been to make him seem sweeter or nice. It didn't totally bug me, I just didn't feel a necessity for it.
Nath: Thing is, it didn’t work. Whenever the subject of his virginity was brought up, Conrad would get embarrassed and then, angry… and you’re right that Conrad was probably trying to “torture” himself. That makes sense now.
Let’s talk about Néomi now :D Néomi was cool. Also the fact that she’s been a ghost for 80 years and being untouchable made it easy for her to accept the Lore without blinking :P I thought it was refreshing to have a heroine not panicking and being afraid out of her mind and instead, embracing the whole paranormal universe. She was a nice character, very independent and confident… Unfortunately, I think some chemistry was missing between Conrad and Néomi.
Rosie: I didn't feel like they lacked chemistry. That was there. At least for me it was. I think the whole whirlwind romance bit after she had a corporeal form was a bit over the top. It didn't make sense that Conrad would drop the whole secret about how she gained a body. If we are going to buy into his obsession with her then I can't buy into his not finding out about what strings are attached to her new shape. Men in the Lore all get obsessed with their women or in the Wroth brothers case, their Brides. Oh and did you catch the part about Conrad not believing it could be a witch because he didn't think Néomi would have that kind of money? That really didn't make sense.
Nath: Especially after he drank some of her whiskey worth more than 100,000$
Rosie: Yeah, particularly when he knows Néomi earned good money and bought Elancourt on her own. One good thing about the chemistry between Conrad and Néomi is that Conrad was too strong a personality and too damaged to be involved or interested in a wimpy woman. Néomi's beliefs in her looks and her strength because of the success she had in her early life were exactly the right foil for Conrad.
Nath: LOL, none of the Wroth’s Brides are wimpy or delicate, that’s for sure. I still feel like something was missing. I think it has to do when Conrad thought Néomi “betrayed” him. See, I have a feeling that although Conrad loved Néomi, he didn’t completely understand her. Then, once she got a body, they were too busy… I have to say though, they did have cute scenes. I especially like the one where Conrad goes and gets all the newspapers for Néomi… that was so hilarious, especially when the brothers saw all the newspapers piled up.
Rosie: One of my favorite sayings is "It's the little things." Those little things are the things that can drive you crazy like dirty socks left on the floor. Or, those little things can be stuff that melts your heart like Conrad getting her the newspapers. That was very sweet and a great personal touch in the story.
Nath: Aside from Conrad, one of the main issues I had with this book was the storyline. There was a definite change of pace between the previous books and this one. While the others seem packed with action, this one was more focused on Conrad and Néomi. Well, couldn’t help it since she couldn’t leave Elancourt, I guess… I don’t think it was such a bad thing, but I felt like the storyline was a bit subdued… almost boring ^_^;
Rosie: The storyline and plot didn't bother me. The idea of the H/H trapped with each other in the house, Elancourt, was a sort of stuck on a tropical island type of a thing. After 80 years of isolation it's completely understandable that Néomi wouldn't be able to keep away from someone who can see and hear her. My issue, again, besides her being a ghost, is the whole secret keeping the last third of the book.
On the other hand, one weird thing I liked about the book? I love the French language. It was just divine! I took French for five years and while I still speak poorly, I love to hear it, or read it. It flows like ocean waves to my ears. I loved all the French phrases in this book especially since they were simple enough I could translate them easily. Ms Cole did a good job of with that.
Nath: Agree, the French was really well-used in this book and you know what? I only found one tiny mistake! LOL :)
For me, what I liked the most was the Wroth brothers’ loyalty to each other. How much the three brothers put on the line for Conrad was touching. I also liked the last scene when Nikolai helped Conrad and when they got together at Nikolai’s place. It’s also good to know that the brothers never gave up on Conrad and had a back-up plan in case he wouldn’t regain his sanity. By the way, that brings up something else that annoyed me. The fact that Conrad only went to help out his brothers when he needed them…
Rosie: The Wroth brothers, all very *sigh* and *swoon* worthy don't you think? The brothers’ loyalty, honor and stubbornness would probably drive us crazy in real life but are wonderful to see between them in the books.
At the end of the day, Dark Needs at Night’s Edge wasn't a bad book at all, so I’m giving it a B-. I just wish it didn't have any ghosts in it. :-P I'll be looking for the next book, Dark Desires After Dusk which is due out May 20th. That's not a very long wait.
Nath: I’m giving it a B- as well. I guess I just didn’t connect with Conrad… by the way, I can’t wait for Dark Desires After Dusk. I’ve been curious about those demons brothers ever since they appeared in Wicked Deeds on a Winter’s Night. You can read an excerpt here.
ps - Another character whose book I’m looking forward is Murdoch… when did he acquire his secret Bride?