For What It's Worth

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Guest Review: Eternal Kiss of Darkness by Jeaniene Frost

Tiger Holland from All Consuming Books has been doing guest reviews and posts on For What It's Worth for a few months now. I've asked her to be a regular contributor to my blog and she agreed so I got her a spiffy new banner of her very own (by Parajunkee Design) Whenever you see this banner you'll know it's a post by Tiger!

Eternal Kiss of Darkness
Eternal Kiss of Darkness (Night Huntress World, Book 2)Jeaniene Frost
Avon, 2010

In this second book in the Night Huntress universe, Mencheres, a 4,000-year-old master vampire
(and ex-pharaoh!) has hit a dark place in his life. His visions of the future have disappeared, and
all he can foresee for himself is impending death and nothingness. But when Kira, a human private
investigator, shows up as he's being butchered by a gang of ghouls and tries to save him, he's awed
by her bravery even as he's forced to hold her in custody for a few days until he can wipe her
memories of the incident. But her memories aren't erasing so easily, and Mencheres quickly learns
that when Kira's involved, almost nothing goes according to plan—not even his own plans for death.

Oh, this is a good one. In the Night Huntress books, Mencheres was just another character to me, an
ancient, aloof friend of the protagonists, but he really shines in his own book. His personality type isn't
one I'm used to—for one thing, he's a few thousand years old, so he has a different take on the world
than either Bones or Spade, previous heroes from this world who are only a couple of centuries old.
Mencheres has seen, heard, and done enough that almost nothing truly surprises him. He's not cold or
unfeeling in the slightest, but he comes across that way if you don't have access to his POV, which is
why it's such a revelation to jump back and forth between Kira and Mencheres' thoughts—you get to
see the very strong contrast between the way he's perceived and what he's actually like, inside his head.

In some ways, I think Mencheres is almost a beta hero. His powers are beyond comprehending but
he lets Kira make most of her decisions for herself, he wants to be near her but gives her so much
space and freedom that she's not even sure that he's interested in her, and he wants to keep her with
him but lets her go. So sweet! He commands respect and expects his orders to be obeyed by everyone,
but Mencheres never blusters or goes into a snarling rage—his anger is quieter and results in more
instantaneous beheadings. His deeply-buried vulnerability is heartbreaking to witness, and once
he's fallen for Kira, he's constantly expecting her rejection, since his past is checkered at best. It's so
endearing to read about this character with near-limitless power who can still be hurt by a brush-off
from the one he loves, and be reassured and encouraged by her acceptance.

As for Kira, I liked her instantly. She's daring and brave, but not full of false bravado, and she keeps
a clear head in crisis situations, which is how she meets Mencheres in the first place. When she
hears someone screaming in pain, she calls the police, then goes to check on it herself, because she
has police training, has a gun, and knows that if she waits, the tortured person might die. Turns out,
Mencheres doesn't need her help, but that doesn't negate the beauty of what she's done, and he can
barely get it out of his mind. One of the difficulties I run into in paranormal romance is the problem of
actually believing that a guy who is centuries or millennia older than his lady could possibly develop
an interest in her. Here, I believe it completely. Mencheres has every reason to be fascinated by Kira,
who is smart, compassionate, and willing to risk her life to help others. Kira has a younger sister
with a chronic disease, and her scenes with her sister are absolutely beautiful, and even better when
Mencheres is listening in, because you get to see his realization of how genuine and tenderhearted Kira
can be.

Together, they have a great dynamic and share a lot of funny moments. When Mencheres takes Kira
back to one of his mansions to wait for a few days until he can properly erase her memories (she's
immune to mind-wiping, but he hopes the situation will change), Kira waits a few hours and tries to
escape out the window of her third-floor bedroom. She manages to create a makeshift rope out of
sheets, drapes, and shower curtains, and actually makes it to the ground intact and starts running for the
woods. Of course, she doesn't actually get away because Mencheres has been watching her progress the
whole time and his reaction to her is escape is to think it's incredibly cute. But then when she confronts
him, he's sorry for being amused at her expense, though more than anything, he's amazed that she was
savvy enough to carry out such an escape.

Eternal Kiss of Darkness isn't just about the developing romance, though. In true Jeaniene Frost style,
the great dialogue and scenes that promote character growth are balanced with thrilling action scenes
and lots of nasty threats lying in wait for the MC's. Mencheres' old enemy Radejef is a constant source
of trouble in this book, and he worked well as a villain, because I couldn't abide him. He's jealous of
Mencheres' power and has been since they were young rulers in Egypt, and though he's vicious and
unscrupulous, he's somehow managed to become a Law Guardian among vampires, a position that
makes him untouchable, like diplomatic immunity. Radejef wrecks so many things for Mencheres, I
kept going, “Can't a guy catch a break already?” He's so slimy and deceptive, you'll be longing for him
to get his just desserts.

And as a final added bonus, we get guest appearances from Cat and Bones—appearances that make
perfect sense in the context of the novel and give it added depth rather than seeming forced. We
also see a fair bit of Vlad, and Kira and Vlad's first exchange is delightful: “You're not the real
Dracula, are you?” “Does no one think to warn people before they meet me?” (pg 263) Vlad's
book is coming next, I'm guessing, and I'll be thrilled to read it after thoroughly enjoying this story,
but my only real question now is, who do I have to beg/bribe/pester in order to get Ian's book?

Rating: 3.5 out of 4 stars.

Author's website:
Buy the book! Eternal Kiss of Darkness (Night Huntress World, Book 2)


  1. I really enjoyed this one too:) I was worried about Mencheres as it seems we all were, wasn't sure I was going to find him interesting or attractive, but I love what Jeaniene did with him. And I will bribe, beg, and pester right along with you for Ian's book:)

  2. Great review! I LOVE this series. I love all Jeaniene Frost's books!
    If your interested, I have a review as well:

  3. Nice review! Regarding books from Vlad and Ian, Jeaniene recently commented on that on the Barnes & Noble blog. Summary can be found here:

  4. Thanks for the reivew Tiger - it's funny how none of pictured Mencheres as good Jeaniene never lead us to believe otherwise but we all thought he would be boring and ugly!

    @engarde - thanks for that link. I like Vlad but it's Ian I would love to read about!!

  5. Yay, just bought this and have it in my purse but haven't started reading it yet. Nice review!

  6. Loved Vlad in this. the scene where he's in the living room with Kiara made me laugh out loud (and scare the OH!). If there was a Vlad book i think it would be hilarious.
    The whole story was great, you didnt even really need the cameo from Cat & Bones and i no longer see Mencheres as a old creepy man :-D

  7. Welcome Tiger, a great review - I love the idea of a master vampire and an ex pharoah.

  8. Hey Tiger! Yeah, I'm with you on the Ian book :D Apart from Spade and, obviously, Cat and Bones, he and Justina are two of my favourite characters!! (",)

    I have Eternal Kiss of Darkness but it's kind of just sitting there, lol, Mencheres doesn't seem like a particularly interesting character ... one day I'll get to it ...

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