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REVIEW: A Hunger Like No Other by Kresley Cole

Dear Ms. Cole,

A variety of supernatural beings walk the earth in the world you have created in this book. The heroine, Emmaline Troy, is half-vampire, half-Valkyrie. Her Valkyrie mother died in childbirth and Emma has been raised by the Valkyries, warrior maidens who don’t know anything about her vampire father.

A Hunger Like No Other by Kresley ColeVampires are capable of great evil and are enemies of the Valkyries, and therefore it’s surprising that a Valkyrie and a vampire would ever create a child together. So Emma feels like neither fish nor fowl. Unlike her aunts, she is not much of a warrior. She is gentle and terrified of vampires, even though she is half vampire herself.

Lachlain MacRieve is a a Lykae (werewolf) and the leader of his clan. But everyone thinks he is dead because for a hundred and fifty years he has been chained by the vampires’ leader in an eternal fire beneath Paris. Each Lykae has a predestined mate and once each one finds his or her mate, they remain with them for life. Lykae have always mated with other Lykae, but now Lachlain has become an exception to this rule. His predestined mate is Emma, and when he picks up her scent from above, he wants to be with her so much that he tears off his own leg to escape the chain that holds him. (Luckily, the leg grows back).

It’s not until Lachlain finds Emma that he realizes she is a vampire (he does not know about the Valkyrie half). After the way the vampires have tortured him for decades, he loathes them all, but he can’t let go of Emma. Neither can he decide what to do with her. One moment he is all over her and the next he is threatening her. It takes him a while to get over what he suffered and to calm down and realize that part vampire or not, Emmaline really is his mate and he doesn’t want any harm to come to her.

Emma is both attracted to Lachlain and at first, afraid of him. She agrees to help him to get to his home in Scotland and later, when she learns that she may be in danger from some murderous vampires, she decides that it’s not such a bad idea to stick close to him. Unlike Lachlain, Emma isn’t so big on the lifemate concept, but the attraction she feels for Lachlain grows stronger and while dealing with adversity she begins to get over her fears and become strong.

For me A Hunger Like No Other was one of those potato chip books. It was hard to stop at one page or even a hundred, but ultimately, it wasn’t all that satisfying.

Lachlain was a guilty pleasure kind of hero, a bit of a Neanderthal but enjoyable for all that. Emmaline was a sympathetic heroine. I was prepared to dislike her wimpiness, but I didn’t. A Hunger Like No Other is at its strongest when Lachlain and Emma are alone, but as they are joined by other immortals, the book begins to suffer from the preponderance of too many different types of creatures. There are Valkyries and vampires and Lykae and Wraiths and witches and ghouls and demons and by the end, my ability to suspend disbelief only extended so far.

I’m also getting a little tired of paranormals in which the hero is the leader of a pack of creatures who mate for life and the heroine is &emdash; you guessed it &emdash; his mate. I know, that describes at least a third of the paranormal subgenre. But that’s exactly my point. This premise has only been around for a few years and already it’s getting to feel overused.

I’m sure that it’s possible to make that concept feel completely new to me, but it isn’t easy, and this book did not accomplish that feat. I will say this, though: when Lachlain and Emma finally get around to having werewolf-Valkyrie sex, it was pretty darn hot.

Ultimately, this book is a very guilty pleasure, and my opinion is that readers looking for something deep or meaningful or intellectually stimulating should probably skip it. Readers who want to entertain themselves for a few hours without thinking too hard, and who like paranormals, alpha heroes, and over-the-top sex might enjoy this one. As for me, A Hunger Like No Other left me hungry for something more substantial. C+.

Sincerely,

Janine

This book can be purchased in mass market from Amazon or Powells or ebook format.

Janine Ballard loves well-paced, character-driven books. Examples include novels by Shana Abe, Loretta Chase, Patricia Gaffney, Cecilia Grant, Judith Ivory, Carolyn Jewel, Laura Kinsale, Julie Anne Long, Alison Richardson, Nalini Singh and Pam Rosenthal. Janine also writes fiction. Her critique partners are Sherry Thomas, Meredith Duran and Bettie Sharpe. Her erotic short story, "Kiss of Life", appears in the Berkley anthology AGONY/ECSTASY under the pen name Lily Daniels. You can email Janine at janineballard at gmail dot com. or find her on Twitter @janine_ballard.

7 Comments

  1. Robin
    Oct 21, 2006 @ 10:21:10

    Although my comfort food is Sees candy rather than potato chips, I agree with a lot of your review, Janine; I would just have given the book a B-, because it had that mediocrity with flair factor for me. There were a number of things about this book I should have hated — the captivity scenario, the heroine’s initial passivity, the loony Valkyrie women, the alpha werewolf — but that ultimately Cole made work for me. Personally, while there is, IMO, a lot of candy in the genre these days, there’s not a lot of good candy. And despite its myriad flaws and overused elements, that I found this book compulsively enjoyable made it go down like good candy for me.

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  2. Keishon
    Oct 21, 2006 @ 19:11:39

    Well, I had started this book and then put it down. It just didn’t “grab me”. I agree with you about needing something more substantial. I may give this book another try in future but what I did read – just wasn’t impressed.

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  3. Janine B
    Oct 23, 2006 @ 20:42:19

    I loved this book. Intellectually stimulating it may not be. But it was fun, held a good steady pace, and I’ll go as far to say that the heroine was a good dynamic character. Lachlain was definately alpha, but that’s my preferred hero… Yes, Anna Quindlen would find fault with me for that I’m sure. :)

    I also found the Valkyrie characters a rather funny, zany group that added some needed humor to keep this book from taking itself too seriously.

    This book caught me on all fronts, and I’m a autobuy for the next one releasing soon. I’d never read any of Cole’s historicals, but the cover caught my eye on this one. And i’m glad it did.

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  4. Janine
    Oct 25, 2006 @ 11:12:59

    I apologize for taking so long to respond to the posts here and I hope you guys still see my reply.

    Robin, I know that a lot of people liked this book even better than I did, and that’s part of why I said in my review that A Hunger Like No Other could be enjoyed on the level of pure entertainment.

    Regarding my grade, I based it on the grading system here at Dear Author:

    C: Eh. Not bad but I probably would never read it again

    Although this book was fun in its way, I’ll probably never read it again, which is why my grade was closer to C than to B. I’m not at all sorry I read it, though, which is more than I can say for some other books.

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  5. Janine
    Oct 25, 2006 @ 11:27:08

    Keishon, I get the impression that you enjoyed what you read of the book less than I did since it did actually grab me. For me it was addictive, but at the same time, I was hoping for more from it.

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  6. Janine
    Oct 25, 2006 @ 11:34:50

    I’m glad you loved the book, Janine B. I agree that it was fun. I like alpha heroes too, though I prefer them with more subtlety than Lachlain had. The Valyries were a little too zany for me. A review is just one person’s opinion, though, and I am sure there are lots of readers who would disagree with me.

    I understand why the cover caught your eye. Although I’m not usually fond of clinch covers, this one got my attention.

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  7. Janine B
    Oct 25, 2006 @ 12:06:19

    I usually abhor clinch covers. This cover, however, screamed -sexy.- ? LOL! I actually noticed and passed over this book several times before I bought it. Normally, it takes a good recommend for me to purchase a new author, and Kresley Cole was an unknown to me.

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