Sunday 16 February 2014

#CBR6 Book 15: "Endless Knight" by Kresley Cole

Page count: 320 pages
Rating: 2 stars

This is book two in The Arcana Chronicles and as such not the best place to start. This review will contain spoilers for book one in the series, Poison Princess, which is also where you want to begin, if you're interested in the series. Although if you read my review of that book, why would you actually want to read the books at all? Still, Kiala over on Vaginal Fantasy Hangout seems to love them, so what do I know?

At the end of Poison Princess, Evangeline, or Evie, or the Empress, or God Woman would you wake up and get a better taste in menfolk, as I like to think of her, has just made her first kill and stepped into the Game properly. She's accepted her powers and earned the awe in some cases and grudging respect in others among those of her companions who are also Arcana. Of course, Jack, her Bayou gutter trash object of her affection, now seems horrified by her. Matthew, the Aspergic kid who can also see visions of all the other players, seems to think that it's for the best that they are on the outs.

Upon Evie's defeat of the Hermit, it also sent a signal to all the other players nearby that the Empress is fair game, and the group are soon running from the zombie-like Baggers, hordes of cannibals and trying to stay hidden from other Arcana while travelling through the rain, mud and hostile terrain of the mountains. As they travel, Evie tries to discover if Jack is lost to her forever. They have finally settled their differences when Death, the current Arcana champion and his allies ambush them in the mountains. He takes Evie prisoner, determined to make her pay for the Empress' actions in earlier games. Evie can't remember and insists she is nothing like her earlier incarnations, and Death seems unable to forgive and forget.

As was quite obvious, Death is the third side of the inevitable paranormal love triangle. He does have going for him that he's not Jack, that he's got a big ol' mansion and clearly lots of style, he spends most of his time reading or fighting to improve his fighting prowess and impressive physique. Yet he acts like a total tool most of the time. When we finally discover what the Empress did to Death in previous games, it's clear that he has reason to be really pissy, but considering Evie isn't ACTUALLY physically the woman who broke his heart and then jumped on it with spiky shoes (metaphorically), his torturing of her, physically and emotionally, comes off as extremely unnecessary and cruel.

Evie spends the first half moping about Jack and slogging through mud, and despite her misgivings about surrendering her virginity in the previous book, now has no problem running off to canoodle with her drunken redneck suitor in while they're being pursued by all manner of dangerous individuals. She then spends most of the other half of the book pining for Jack, yet sending Matthew mental orders about keeping him far away, because she's afraid that he'll get killed if he tries to rescue her. Apparently the Empress is Death's only weakness, as she is the only person he can touch who won't die (ah, Kresley Cole and your convoluted ways to create fated mates). It's why a lot of the Arcana want to kill Evie - so they can further weaken the most powerful player. The rest want her to get close to him and seduce him, so she can kill him when his guard is down.

Even if he's an unreasonable tool, I did sort of like Death (or Aric, as his real name is). He's clearly had a pretty shitty existence, living through centuries alone and unable to touch anyone but a wicked temptress who's chief goal is to kill him. I don't approve of his hurting young women needlessly, though, no matter how cool his library and humongous mansion is. His actions towards the end of the book are also pretty reprehensible. Really, Evie has dreadful taste in men. I honestly haven't made up my mind whether I'll be reading any more of the series or not. Still, Kresley Cole's books are a bit like crack - so very addictive even when you know they're bad. I suspect that sooner or later I won't be able to contain myself, if only to discover which of the dudes Evie ends up with, and what major Arcana Jack is shockingly revealed to be in the next book (cause I promise you this will happen).

Crossposted on Cannonball Read.

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