I've loved romance novels since...like forever. I read across most subgenres of romance. I also write fantasy/paranormal and new adult romance.
After two nights of staying up late, I finished Dead of Winter this afternoon. (Home w the kids on a snow-day due to freezing temps. Perfect weather for reading a post-apocalypse story.) I totally loved it. Kresley Cole is an auto-buy author for me and this book lived up to my high expectations. So good.
Evie is on a mission to save Jack from the creepy, evil twins Violet and Vincent. We've seen glimpses of them in previous books. Soooo creepy. She arrives at a fort--created by Jack--that is across a river from the Army of the South, which is controlled by the twins. So close, but so many obstacles stand between her and getting him to safety. Evie could add alliance-building as a super-power because she is great at that throughout Dead of Winter.
Much of the book is spent battling the twins, who hold a serious grudge against Evie. Her previous-game ego the Red Witch was ruthless in picking off Arcana and other cards have spent successive games trying to exact revenge on her. I like the contrast between Evie's desire to end the game and not kill Arcana except in self-defense, along with her utilizing her Red Witch powers.
The subplot is a love-triangle between Evi, Jack, and Aric (Death). I thought the payoff for having these three characters together on a shared mission was great. Lots of tension, plenty of shade, and Evie confused about her feelings. At times I had to remind myself that she's just a teenager because she took SO LONG to resolve her feelings. But, the waffling was true to what she struggled with between both guys in the previous books. Still. Come on, girl!
I loved the inclusion of Tess (the World card) and Joules (the Tower) in the new alliance of cards. We found out more about them and their powers, which was cool. Mathew is his frustratingly (not) helpful self in this installment. One of the things I like to do with this series is re-read it, just because Mathew's phrases make more sense on the second (and third) readings.
I have been hardcore TeamJack since Poison Princess. That hasn't changed. His scenes with Evie are my favorite. Sigh. That Cajun is so easy to root for. I was intrigued when Aric told Jack that there was "something odd" about him. I've had my suspicions....but nothing was confirmed in this book about him. Argh. I loved seeing that while Evie was spending time with Aric (during Endless Knight), Jack had grown too.
The ending was another cliffhanger. I think I yelled as I tapped my Nook, pleading for more pages. Oh, well. It was an exciting read. Sometimes those end with cliffhangers. Can't wait for the next book!!