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Sunday, January 13, 2013

'Shadow's Claim' The Dacians: Realm of Blood and Mist #1 by Kresley Cole

 Received from the Publisher 

From the BLURB:

Trehan Daciano, known as the Prince of Shadows, has spent his life serving his people, striking in the night, quietly executing any threat to their realm. The coldly disciplined swordsman has never desired anything for himself -- until he beholds Bettina, the sheltered ward of two of the Lore's most fearsome villains. 

Desperate to earn her guardians' approval after a life-shattering mistake, young Bettina has no choice but to marry whichever suitor prevails -- even though she's lost her heart to another. Yet one lethal competitor, a mysterious cloaked swordsman, invades her dreams, tempting her with forbidden pleasure. 

Even if Trehan can survive the punishing contests to claim her as his wife, the true battle for Bettina's heart is yet to come. And unleashing a millennium's worth of savage need will either frighten his Bride away -- or stoke Bettina's own desires to a fever pitch...

Trehan Daciano is the vampire master known as ‘Prince of Shadows’, from Dacian. His job is killing and his people and realm do not exist – they are a myth and a rumour, and anybody who is unlucky enough to discover the truth about their existence will find themselves at the pointy end of Trehan’s sword. This is the fate for one man called Caspian, who left the Dacian realm but will not live to speak of it. 

Princess Bettina of Abaddon is twenty-two years old and preparing to have the rest of her life mapped out for her; at least, her love life. After a vicious attack left her powerless, Bettina agreed to let her uncle Raum and godmother Morgana hold a contest to find her a husband – letting a number of vicious warriors from different demon realms fight for her hand, and her crown.

Bettina is hoping that her best friend and soldier, Caspian, will enter into the contest and promise to put aside his Casanova ways to become her husband. But he is adamant that he won’t live through the night, and speaks cryptically of goodbyes on the eve of the contest. 

On the eve of the contest Trehan follows Caspian’s trail to a room . . . and a scent draws him in further, leading him to a beautiful woman sleeping alone who awakes to his presence and starts ravishing him. And with her kiss, Trehan’s dormant heart starts beating. He has found his bride.

‘Shadow’s Claim’ is the first book in a new spin-off series from Kresley Cole’s ‘Immortals After Dark’ series called ‘The Dacians: Realm of Blood and Mist’. 

I loved Kresley Cole’s early books in her ‘Immortals After Dark’. I enjoyed meeting the werewolves, vampires and valkyries which populate her paranormal romance series. But the twelve books in her series were very intricately connected – with each book offering an alternate perspective from previous storylines. But eventually it got to the point where the storylines started to feel a little stale, and I was beginning to hope for a new crop of characters. Lo and behold – Cole brings out a new series which is still set in the same universe as ‘Immortals After Dark’ (and actually, her twelfth ‘Immortals’ book, ‘Lothaire’ gave hints about this new series) but we get a new cast of characters. And while some characters from ‘Immortals’ will still be appearing in this new series (Nyx has a small but adorable cameo, Lothaire is a Daciano vampire) half the fun of this new book is just meeting these new characters and getting excited for their future stories.

I’m excited to get Caspian’s perspective; since he’s set up as a Casanova demon who is unbelievably selfish but possibly on a path to reform, and hopeful that he’ll meet his ‘mate’ one day soon. Then there’s Salem, Bettina of Abaddon’s ‘nanny’ of sorts, who is a phantom/sylph and as punishment for an unknown crime, he can only take form in inanimate objects. Salem is really funny, and he keeps telling Bettina that before he was condemned, he was a real looker and ladies-man (something Bettina’s godmother, Morgana, corroborates). Then there’s Trehan’s intriguing family members – the cousins he constantly battles, one called Viktor is particularly vengeful and delicious and a female cousin called Kosmina who has never been permitted to leave Dacian. I’m looking forward to getting all of these POV books.

But as for ‘Shadow’s Claim’ and Trehan/Bettina’s story – I can’t say I loved it as much as ‘A Hunger Like No Other’, but I did enjoy it more than some of Cole’s most recent books. If the characters faltered anywhere it’s simply in the fact that, compared to the vivaciously funny valkyrie characters, Bettina isn’t quite as interesting. But, in all fairness, Bettina was attacked and as a consequence has become very introverted and afraid to leave the safety of her tower. I understand that Trehan was kind of the perfect match for Bettina, being a warrior and able to protect her, but I would have loved it if there’d been a longer look at Bettina standing on her own two feet. 
“I agreed to the tournament.” 
“Why in the gods’ names would you? And why would you ever surrender your blood for a summoning medallion?” Talismans like that were common enough in the Lore. But the demon had to give up blood willingly for it to work. 
She murmured, “They willed it.” Before he could ask what she meant, she attempted a brisk demeanour. “Once the competition begins, I will be completely prepared to wed whoever may win.” Yet her voice broke a bit on the end.  
Completely prepared – and terrified. 

I love that Coles’s universe is expanding and we are getting a new cast of characters to get excited over. Bettina and Trehan were cute and I enjoyed their romance, but I’m more excited over the possibility of some of the secondary characters around them.

4/5 




2 comments:

  1. I was surprised I liked this as much as i did but I know I couldn't read too many of them without getting bored very quickly

    Shelleyrae @ Book'd Out

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  2. While I don't think it's 100% necessary to read the entire IAD series before reading Shadow's Claim, I do feel that having done so made Shadow's Claim more enjoyable. Reading Lothaire before Shadow's Claim was a definite plus. With that said, IMMORTALS AFTER DARK is an incredible series and should be devoured by paranormal romance lovers far and wide, so take the plunge and get lost in the Lore. You won't be disappointed! :)

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