Title: Shadow’s Claim
Author: Kresley Cole
Series: Immortals After Dark, #13
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Pocket (Imprint of Simon & Schuster)
Date Published: November 27th, 2012
He won’t be denied…
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.
She’s bound to another…
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.
A battle for her body and soul…
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…
Shadow’s Claim is the first book in Kresley Cole’s new Dacians series. At first I thought this might be an entirely different world from her Immortals After Dark Series, but it’s actually a series-within-a-series. Not really a spin-off, but a branch per se. The same over-arcing storyline involving the Accession and Nix trying to line up allies is going on — she even makes a few discreet appearances in the background. So I was happy to see this because I knew I’d love it.
The main difference I noticed in this “series” though is that it’s not as sarcastic/witty. But, I think that has to do more with the characters’ personalities than anything. We’ve moved away from sassy Valkyries and cocky Lykaes. Instead we have a rather mysterious race of vampires known as the Dacians. They appeared in Lothaire’s book where we learned a bit about them but in this book we learn a bit more. They are a race of vampires who have taken to hiding in the mountains and mist to prevent a vampire disease that wiped out the majority of female vampires in the world from spreading to them. They rarely come out of the mist except in the case where someone like Trehan needs to hunt down a person who has entered their realm and then left, because that’s the one rule about coming into their territory — you can never leave for fear of their existence becoming known and therefore their safety being hindered.
Like most books by Kresley Cole this one was very well-written and layered. The time-line falls pretty much simultaneous to Lothaire’s book. While I did miss the sarcastic females and cocky males in this one, I can’t help but appreciate that even without the touches of humor, this book grabbed me at page one and held me into the story.
Trehan is an interesting vampire. He isn’t necessarily afraid or intimidated by finding his Bride like most of the vampires we’ve met in the IAD series. Instead, he’s thrilled and has determined that he will do anything to win over his Bride’s affections — even if that Bride is already in love with someone else. I found him to be really refreshing and fell for him quickly. He’s a bit old-fashioned because of the nature of his secluded race, but I thought that aspect of him was kind of sweet. Bettina is a bit innocent and a little immature, but she’s also been through a lot in her life and now she’s being forced to question all of her feelings when she meets Trehan. Their romance was well-written and while they both felt physical attraction for each other I think that their deeper feelings were gradually explored and I really felt them falling in love slowly along the way.
Overall I’m not surprised that I loved this book. The Immortals After Dark is by far my favorite paranormal romance series and one of my favorite all-time series’ around. If you’re interested in this book or any other book in the series they can be read as stand-alones but I recommend reading them in order because of the over-arcing Accession storyline, which I believe will come into larger play in the future books. Kresley also likes to introduce us to characters well-before they get their full book so we can have a taste for them and therefore be even more excited once their love story finally does come around. For example, just one of the new characters we meet in this book is Salem — who I can’t wait to read more about! So seriously pick up this series if you’re a fan of paranormal romance because you won’t regret it!
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