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.
I should begin this review by saying that I am a Kresley Cole fangirl. I absolutely adore everything she writes and would probably even read her shopping list...if there was commentary. That being said, I was a little hesitant about starting the Dacians series which is a spin-off of Cole's super popular Immortals After Dark books. But, I'm glad to say that all my hesitations were for naught and I found Shadow's Claim to be a fabulously entertaining book with everything that I could ask for in a Cole paranormal romance.
What I Liked
1. One thing that always resonates with me about Kresley Cole's writing is her ability to build and explain the nuances of a complex supernatural world. For many writers, trying to keep all the species involved in the Lore world and their histories straight would be an almost impossible task. Shadow's Claim shows Ms. Cole's ability to deftly provide explanations into the world without every resorting to information dump chapters or monologues. Also, I think she did a great job providing valuable knowledge for newbies to the world without making the longtime fans bored.
2. Kresley Cole is amazing at providing readers with sexy, tortured heroes that always are in need of a good hug. And Trehan Daciano is not different! I fell head over heels for this lonely vampire who acts as the assassin for his secretive home kingdom. He is truly a lone wolf who has spent his much of immortal life providing security for his family and not letting anyone get close to him. These type of characters always find their way into my heart especially when they begin to feel something special for another person for the first time.
3. I've seen a few reviews of this book that commented on the lack of strength from the heroine, Bettina. While I found her a little annoying at parts, I thought she had a kind of quiet strength especially when one thinks about the horrors that she went through at the beginning. Yes, she was a little wishy washy when it came to choosing who she truly wanted to be with, Trehan or Caspion, but I found it to be understandable considering her past. Overall, I thought Bettina was a flawed, but admirable heroine.
4. A major part of the plot in this book involves a tournament where different beings compete in order to win the hand of Bettina, heir to the demon throne. I found this to be a creative and highly entertaining aspect that really kept me turning pages. Every element of the tournament was unique and had a purpose towards the greater story. I was especially interested in all the demons that entered and their different reasons for wanting Bettina, appropriate or not.
5. And the final aspect of Shadow's Claim that I enjoyed was the cameos of the Immortals After Dark characters. While this book is part of a spin-off series, it was nice to see some old favorites like Lothaire, the MacRieve brothers, and, of course, Nucking Futs Nix herself! Sometimes authors put previously featured characters just as background, but Kresley Cole really utilized these appearances by showing the continuity of the Lore world.
What I Didn't Like
1. My major issue with Shadow's Claim has to do with my personal preference rather than a flaw with the actual storyline. I am not a huge fan of the fated mate storyline, though Ms. Cole utilizes it fairly well in her paranormals. While I enjoyed the romance especially towards the beginning, I did have difficulty with the introduction of Bettina and Trehan's relationship. It seemed like the initial development of the love story relied too heavily on the fate aspect rather than the standard getting to know you portion.
I really enjoyed this spin-off to Kresley Cole's IAD paranormal romance series. The characters were well-developed and the action was appropriately balanced with the romance. Ms. Cole continues to impress me with her worldbuilding and storytelling and I look forward to more of her work. Highly recommended!
The Dacians: The Realm of Blood and Mist
1. Shadow's Claim
BOOK CHALLENGE ENTRY