Shadow Rising by Kendra Leigh Castle (Dark Dynasties #3)
July 31, 2012
Reviewed by Helyce
Ariane may be hundreds of years old, but her life since her turning has been very sheltered. She is of the prestigious and most ancient of the dynasties, the Grigori Dynasty and she’s spent her life hidden away among her people. With no memories of her mortal life, her vampire life is all she knows. Though a highly trained and skilled warrior, she’s never been chosen to leave the walls of the compound in order to venture out into the world, something she longs to do. When her beloved friend Sammael disappears and she is not chosen to look for him, she takes matters into her own hands. Escaping the walls of the only home she’s known, she ventures out into the world to look for Sammael.
Damien Tremaine is a cat shifting vampire for the House of Shadows. A hired assassin, his skills are highly sought after. When he’s hired by the leader of the Grigori to find Sammael, it’s only a matter of time before he crosses paths with Ariane. She is nothing like he expected and he is beguiled by her exquisite beauty. Soon the danger to them both becomes too real and they agree to work together toward their common goal.
Together and with the help of some of the other dynasties, they move forward in their quest, all the while getting closer and closer until they cannot resist their desire for each other. When they uncover the awful truth about the secret the Grigori ancients have been keeping, their bond will be tested as they fight to do the right thing.
This series just keeps getting better and better! In this book, we learn much about the Grigori Dynasty-one of the oldest of the Dynasties and though I shouldn’t have been surprised about their origins because of some of their abilities, I still was-and I loved it. The Grigori have always been the watchers-they observe all, but do not get involved. They keep to themselves, way out in the desert and rarely have they been seen out among the humans. They are not well known and now we know why-they have a huge secret and it could mean the end of the Grigori.
I loved the character of Ariane. While clearly innocent, having been sheltered among the Grigori since her turning, I found her to be a strong woman who made a decision and stuck to it. Her decision to leave was not an easy one, but as Sammael was really her only true friend and confidant among her people, she really felt that she had no choice. Her strength of character comes through as well, and she is never naïve in any way which made her venturing into the human world believable. She is not over trusting, but easily adapts to the world.
I have adored Damien since first meeting him in book one. I just knew that there was more to him than the brooding, aloof and cold assassin persona that he would like everyone to believe about him. Yes, he is an assassin, and he is highly skilled at it, but in Dark Awakening we glimpse just a little bit of a different part of him when he helps Ty and Lily in their quest to free the Cait Sith from the Ptolemy. Then again in Midnight Reckoning, we see him help Jaden and Lyra in their nearly impossible fight. In here, we truly see him in a different light as we watch the walls he has erected start to crumble as Ariane works her way through to his heart.
Of course, this is not an easy task for Ariane and Ms. Castle does a fantastic job building the tension between these two. The attraction is huge, but their reaction to each other is subtle and understated for quite a while. When these two finally come together, you are left without a doubt that they belong together; even as Damien continues to think he can just walk away.
Ms. Castle does the tortured hero very well and Damien does not disappoint. A former slave of the Cait Sith himself, moving to the House of Shadows just made him a slave of another kind. After years of this, it’s not surprising that he thinks so little of himself or that he is undeserving of the happiness that he has with Ariane. Ariane senses Damien’s reluctance and keeps her feelings to herself until she is just unable to do so anymore. Even then, Damien holds back, unable to say the words that Ariane wants to hear.
The final conflict in this installment brings together the heads of each of the Dynasties as they attempt to fight the Grigori to make sure their plan is not successful. It’s a fabulous set up for what is to come as the Dynasty heads confirm their long held suspicion that one of the Dynasty leaders is weak and near death and a weak dynasty is a Dynasty just waiting to be taken over. Additionally, the secret of the Grigori is left somewhat unresolved and I imagine that this too could come back to haunt them.
I’ve been a fan of Ms. Castle for a while and this series will not disappoint. With each book, I am drawn ever deeper into the world she’s created. She writes with subtle humor which I love and her world building is incredible. I love how she is able to describe and include details without it being overwhelming to the reader. She also writes great sex scenes that have you believing in the couple’s love long before they admit it to themselves. I cannot wait for the next book, Immortal Craving, due out in February 2013.