Shadow’s Claim by Kresley Cole (The Dacians: Realm of Blood and Mist #1)
November 27, 2012
Reviewed by Mandi
This book starts a spin-off series from Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark series. The Dacians are briefly introduced to us in Lothaire, and since I love that series, I was eager to read this book.
The world building is quite confusing early on in this book but I’ll set up the hero and heroine for you. Trehan Daciano is an immortal Vampire known as The Prince of Shadows. He lives in the Realm of Blood and Mist and works as an assassin keeping his realm a secret. He basically has no life, and only lives for duty. He fights with his cousins over being a contender for the crown. Since he is a Kresley Cole vampire, he hasn’t had a boner since he reached his immortality hundreds of years ago. (I love that she tortures her vampires like this).
The heroine Bettina is a half demon half soceri. She was attacked by Vrkeners, her mortal enemies who stole her powers and tortured her beyond anything she had ever experienced. She fears them now, which makes her feel weak. Her BFF is a man named Caspion who is a man-ho, but she is in love with him. He treats her more like a sister which makes her sad. Her godparents want her protected so they invite anyone from the Lore to fight in a tournament to the death and the last one standing will wed Bettina. She isn’t happy about this.
Trehan makes it to her realm to kill Caspion who knows where the Mist realm lies. When Trehan sees Bettina, his heart starts beating and he gets a massive woody. He decides to enter the tournament to win Bettina’s hand in marriage. Caspion enters too. Let the games begin.
The first few chapters in this book are very heavy on world building and really drag this story down. I was confused by what happened to the heroine and what role Trehan was to play in all of this. But I continued to read and eventually everything falls into place. This is very much a Kresley Cole book, and by that I mean, Trehan is extremely possessive and caveman-like in his affection for Bettina. Once he is blooded, she is all he can think about. He gives up his family and his home for her. He punishes himself for not knowing she existed when she was hurt so bad by the Vrekners. He will basically do anything for her. I’m not sure how I feel about Trehan. I enjoy Kresley Cole’s super alpha, possessive heroes. But at the same time I feel like I’ve read Trehan before. He was so predictable and felt almost recycled. I love Kresley Cole’s voice, but I got a little bored with Trehan this time.
What I liked about Bettina is that she has fear. Many of Cole’s immortals are so fearless and violent. Bettina can barely walk outside for fear of another attack. Trehan not only protects her but he gives her confidence. He pushes her into situations she feels she can’t do, and of course if there is trouble, he does come calling. Bettina pushes him away a lot, as she thinks she has feelings for Caspion and just Trehan’s intense nature is a lot for her to take. Because of that, we get really great sexual tension in this book.
Kresley Cole is also known for her snark and we get a little of that with Bettina’s godparents Raum and Morgana and a phantom that follows Bettina around. I also love when Kresley Cole puts a tournament or games in her books and the outcome of the tournament to win Bettina’s hand is a fun one.
This very much felt like an Immortal After Dark book, which is fine with me but like I said above, it is predictable. It’s also heavy in the world building and had more of an old world tone to it. I liked it, but I could have liked it a lot more.