Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Shadow's Claim Book Review *Kresley Cole*

Synopsis: Shadow's Claim features Prince Trehan, a ruthless master assassin who will do anything to possess Bettina, his beautiful sorceress mate, even compete for her hand in a blood-sport tournament—to the death.

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.

When I get my hands on a new Kresley Cole release, I seriously squeal (or rather, squee) like a little girl. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again- I bow down at the altar of Kresley because her paranormal romances are so darn good. She rates highly, oh so highly next to Nalini Singh, Meljean Brook, Gena Showalter and JR Ward. I thought Kresley had reached her pinnacle with Lothaire (which is pronounced Lothair after I asked Kresley because it’s been irking me on how to say his name. For some reason I kept saying Lothairy in my head). But then Kresley releases Shadow’s Claim, book 1 in her Dacians: Realm of Blood and Mist spinoff series from her Immortals After Dark series

The Dacians were introduced in Lothaire’s book. Lothaire’s goal was to try and find the Dacia realm and become the king, which happens at the end of his book. Shadow’s Claim takes place during the time period of Lothaire, and features his cousin. Trehan Dacino, one of the heirs to the throne, and his future Bride of another demon realm, Bettina of Abaddon who will be the queen there. Bettina has spent time on Earth, attending college and making friends. But one night at a party, her enemy, the Vrekeners captures her and torture her to the point she’s near death. They steal her power, which is like rape. Bettina is known as the Queen of Hearts and can stop a being’s heart from beating. She returns to Abaddon broken, a former shell of herself. Her godfather Raum, the current ruler, and her godmother, Morgana vow revenge, along with Caspion, the handsome demon male Bettina is in love with. Bettina always thought she was lacking because she’s half demon (Morgana fondly calls her freakling) and is plain and unassuming. Bettina also likes to make weapons and is very skilled at it. Months after her attack, her attackers haven’t been caught and she lives in fear even in her own kingdom. She agrees to be the prize in a tournament to the death where the winner will not only be her king but own the medallion that controls her.

Caspion did a bad thing. He was welcomed to Dacia but left, which once you’re in Dacia, you can’t leave. He’s been marked for death because of it and Trehan must find Caspion and assassinate him. He can become mist or a shadow, thus the title- Prince of Shadows. He tracks Caspion to Abaddon and ends up in Bettina’s bedroom. He spies the princess and is awed by her. She awakens, thinking he’s Caspion (Bettina got drunk and it’s very dark in her bedroom). Trehan's body starts to react in ways it hasn’t in centuries. Bettina is his mate, his Bride (something readers of the IAD series understand full well). He almost seduces Bettina, she calls out Caspion’s name and let’s just say Trehan’s insulted. He wants to claim Bettina, but she thinks she’s in love with Caspion. Trehan will enter the tournament and win Bettina, while trying to seduce her along the way. But then Caspion also enters to save Bettina, and now it may come down to both men fighting to death not only for Bettina’s hand but to become Abaddon’s ruler.

Shadow’s Claim had me hook, line and sinker. I loved this book so much! Kresley is on her A game with this one. Everything here is intense from the fighting and the loving. Because Bettina is a virgin, Trehan treats her with extreme care. The man is quite the kisser and the make out scenes between these two are hotter than hot. I seriously was fanning myself. Both feel misunderstood by their friends and family, and they bond because of this. Bettina and Trehan falling for one another is a beautiful thing. Trehan may live a brutal lifestyle but underneath it all he’s a gentleman at heart.

Kresley’s trademark humor is here, mainly from Morgana and the impish Salem, a horny demon who's cursed and can only become solid if he inhabits things. He's Bettina’s guardian and he’s bawdy and crude. Also there’s a cameo by Nix that really made me happy. Also Lothaire and Elizabeth show up toward the end in a pretty funny scene where they're all kissy-kissy with one another. The world building here is astounding, so much so, I don’t know how Kresley does it all.

Shadow’s Claim is another winner from Kresley. I can’t get enough of this world and these characters she has created. I yearn for the next book in this series as much as the other books in her Immortal After Dark series that has become an obsessive read for me. Shadow’s Claim is one of the best paranormal romances I read this year from an author who always succeeds in delivering a mind blowing story. (Pocket Books)

Final Grade: A-

A few other Shadow's Claim reviews:
Bookish Brunette
Paranormal Haven