Type: Paranormal Romance
My Copy: Sent
#1 New York Times bestselling author Kresley Cole introduces The Dacians: Realm of Blood and Mist, a new paranormal series following the royal bloodline of Dacia, a vampire kingdom hidden within the Lore of the Immortals After Dark.
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.
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 may have just contracted the Kresley Cole fever….because I really enjoyed Shadow’s Claim! After finishing this in one sitting, I have the itch to go back at read her Immortals After Dark series, which I own but have never gotten into (I’m ready for my tar and feathering). Shadow’s Claim is a spin off series of Immortals After Dark and takes place after Lothaire’s book in that series. Now, I don’t live under a rock and so I’ve heard readers rave about Cole and her IAD series, so I knew who Lothaire was, but not reading that series before did not interfere with my understanding of this book at all.
What really made this book for me was Bettina and Trehan. Regardless of all the lore and complex world building (or in lovers of Cole’s case, continual world building) that was spot on, but the growing relationship between these two was what pulled me in. Bettina, a virgin princess and heir to her throne, is being auctioned off to the winner of a brutal and bloody contest for her hand in marriage. Suffering from acute panic attacks and her power stolen, she needs a protector but the thought of some of these warriors being her husband unnerves her. She only craves the touch of a man who doesn’t return her feelings, her best friend Caspian. Until she mistakes Caspian for the man who steals into her bedroom late one night. Trehan knows instantly she’s his chosen bride because after centuries of not living, his body is suddenly in the throes of a mating lust. A rare Dacian assassin, he lives in shadow and he leaves no one alive who has seen him. Leaving all that behind for a chance with Bettina comes as a easy choice. Convincing Bettina of his determination to have her and Caspian’s unwillingness to love her become his top priority and he joins the competition to win her hand.
I loved the gradual warm up Bettina experienced with Trehan while realizing her love for Caspian wasn’t a romantic feeling. She’s young compared to Trehan and so her confusion of her emotions was easily understood but no less as aggravating. I don’t usually enjoy the virgin heroine as much as I enjoyed Bettina. Cole’s depiction of her warring personality and her set backs in her recovery from the attack made her seem very human. Trehan was patient and his protective nature made him extremely endearing to me. Even a fierce warrior such as himself can be gentle.
I would have liked the competition to be a bit shorter and perhaps the dispatching of Bettina’s enemies to actually be shown. In fact I wish they would have tried to attack her again so we could truly see Trehan’s passion and protectiveness first hand. I wasn’t a fan of how that was handled in the book and thought it really took away from what the reader got to experience. There needed to be a bit more threat to Bettina. It felt unfinished in that respect for me.
All in all I enjoyed this one. Kresley Cole lovers will no doubt agree with me. If you’ve never read a Cole book, like myself, this would be a good starting point and as a first book in a new series, it’s well done. I’m really looking forward to continuing this series and learning more about the elusive Dacians and the powers they posses!
I give Shadow’s Claim by Kresley Cole 4 stars!