Great start to an epic series
Sixteen year old Alexander may be the heir to the throne, but he knows all too well where the true power lies. In this world of Aesarian Lords, dark magic and betrayal, he has a lot to prove. Then he meets Kat, from Erissa. The two share a deep, inexplicable connection that supersedes romance. But Kat has her own secrets and her own mission to accomplish.
There are a few truly unique aspects to this book that make it stand out. The first, is the history. Clearly, great effort has gone into researching and writing scenes that are historically accurate, right down to the textures and smells. This was perhaps also the one downfall for me. At times, I felt that there was just a little too much detail in some of the scenes, and this affected the pacing. There were also times, in the beginning of the story, when I wondered what the end game or goal of some of the characters were (most noticeably Alexander) and this left me feeling somewhat lost.
The second ‘stand-out’ feature, was the POV and tense. I think this is the first book I’ve read that is written in a third person, present tense. At first, I found it a tad disconcerting, but really, it works for this story. The tense drives the action forward and the POV allows the author to delve into the motives and emotions of the pivotal characters. The alternating POVs also works well in this story as there is clearly more than one person’s story to tell here, and the various POV’s helped me to connect to the characters.
Thirdly, the writing style of the author is poetic and beautiful, with a decidedly dark edge to it. I love reading every sentence and relished each description. Herman has managed to create a world of darkness, magic and death, injected with fierce pride and intrigue. This is a fantastic start to what promises to be an epic series.
What a difference an ending makes
Derek and Sofia are deep in the heart of hunter territory. Her father, the leader of the hunters, wants nothing more than to kill the man Sofia loves, and her mother wants her dead. Back at the Shade, Derek’s father is brewing rebellion and the vampire clans are threatening war. Then there’s also the fact that Sofia is immune, and Derek has had a taste of her blood. Will the two star-crossed lovers ever find true sanctuary?
I had this one pegged as another five star, brilliant addition to the series…until around about the last chapter. The entire scene with Boris knocked the series down a rating or two for me. Every book has been building Derek into the warrior who would give his life to protect Sofia – and then he just stands back and let’s her get taken and beaten…This was completely out of character and disappointed me. The introduction of the ‘original’ seemed so haphazard and last minute too, like the author needed to quickly insert a reason to write the next novel.
The rest of the novel was quite good, actually. I enjoyed the mind games and detailed backstories of the supporting characters, especially Ingrid. The various POVs, once again, provided a unique and effective way to tell this story. I love the fact that Ms Forrest does not just allow you to write the villains off as ‘bad’. She provides enough backstory to make it difficult to hate any of the characters, no matter how devious they may appear.
There was a definite move ‘outwards’ in this novel from the nucleus of Derek and Sofia’s relationship. Many of the ‘minor’ characters evolved, and there was still some lovely character development, most notably with Claudia and Gregor. The theme of ‘good wins out over evil’ was nicely carried with these two characters.
I’ve loved this series from book 1, but must admit that the last chapter really put a spoke in the wheel for me. I’m honestly not sure if I will continue the series.
Charlie O’Malley has a rare blood type. She’s required to be registered with the government and severely at risk for premature death and…vampire attack. So when Charlie’s grandmother shows up on her doorstep and whisks her away, telling her that everything the government has told them about vampires is false, she’s understandably confused. Then she meets Killian, a vampire she feel inexplicably and powerfully drawn to. But who can she really trust in this twisted conspiracy?
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. The premise is fresh, the fantasy world full and convincing, and the characters passionate. Charlie’s character undergoes a clear transformation and her relationship with Killian is intense and riveting. The involvement of the government makes the story that much bigger, involving more than just the usual two characters and upping the stakes. The vampire characters of Rhiannon and Roland are equally dark and powerful, hinting at a rich back-story. Roxy is sassy and fun, bringing a lighter edge to the story. There wasn’t a moment when I felt the plot was dragging, it’s non-stop action all the way. The ‘heart’ issues with the BD recruits, I must say, did seem a little over the top and could have been made much simpler and more believable, but overall, it was a great and well-told paranormal romance.
Keep it going
Sofia knows that what she has with Derek Novak, the Prince of the vampires, is precarious, at best. No matter how in love they may be, the fact remains that they’re world’s apart, and there are people everywhere who don’t believe they belong together. Like Derek’s father, who is furious that his son would put a mere human above his people and his family. Or Sofia’s best friend, Ben, who has joined the hunters and wants nothing more than to kill every vampire in the Shade. Or Sofia’s father, the head of the vampire Hunters, who is determined to rescue Sofia from the clutches of the evil vampire race.
Can Sofia and Derek overcome the challenges, or will their sandcastle fall?
The third installment of the series has a decidedly darker edge to it. Ms Forrest, while still focussing at heart on the relationship between Sofia and Derek, has taken more time in this novel to develop the plot. There’s more intrigue, cruelty and action – and I love it!
One of the things that really makes this series stand out is the different POVs. It’s unusual to use so many POVs to tell a story, but it just works so well here. It provides deeper insight into the characters and forces you to see the motivating factors behind the villains.
I must admit that there were times when I started to feel annoyed with Sofia’s character when described by Derek’s POV. Sometimes she just seems so ‘wilting damsel in distress’. I suppose this heightens his warrior image, but I did prefer the stronger Sofia as described from her own POV.
Overall, another well-written, fun, sexy, romantic installment that’s great enough to keep me reading the series!