3 of 5 stars to ‘A Shadow of light’ by Bella Forrest

A Shadow of light

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.

5 of 5 stars to ‘A Castle of sand’ by Bella Forrest

A castle of sand

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!

5 of 5 stars to ‘A Shade of Blood’ by Bella Forrest

Shade of blood

Addictive

No human has ever left the Shade alive. Now, after weeks of captivity on the sunless vampire island, Sofia is given the choice: stay, and remain with her beloved Derek Novak as his human slave; or return to her life with Ben and have some chance of normality. Can she live with the choice she must make?

Book 2 continues the series exactly where book 1 left off. If there’s one thing that jars me a little when reading this series, it’s that there are no clearly defined beginnings and endings to each of the novels. Each book seems far too short and ends abruptly, leaving you hanging, wondering what is next. Sheer genius of Bella Forrest, I think. I know that as readers, we like tidy little packages with all the ends neatly ribboned off, but when you’re reading a series, there has to be a reason to move on to the next book, and Bella Forrest certainly knows how to provide that. So, I’ve made peace with this series by viewing it as one long book that has been broken down into smaller chunks. And it’s one of those fast-paced series you have to read from cover to cover!

Book two featured a greater variety of character’s POV. I particularly enjoyed this, since it gave depth to many of the characters that I felt was missing in book 1. Strangely enough, I relished Lukas’ POV, it was just fresh and unusual to see things from the POV of the villain.

The emotional intensity from the first book was heightened in this one. I felt that Derek’s ‘fall’ following Sofia’s decision made him more ‘human’ and ‘inhuman’ at the same time. The chemistry and intensity between Sofia and Derek remained intact and there was some lovely character development all round, including for Ben.

This is definitely an addictive series.