I received a digital galley from Netgalley. Shadow of the Vampire is out on July 1.
Even vampires should never sleep with the enemy.
Vampire princess Alexia Feodorovna has been undead for 125 years, so it's been a while since any man has made her pulse race. Until Declan Black. One look at his bronzed body and a fire like no other consumes her. Then she discovers that he's a dragon lord come to take revenge on the vamps who killed his parents. And claim a crystal said to imbue its owner with incredible powers.
Alexia is ordered to torture and kill the dragon lord. Yet with each reckless encounter, she finds herself consumed by his fiery passion. A passion Declan battles, as well. Will he be able to resist the fire of lust she kindles within him and keep revenge in his heart? Or will he risk everything to quench the burning desire and claim the vampire as his own?
Shadow of the Vampire was cool because it was a bit darker and grittier than many paranormal romances out there that I've read lately. It didn't shy away from violence, blood, war, abuse, manipulation and even the emotional aftermath of rape.
I wasn't sure what I thought of our heroine, Alexia, at first. I thought I wanted her to be stronger and tougher and yet, she really was. She'd been raised by a less than stellar example of a mother and isolated from all others who could help or guide her or even protect her. An evil man that she's supposed to trust is manipulating her mother and abusing her and she feels the walls closing in on her but she has no way to save her mother, herself and her people from a threat she can't imagine. That's just what's going on in her home. There's also the age old war between her vampire people and the Dragons and it's heating up, in a big way. She's a competent fighter that kicks ass on the battlefield, but inside she's a scared girl that longs for love and security.
Declan, our hero, is hot. He's calm and noble and passionate. He's also a dragon lord. He endures horrible torture, some of it at the hands of our heroine, and yet he never breaks. As time goes on and danger is closing in, Alexia and Declan are forced to help each other and they learn about each other and each other families, fears, scars, and their people. They learn there's more to the two races and what's going on between them than they thought and they learn to trust each other. Alexia puts herself on the line to save him and he has to make a choice: Save her and face the complications or leave her to her fate and go on as before. But can he really ever be the same after tasting her and knowing her?
Shadow of the Vampire was a moving read filled with war and political intrigue, evil machinations and passionate love. There were a few things that my anal retentive self wondered about here and there, but the story was engaging enough that I let those things go and just went with it.
There were enough questions at the end that I'm sure we haven't seen the last of this world and these characters and the story being set up for Declan's sister, Talon, has me anxious to read that one, too.
Final grade: B
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