Shadow's Claim (The Dacians #1)
by Kresley Cole
#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 was thrilled to see this spin-off series created by Kresley Cole. I have long been a fan of the Immortals After Dark series and after reading the last story in that series, Lothaire, and meeting the new species of vampire, the Dacians, I was looking forward to this for a long time. I was a bit surprised to see that though this was a spin-off, it was actually happening at the SAME TIME as Lothaire's story. Cole does this quite often in her series, but I had wrongly assumed that because this was a new series it wouldn't follow that trend. It made things even more interesting and it was fun to return to Lothaire’s story, even if just tangentially.
This story revolved around the tournament for Bettina’s hand in marriage and the chance to rule her world beside her. Being that the world of these immortals is quite brutal there are definitely some terrifying moments and way more violence than I would normally be able to handle. But the interactions between Trehan and Bettina are often sweetly sensual as he works to seduce her to his side. Trehan is a great character and he is devoted to Bettina once he accepts that life without her will be impossible to accept.
Bettina on the other hand is not a favorite character of mine. She is very self-wrapped through most of this book. She is determined to have only one man, the demon that she grew up with and believes she’s in love with. No matter that Trehan is her destined mate, and Caspian has no interest in being her husband as he knows she’s not his true mate. She refuses to see that maybe her life is destined for something different, but gradually Trehan is able to show her the beauty that can be found in his arms. But sadly it takes losing him, to her own stupidity and insecurity, to see just how much he really means to her.
Trehan feels betrayed by Bettina, believing that she has sabotaged his chance to claim her, even though he has gone out of his way at every opportunity to prove to her that she is the most important thing in the world to him and he will do anything to make her happy. And of course this makes him a little crazy, ehh, maybe a lot crazy. Leaving his betrayer, his own mate, to live her life without him, he slowly falls further and further into his madness. Strangely the only man who can talk him out of the madness and make him see the course he needs to take is Lothaire—ironic ain't it?
I very much enjoyed this story and was thrilled to see a lot of characters that we have grown to know and love making cameo appearances. Typical of Ms. Cole’s work there was intense battles, sometimes a little too gory for me though. Trehan and Bettina were fun to watch, seeing that even such powerful and magical individuals can screw up their love lives reminds us that at our base we are all just human and can make some seriously bad decisions when it comes to matters of the heart. The next in the series should be interesting and I’m hoping it is Cousin Viktor’s story. I can’t wait to see how the possibility of opening up the world of mists will affect the Ascension, but I see that the changes to come will be vast and terrifying. Keep the awesomeness coming please Kresley.
Rating: 4.5 stars