This is a review of “Shadow’s Claim” by Kresley Cole. It is the first novel in the Immortals After Dark offshoot series; The Dacians: Realm of Blood and Mist. However it still fits in nicely with the Immortals After Dark Series, as novel number 11 (not counting the two novellas in the series), following on from “Lothaire“.
Bettina is Princess of the demon plane of Abbadon. She is half Sorceri, through her mother who was killed by Vrekeners, and half death demon through her father, demon king of Abbadon. Her father perished in battle after the death of her mother. Bettina is now a ward in the care of Morgana, Queen of the Sorceri and Raum, Grand Duke of the Deathly Ones. After being allowed to travel to and live in the mortal realm to study, she was attacked and almost killed by a group of Vrekeners. They left her broken and beaten and without her Sorceri power.
At 22, she is being offered up as a prize in a tournament. Whichever male wins the tournament, wins her hand in marriage, gets to be ruler of Abbadon beside her and gains control of her summoning amulet. Bettina is far from keen to be a tourney prize, but Morgana has promised her her Sorceri power back, and Raum has promised to kill the Vrekener attackers should she go through with it. Really, what choice does she have? But Bettina is in love with Caspion, a death demon she’s known since she was ten.
He’s not attracted to Bettina, he thinks of her only as a sister. Caspion has gotten himself into a bit of a pickle. He’s traveled to the secret vampire realm of Dacia. Once you’ve entered Dacia, you are not permitted to leave. But of course Caspion has disregarded the rules once again, and has left Dacia. And now he has an assassin after him.
And that assassin is Trehan Daciano. A prince of Dacia. A 900 year old vampire assassin. He is cold and calculating, an efficient, killing machine. Until he sneaks into her spire (something draws him to her) and beholds Bettina. His bride. And then he knows he cannot be without her. But he has to kill Caspion for the safety of Dacia, something his besotted young bride would not forgive him for. So, Dacia? Or Bettina? He decides to enter the tournament to win her.
Caspion decides to enter the tournament to buy safety for himself for the duration of the tournament. Little does he know, his assassin has entered too.
Ugh. Bettina cares about the outcome of two of the contestants, but only one can win. Will it be her handsome best friend who she is besotted with? Or the devoted and devastatingly handsome vampire who makes her blush?
I liked this novel. It’s very much like her other IAD novels. But it was kinda predictable, and the outcome was pretty clear from the get go. The character of Salem reminded me a little of Billy from Karen Chance’s Cassandra Palmer Series and Volusian from Richelle Mead’s Dark Swan Series. I liked the little appearances of other IAD characters like Nix, Lothaire and Sabine. It didn’t really feel like a spin-off at all to me, it fit in pretty well with the rest of the Immortals After Dark Series. I’m looking forward to the next IAD book, apparently titled “Macrieve” and due to be released mid 2013, looks like another Lykae novel then.