Reviewed by JenI am a huge fan of Kresley Cole and her Immortals After Dark world. This may be the first in a set of spinoff books, but it fits in perfectly along with the other installments in the existing series. In fact, it reminded me quite a bit of an earlier book, but I'll get back to that in just a minute.
The Dacian series centers on the vampire sect we met in Lothaire's book. They are an ancient and secluded sect which many among the Lore basically consider to be a myth. Trehan is one of their princes, a killer who serves as the sword of their people. And as the story begins, he is on the hunt for Castion, a demon who somehow sneaked into his lands and left. No one is allowed to visit Dacia and leave, because of the risk they'll tell others about the secret society. So Cas is marked for death.
Bettina is the princess of Abbadon, a demon realm. She is a demon-Sorceri hybrid and considered weak for it. Unfortunately, her physical vulnerabilities were exploited by a group of men from her people's enemies and she was attacked. Bett was beaten within an inch of her life and her power was stolen. As a result, her family decided she needed a protector and devised a tournament to find her a husband.
The only man Bettina wants is her childhood friend Castion, but he loves her only as a friend. It's during Trehan's hunt for Cas that he is drawn to Bettina and recognizes her as his Bride. From that point on, his mission is twofold: win the tournament and make Bettina love him more than she thinks she loves Castion.
This story reminded me a lot of No Rest for the Wicked. A lot. That was the one where the vampire Sebastian entered the Hie tournament to win the love of Kaderin the Cold. The heroes in both books are very similar --and while the details of the tournaments are different-- the whole "I must win for her" vibe is the same. Kaderin and Bettina are nothing alike, though. While Kaderin was cold and ruthless, Bettina is starry-eyed and needs to find her inner strength. The similarities in the books didn't bother me, per se, but it kept it from feeling fresh.
It has all the Kresley Cole markers: snarky, powerful women (in this case the Sorceri Morgana;) powerful, broody men who have gone too long without the love of a good woman; hot sex; humor; and a Nix sighting. I think fans will enjoy it. We've even got little tie-ins with the MacRieve's and the Lanthe-Thronos story (ie. the book I've been waiting for since Kiss of a Demon King back in the beginning of '09.) My patience wears thin, Kresley.
Anyway, if you're wondering where this fits into the IAD timeline, it starts before the events of Lothaire and ends after that book's conclusion. I point this out only because I spent the first few chapters wondering where the heck the Enemy of Old was. For what it's worth, I liked this book better than that one.
Click to purchase: Amazon
Shadow's Claimby Kresley ColeRelease Date: November 27, 2012Publisher: Gallery Books