Publisher: Grand Central
Release Date: Jul 31, 2012
Retail Price: 7.99
Ancient Secrets, Dark Passions . . .
As one of the Grigori, a noble vampire dynasty shrouded in mystery, Ariane has spent her life hidden away in the desert. Like all of her kind, she is a watcher, fated to observe, forbidden to act. Yet when her best friend Sammael vanishes, she defies all rules and flees her safe haven to bring him home.
A shape-shifting assassin for the House of Shadows, Damien Tremaine is hired to locate Sammael. His hunt for the wayward Grigori leads him to Ariane, the rogue vamp who stands between him and his bounty. Damien never lets emotion interfere with his work, but a single touch from the sexy, beguiling vampire shatters his self-control. Drawn together by their common goal, they begin an alliance of necessity that soon becomes one of desire. But when the secret at the dark heart of the Grigori comes to light, Damien and Ariane must make a choice that could bind them eternally . . . or tear them-and everything they care about-apart.
Series: Dark Dynasties (Book 3)
Shadow Risingby Kendra Leigh Castle is a modern-day fantasy romance novel and is the third book in the Dark Dynasties series. It can be – and in my case, was - read as a stand-alone novel.
An ancient Grigori vampire has gone missing and Damien has been hired to find him…and is asked to report the now rogue Ariane should he see her. Physically drawn to Ariane, Damien struggles between avoiding her and seducing her, but never reporting her. Ariane is searching for the missing Grigori, her only friend these past 900 years, and will not stop until he’s found. Once a Grigori leaves without permission the punishment is death. Ariane will not go back, Damien will not hinder her quest and she puts his neck at the end of her battle sword to prove it.
The impatient reader’s version of Shadow Rising’s review: It’s amazing. Buy your copy today.
The Dark Dynasties series is exactly what it sounds like – several vampire bloodlines (dynasties) hashing out their problems the old school way: with swords and spies and secret assassins. So far the dynasties in the series are all American based. Though I won’t mention all the bloodlines, Castle does depict the bloodline Dracul with none other than Vlad Dracul as its leader. Castle charmingly acknowledges our society’s familiarity with Vlad by having him say, “And that is why Bram Stoker was…a flaming, lying asshole.”
Ariane is a 900 year-old Grigori vampire who knows nothing of the current world she lives in. Being an ancient noble bloodline, Grigoris live apart from other vampires and Ariane has been secluded since her turning. She speaks with an out-of-place accent, knows little modern terminology and has platinum blond hair and violet eyes (two physical traits of Grigoris). The beginning opens with Ariane in the castle, staring longingly out her bedroom window and listening to reasons why she must remain locked away. Ariane’s existence is a heavy dose of nostalgia for fans who read FE Heaton’s Prophecy: Vampires Realm Romance series.
Damien Tremaine is older than Ariane and belongs to the Shade vampire bloodline. He’s an assassin, thief, spy and any other nefarious occupation for hire. He travels often and calls no place “home”, having lost appreciation for sentimental attachment years ago. Until, of course, he meets Ariane. Then he wonders if he can manage to keep the one thing he doesn’t want to lose, yet knows he can never love her.
Shadow Rising is great in so many ways, but the most impressive of all is Castle’s portrayal of the Shades, and Damien and Ariane’s relationship.
The Shades we read about in Shadow Rising are alpha males. Yet they show a healthy respect for the Grigori’s battle skill. Recognizing their opponent’s strength only makes the Shades appear more menacing, because lesser vampires would feel the need to posture. Castle really cranks up the lust-ability factor when, as cat shifters, Shades purr when, ahm…aroused.
Though Damien is an alpha-male, he is attracted to Ariane – a superior Grigori who can potentially beat him in combat. Yet she never taunts him with her skill and he never discredits her of it. The balance between them is perfect, portraying a realistic relationship that requires both parties to give respect and not take advantage of the other.
The only part that didn’t work was when Damien chose to communicate with Ariane telepathically. His words were sweet, “I’m sorry…I’m on my way”, but instead of saying that realistically he should have said, “You’re totally screwed because of X and when Y happens I’ll try to be there to help, but if not we’ll Z.”
But, hey, this book is h-o-t. The sex scenes are not pages long and there’s no oral or back door action, but Castle covers a lot of ground with a few well written sentences like,“bed rocked with every wild thrust”, “clung to him as he rode her”, and “grabbed [her], and dragged her to the ground beneath him”.
Shadow Risingis not the last of the Dark Dynasties series and the ending is satisfying with a definite protagonist build-up. If Shadow Risingis any indication, this series is epic. Like on its way to being Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter epic.
Fantasy readers beware. You’ll love this.
Reviewed by Musing Sallie
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