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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Audiobook Review: Shadow's Claim by Kresley Cole


TITLE: Shadow's Claim
SERIES: The Dacians, Book #1
AUTHOR: Kresley Cole 
NARRATOR: Robert Petkoff
PUBLISHER: Simon & Schuster Audio
PUBLICATION DATE: November 27, 2012
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook, 15 hrs and 18 mins
GENRE: Paranormal Romance
Series opener Shadow’s Claim features Prince Trehan Daciano, a ruthless master assassin who will use every lethal skill he possesses to defend his imperiled kingdom—as well as his newfound princess. When an ancient secret threatens to destroy them all, can Dacia’s notorious prince of shadows keep his Bride alive against all odds?

MY REVIEW: 

I received this audiobook from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any compensation for my review, and the views expressed herein are my own. 

Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark (“IAD”) series has been on my TBR list for a long time! When the first book in a spin-off series was released, I jumped at the chance to review it! I tweeted Ms. Cole to ask whether I needed to have read the IAD series to be able to follow along:


That made my day because I’ve been wanting to read more of Cole’s work since reading her YA novel, Poison Princess.

The Dacians series is set in the same world as the IAD series, which is a paranormal universe that is parallel to our own. The protagonist is 22 year-old Princess Bettina, who her godmother refers to as a “freakling.” Bettina is half-demon and half-Sorceri, however, she has none of the physical characteristics of either species. She has no horns and is not generously endowed and curvy. Rather, she is more elfin-like and looks more like a mortal. Orphaned at a young age, her guardians are her Godparents, Raum and Morgana. Her best friend and heart’s desire is 25 year-old Caspion, who is an orphaned Death Demon. While Bettina was brought up in the lap of luxury and has a royal lineage, Caspion came from the streets and has worked hard to earn the respect of the other demons. Caspion is a bit of a man-slut and seems to have eyes for everyone but Bettina. I don’t know whether he is truly ignorant of her affection or willfully blind.

Against Raum’s better judgment, he permitted Bettina to attend a design college in the mortal world and live on her own. She was brutally attacked by four Vrekeners, mortal enemies of the Sorceri, who stole her magical powers. If Raum hadn’t created a summoning medallion and used it to bring Bettina back into the demon realm, she would have died. It took two months for her to recover from her injuries, and Raum and Morgana vowed to take revenge on the Vrekeners and promised her that they would get her powers back. Feeling vulnerable after her attack and especially because she was now defenceless, she agreed to Raum’s and Morgana’s idea to hold a tournament to win her hand. A spouse would act as Bettina’s protector, and he would rule over Abaddon and become King with Bettina by his side as Queen. The tournament was open to anyone who wished to enter, including: vampires, lykae, trolls, demons, and other unearthly beings. The participants would have to fight to the death.

Bettina wants to put an end to the tournament because she knows who she wants: Caspion! She has just one night to try to seduce him and lose her virginity, as the tournament is set to commence the following day. Bettina asks Caspion to come to her room that evening. Drunk on demon wine, an uninhibited Bettina sheds her clothing and tries to seduce Caspion...or so she thinks! The man she is seducing is an assassin sent from the Realm of Blood and Mist to hunt down Caspion and kill him. Caspion broke the law when he left the Realm of Blood and Mist without permission, and now he is a threat to the Dacians who live there because he can lead enemies back to the secretive realm. The realm is a safe haven for the Dacians because it is shrouded in a mist which makes it difficult to find. The Dacians rarely leave their realm, except in an enveloping mist which makes them invisible to others. This Dacian, the Prince of Shadows, tracked Caspion to Bettina’s castle. When he saw Bettina, he could not resist her. He had never met anyone more lovely and seductive. Things start getting hot and heavy, but they stop short of going all the way when Bettina realized that her lover was not Caspion but a vampire named Trehan Daciano. To make matters worse, she “blooded” him which means that she has brought life to his still heart. Trehan fought his urge to mark Bettina and drink her blood because he is a Dacian, a supreme race of vampires who do not drink from their victims. Trehan returns to his realm but cannot think of anything but the lovely Bettina.

Trehan and his cousins have been locked in a feud for centuries, each vying for the position of power to rule over the realm. Trehan is forbidden from showing himself to anyone outside of his realm, save for his Bride. This little loophole means that he does not have to kill Bettina, as he now considers her as his Bride because she blooded him. However, Trehan cannot remain in the Realm of Blood and Mist without her. A blooded vampire will go mad if he does not mark his Bride. However, if he leaves Dacia and reveals himself to others, he can never return. Trehan sacrifices his right to the throne and leaves for Abaddon to enter the tournament. At Bettina’s urging, Caspion also enters the tournament. There are over 200 contenders, but there is only one who is there for Bettina and not the crown.

Yowza! My earbuds were smokin’! The chemistry between Bettina and Trehan is red hot! Always the “freakling” and spurned by both demons and Sorceri alike, Bettina has ached to have someone gaze longingly at her with desire. She always wanted Caspion to look at her the way that she looks at him. He seems to love her in a sisterly sort of way and not the passionate way that she wants. Then along comes Trehan, and she drives him mad with desire without even trying. She does not realize, at first, the effect that she has on him. Once she does, she seems to take delight in driving him wild! She has never had this effect on anyone before, and her curious nature drives her to explore this strange new-found emotion. Trehan is a one-woman kind of guy, and he isn’t afraid to let his feelings show. He knew that Bettina was inexperienced in the love department, and he knew he had to be careful not to scare her off with his intensity. I was thrilled when Bettina allowed herself to start falling for Trehan, and I was rooting for him all the way.

I absolutely loved this book, and I am so eager now to read the Immortals After Dark series!

This is not my first narration by Robert Petkoff. My previous experiences with him involved him playing the villain, and I worried whether I could forget his creepy BoneMan’s voice from Ted Dekker’s BoneMan’s Daughters or Old Nick from Emma Donoghue’s Room. My worries were unfounded! Petkoff’s thick accent for Trehan added to his sexy appeal, and I was literally fanning myself! Until now, only Jim Frangione (narrator of the Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J.R. Ward) has had that effect on me. Petkoff had me swooning for Trehan! Loved him!! I hope that he also narrates the Immortals After Dark series! 

MY RATING:

5 stars!! I loved it, and you should definitely read it! A big thanks to Simon Audio for the opportunity to review this audiobook!

This book qualifies as: 

#11 for my 2013 Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge
#11 for my 2013 Read-a-Latte Challenge
#1 for Task #7 for my 2013 Global Reading Challenge  
#3 for my 2013 Mammoth Book Challenge   
#5 for my 2013 ARC Reading Challenge

6 comments:

  1. I'm glad you enjoy it :) I love Kresley Cole! I've read them all and now I'm enjoying them on audio (Immortals After Dark)

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    1. I want to listen to IAD on audio as well!

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  2. I also want to check out Cole's adult novels after reading the Poison Princess. I wanted to start with IAD but I may give this series a try.

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    1. I highly recommend this one, Jess! The characters from IAD cross over in this series. Even though I haven't read IAD series yet, I had no trouble following along!

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  3. I bought A Hunger Like No Other on a whim and was shocked by how much I liked the series! I am going to add this one to my TBR list now! I'm glad I don't have to finis the entire IAD series to know what is going on in this spin-off. Thanks for the great review =D

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    1. My pleasure, Emily! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

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