Publication date: 27th November 2013
Reviewed by Lesley
I got pretty excited when I saw that Kresley Cole had a new series out, her books ALWAYS have a place on my real keeper shelf because I really do love her brand of feisty and a little bit bonkers kind of heroines. Shadow's Claim is a bit unusual (in a good way) in that it could be read and enjoyed both as a standalone by a new reader and by a long term Kresley Cole fan. It has a few links and cameos from her Immortals After Dark series but not too many that it would be confusing for a first time Kresley Cole reader so if you haven't read any of her books previously then I would recommend that Shadow's Claim is a great place to start.
Bettina is a halfling demon and sorceri who after a serious attack from four evil Vrekeners which almost left her for dead has had her power syphoned off to prevent it from being reincarnated into a newborn sorcerei when she dies which leaves her both frightened and at risk. Bettina's Godparents the powerful and slightly scary-crazy Morgana and demon Raum arrange a tournament to find Bettina a worthy protector. They want to find the strongest champion in the Lore for her and offer up Bettina's hand in marriage as the prize. Bettina however, is already infatuated with childhood friend and tracker Cas who unfortunately only sees Bettina as a sister rather than potential bride.
Trehan Daciano, Prince of Shadows and deadly assassin has been sent to Bettina's realm to find and kill Cas but instead himself drawn to Bettina who is actually his fated Bride. Trehan has searched for hundreds of years to find his Bride, the one woman who will make his Vampire heart beat for the first time ever, give him a pulse and allows ahem, "down below" to really start working. However, not only does Trehan find that his fated bride is in love with another man, but that man is the one man he must kill and Trehan realises that he runs the risk of never winning over Bettina if he is the one to kill off Cas.
Trehan finds himself entering the tournament, which has been opened to all creatures in the Lore, to protect Bettina and win her hand in marriage but in doing so has to for the first time ever, come out of the shadows which basically means he can never return to his kingdom, and although Trehan has lived his life obeying and enforcing the rules he is willing to leave it all behind to protect his Bride.
Bettina really annoyed me at times with her "love" for childhood friend Cas who clearly is not in the least bit interested in her, it took me a while to really warm to her. I did however, love Trehan pretty much from the start as he's a ruthless assassin who loves to read. What's not to like about that? As a dutiful Royal assassin he's really just been going through the motions for hundreds of years and is only finally awoken by discovering his Bride. I loved how protective he was even if he was a bit cavemanish at times!
Much of Shadow's Claim is centred around the actual rounds of the tournament which made it really fast paced and entertaining as each round brought something a little bit different to the story. Although I knew that Trehan's ruthless assassin skills would come in handy in disposing of some of the slimy creatures that entered the tournament some of the other contestants seemed pretty unbeatable. As a Kresley Cole fan I did squeal with excitement when previous Immortals After Dark characters were mentioned, seeing Nix trying to start a Mexican wave at the tournament not only made me laugh it made me want her book even more, I'm thinking that we will probably get to see more of Trehan's cousins Viktor, Stelian and Mirceo before we finally get Nix's book though. Overall, I loved every minute of Shadow's Claim, my copy now sits proudly beside all of Kresley Cole's other books on my real keeper shelf.