Title: Queen of Shadows
Author: Dianne Sylvan
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: The Shadow World (Book 1)
Publication Date: August 31, 2010
Format: Paperback, 389 Pages
ISBN-10: 0441019250 (Ace/Penguin)
ISBN-13: 978-0441019250 (Ace/Penguin)
Reviewed by: Kiwi
Spread throughout the dark corners of our world lies the Shadow World, a society of vampires that feeds off the living. In Austin, Texas, one woman’s madness will drive her into a world that few people ever see – or even know exists…
Shortly after she picked up a guitar, Miranda Grey conquered the Austin music scene with a newfound ability to psychically manipulate her audience’s emotions. But as her powers outgrow her control, her mind is increasingly invaded by haunting secrets and overwhelming sadness. Unable to look anyone in the eye, Miranda is fast approaching the edge of insanity – with no one to catch her fall…
When he outlawed killing humans, David Solomon ignited a civil war among Austin’s vampires. As Prime of the South, his sympathy for mortals angered the old guard who refuse to control their violent urges. David has his hands full with the growing insurgency, but he takes in a broken-down woman, a musician in need of supernatural guidance. Little does he know that Miranda Grey has the power to change his world as well…
Quick & Dirty: These vamps are worth reading, my friend.
Opening Sentence: The guy next to her in the checkout line looked kind of like a vampire.
*Sigh* Yep. That’s how I feel about writing about this book, ladies and gents. Ever read a book, or series of books, that just makes you want to put them under your pillow and sleep with them? Yeah, me too! And I would have to say that this book, and the next two in the series could live there. They’d be in good company, I swear.
Queen of Shadows is the first book in a great series about vampires. Vampires that mostly stick to the traditional, as in a severe sun allergy, an appetite for o-neg and an aversion to sharp things made out of wood. Unlike the traditional, these vampires have an actual working relationship with the human governments of the world, and a feudal type government of their own. And they also all seem to come with their own magical powers, telekinesis, empathy, telepathy, etc.
One of the leaders—I guess you could call him that—is our hero David Solomon. Who, by the by, is rather tasty…and tattooed even. He just gives a girl the shivers. David is now Prime of the Southern United States, which gives him the responsibility of taking charge of all the vampires south of Tennessee, all the way over to Texas. In fact, he resides in Austin, which is where most of these stories take place.
Also residing in Austin is budding musical superstar Miranda Grey. Miranda is a mortal who has been gifted/cursed with more than just true musical talent. She can sense the emotions of her audience, and when she sings, can influence the way they feel. So, in this case, when the audience leaves one of her shows, they actually did feel her music, not just hear it. But, Miranda’s gift comes with the price of never being without other people’s feelings and voices in her head, and so she is slowly cracking under the pressure.
But, an accidental meeting over a pint of Ben and Jerry’s proves to be the catalyst for some amazing changes to both of our main characters. In front of him in line at the grocery store is a human with an amazingly uncontrolled psychic talent. And standing behind her in line is a strikingly handsome man who has thoughts but she cannot read them. And later, when she kills a group of men who had been attacking her, he rescues her from the fallout, and teaches her how to control her talent before it drives her insane.
The only thing keeping these two apart at the time was her mortality, which she eventually decides to give up. But the matter is taken out of their hands when she is attacked again, but this time by the woman who wants to be the Prime’s Queen. This time, however, the fallout is a war for the throne, as it were, and Miranda’s new vampiness will prove to be everyone’s salvation.
I heart these books. So much! Like I said, would put it under my pillow if it wouldn’t make sleeping terribly uncomfortable.
The Elite patrol leader he’d spoken to before was standing at the edge of the triage area. He was staring down at something.
David had never wanted to run away from anything so badly in his life.
He forced himself to walk up to the man’s side, stand between him and the EMT, and look down.
He was expecting a body. What he saw was a guitar.
“The fire started in unit two twenty-one,” the EMT was saying. “One of the first responders tripped over this and ended up dragging it out with him. The strings got wrapped around his foot. As I understand it, you know the resident here?”
David stared at the remains of the beautiful instrument. There was little more than a scrap of neck and string left, the body so charred it had fallen apart.
He remembered the first time he’d seen her play, that night at the club, when he had no idea how she would throw his world into such turmoil. Then, that night at the Haven, when he’d watched her from the door, his heart so full of love for her that only a liter of Jack could silence it. He saw her slender hands dancing over the strings, the way they had danced over his skin, and her soft mouth forming words, that same mouth that had closed over his.
She was gone. He couldn’t feel her anymore. Ariana had gotten to her before the Elite could reach her. He’d been too late to save her. Jonathan’s vision had come true, and he had been too blind to heed the warning.
She was gone.
Shadow World Series:
4. Of Shadow Born (April 2013)
FTC Advisory: Ace/Penguin graciously provided me with a copy of Queen of Shadows. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
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