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I Belong


Review: Shadowflame by Dianne Sylvan

Title: Shadowflame

Author: Dianne Sylvan

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Series: Shadow World (Book 2)

Publication Date: July 26, 2011

Format: Paperback, 360 Pages

ISBN-10: 0441020658 (Ace/Penguin)

ISBN-13: 978-0441020652 (Ace/Penguin)

Reviewed by: Kiwi

Synopsis:

It’s been three months since musician Miranda Grey became a vampire and married David Solomon, Prime of the South. As Queen, Miranda must quickly come to terms with her new role and learn how to negotiate the treacherous waters of Signet politics, inevitably making dangerous enemies along the way.

As if complicated vampire politics and a rising music career weren’t enough, an enigmatic but powerful force from David’s past appears, leaving a wake of chaos and uncertainty for the Pair’s fledgling relationship. Miranda begins to realize how little she really knows about her husband. But when an assassin begins targeting her friends and allies, the Pair must track down the killer, even as their lives hang in the balance…

Quick & DirtyI liked this book. Other people liked it, not everyone does as is always the case. I will encourage everyone to pick it up for themselves and give it a go.

Opening SentenceAutumn that year came in like a lion and devoured the last few straggling moments of an endless, scorching summer.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Some men are jerks. Seriously, much of the drama, pain and action sequences in this book can be boiled down to that simple sentence.  Yes I know, not all men are that way, but in this case, it bears a frighteningly close resemblance to truth.

In this second installment of The Shadow World series, we pick up three months after our main characters celebrated their wedding. And let’s say that at the end of this book, the honeymoon is definitely over. In the worst of traditions, the Primes, or leaders, of all the other vampire regions have one by one been invading the newlyweds’ space.  How much would that stink in real life if you had to open your house to all these strangers when you are barely used to each other? Miranda has even given them a catchy nickname. And apparently the couple makes it through unscathed, until the last few visiting dignitaries.

And then we meet the sorriest specimen of any kind of living being, Prime Hart of the Northeast United States. This guy is Grade A bastard meets Arab sheik meets Dracula, on a good day. He and David are mutual enemies, fighting over territory etc. and he would like nothing better than to see David taken down. Needless to say this particular diplomatic visit gets super hairy, and ends with a fight and a few deaths. *sigh*

Also causing a bit of conflict, well maybe more than a bit, is the appearance of Prime Deven and his consort Jonathan. Our David used to be Deven’s right hand man before he became Prime. But, it turns out that their relationship was oh so much more than that, and apparently old habits are quite hard to break. Now I don’t know about you, but I believe that this kind of thing is something that a guy should tell a girl before the wedding, but Miranda doesn’t find out until the two share a kiss while she stands there watching. And Miranda is understandably unsettled by this, and as it turns out, she really should be. For prior to the end of this visit, Deven and David end up together again in the most basic of ways, leaving a trail of pain following both of these pairs.

And as if this all wasn’t enough, there is someone out there with the intention of killing Miranda, and when they fail to succeed in that, they go after her friends. And when they eventually find out what’s going on…well that’s where the story gets complicated and that’s when I tell you to read the book. Because, there are still a few bits that I’m not particularly clear on, and the rest is too good to spoil the fun of discovery.

I was reading some of the other reviews on this book and I will agree on a few of their points. Yes, David’s having a relationship such as his was gave me a few minutes of WTH?! The whole situation did, I won’t lie, made me somewhat uncomfortable and a tiny bit more willing to just put the darn thing down and call it a DNF. But, I am made of sterner stuff, or at least that’s what I tell myself.

I will also agree that it felt like I was reading a book about two completely different characters, but I find that continuously reading about the same people, doing the same things, acting the same ways, with no changes or character development a really boring process. This book is also, for reasons of personal safety, not as funnily kicka$$ as the last one was. But, were we really expecting these particular vampires to run around all night wielding their swords?

But, what I was not willing to do was give up, or completely write off an author because the subject of infidelity is messy. Or because the idea of being kept a slave for someone else’s pleasure really tees me off. Calling a book a DNF because it brings forth issues from the real world is not something I am willing to do.

That being said, I liked it. Other people liked it, not everyone does as is always the case. I will encourage everyone to pick it up for themselves and give it a go.

Notable Scene:

“My Lady?” Cora asked in a whisper.

Lalita’s eyes popped open and she, too, looked worried. “Are you…”

Before she could finish the question, the Queen’s hands flew up to her forehead, covering her already-closed eyes. She moaned and doubled over. “No…”

Suddenly things all over the room began to shake.

Lalita put her hands on the Queen’s shoulders and tried to rouse her, but the Queen didn’t seem to hear; she was lost somewhere, and to Cora’s dismay the shield she was holding up around Cora began to tremble and dissolve and Cora could feel the Queen’s power again, this time surging dangerously. Hot, thick fear seized Cora’s heart, and she pushed herself away, all but crawling backward to put as much space between herself and the Queen as she could.

Things began to topple over. Mats fell, the fabric hangings Lalita had draped around the room sagged and then slipped from the walls…the very ground felt like it was shaking.

Lalita cried out in alarm, and Cora followed her wide eyes to see that the ceiling fan overhead was coming loose from its wiring.

The Queen screamed.

The fan tore from the ceiling and fell.

Cora flung herself forward, trying to push Lalita out of the way, and the two women tumbled backward in the chaos—which stopped as quickly as it started.

Cora, sprawled out over Lalita on the floor, craned her head back to see what had happened, and it was her turn to gasp.

Standing in the center of the room, one hand held up toward the fan that had frozen in midair, the other touching Miranda’s forehead, was the Prime.

The Queen’s eyes rolled back in her head and she fell sideways onto her mat, unconscious.

The Prime’s eyes and hand followed the ceiling fan and it floated over to the corner, where it landed in a heap. He turned, looking around the room, and in seconds everything had righted itself, the scattered pieces of Lalita’s altar returning to their places, the tapestries back on the walls.

He didn’t ask if Cora and Lalita were all right, but she supposed it was unnecessary. Aside from shock they were both fine, not even a scratch on either. He bent and lifted the Queen into his arms, then gave them a quick nod of acknowledgement and strode out of the studio.

Shadow World Series:

1. Queen of Shadows

2. Shadowflame

3. Shadow’s Fall

4. Of Shadow Born (April 2013)

FTC Advisory: Ace/Penguin graciously provided me with a copy of Shadowflame. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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