RITA Reader Challenge Review

RITA Reader Challenge: Shadow’s Claim by Kresley Cole


Title: Shadow's Claim
Author: Kresley Cole
Publication Info: Pocket 2013
ISBN: 9781451650051
Genre: Paranormal

Book Shadows Claim This RITA® Reader Challenge 2013 review was written by Pam. This story was nominated for the RITA® in the Best Paranormal Romance category.

The summary:     

Shadow's Claim features Prince Trehan, a ruthless master assassin who will do anything to possess Bettina, his beautiful sorceress mate, even compete for her hand in a blood-sport tournament—to the death.

He won't be denied…

Trehan Daciano, known as the Prince of Shadows, has spent his life serving his people, striking in the night, quietly executing any threat to their realm. The coldly disciplined swordsman has never desired anything for himself—until he beholds Bettina, the sheltered ward of two of the Lore's most fearsome villains.

She's bound to another…

Desperate to earn her guardians' approval after a life-shattering mistake, young Bettina has no choice but to marry whichever suitor prevails—even though she's lost her heart to another. Yet one lethal competitor, a mysterious cloaked swordsman, invades her dreams, tempting her with forbidden pleasure.

A battle for her body and soul…

Even if Trehan can survive the punishing contests to claim her as his wife, the true battle for Bettina's heart is yet to come. And unleashing a millennium's worth of savage need will either frighten his Bride away—or stoke Bettina's own desires to a fever-pitch.

And here is Pam's review:

I read Shadow's Claim shortly after its release, so I didn't feel compelled to reread it as I did Lothaire.  However, in the interest of fairness, I tackled it anyway… immediately after rereading Lothaire.  Oops.  Mind you, I enjoyed Shadow's Claim when I first read it.  Cole is a fine writer and her gifts for characterization and snappy dialogue don't falter.  However, most of my pleasure in this story stemmed from its placement as part of a much loved series rather than on its merits as a novel.  I enjoyed revisiting the Lore and exploring a new aspect of this world much more than I enjoyed the romance. 

The mysterious vampire kingdom of Dacia and its ruling family is a major focal point of Shadow's Claim.  Trehan Daciano is the assassin cousin whose role is to eliminate threats to Dacia's secrecy in typical Lorean style.  He is logical, scholarly, and burdened by duty to his kingdom.  (Minor Daddy issue advisory here, folks)  He's also has never failed in his assassination attempts.  One does wonder how so many of these ultimate warrior types manage to live for centuries without ever meeting their equal.  Trehan is pretty to look at like most of Cole's heroes and heroines, but his serious nature doesn't lead to the entertaining exchanges of snark that most appeal to me.  The logic thing apparently worshipped by the Dacians is also an irritant.  One never knows whether Trehan's eventual girlfriend is going to get spocked or spunked.

And what about that girlfriend?  Her name is Bettina.  Hmmmm…  Isn't that a diminutive of Elizabeth?  Her appearance is “elfin.”   Though she is half Sorceress and half Death Demon, she is weak.  I do recognize that reading one series entry immediately after another is going to affect one's response, yet this is the correct sequence in which to read these two novels, so shouldn't there be less obvious surface similarities between the heroines? Also, those similarities simply exacerbate Bettina's inferiority to Lothaire's sassy Ellie.

The story opens with Bettina getting the crap beaten out of her.  A few months later, after her body has healed, she is still a quivering mass of PTSD for which Trehan provides some amateur therapy. Still, Bettina cannot appreciate Trehan because she is in love with Caspion, a handsome, self-absorbed manwhore who was nice to her when she was a kid.  Caspion―another naming fail, clearly the bastard child of C.S. Lewis―won't deflower Bettina to save her from being first prize in a Lorean cage match because he might be denying his predestined Bride his studly services.  But she lurves him.  Sniff.

Shadow's Claim has most of the elements readers relish in the Immortals After Dark series: skillful writing, powerful characters, bawdy humor (provided by godparents, Dacian cousins, and Bettina's servant/spy, an incorporeal being with voyeuristic tendencies and a snotty mouth), excellent fight scenes (see cage match above), vulgar language, and steamy sex. 

What it lacks, for this reader at any rate, is a truly engaging hero and heroine.  While their mutual whininess was somewhat justified by the crappy things that happened to them, and their story was believably developed and reached a satisfying HEA, as characters they just didn't appeal to me.  They were so wet, and not just with blood and sex gravy.  Even Bettina's native Demonarchy seemed more doofy than diabolical.  I didn't hate Bettina and Trehan, but I didn't make that good book noise when they finally got together either.  Taken out of the context of the series, they were just not memorable characters.  Even as part of the series, Shadow's Claim seems to contribute little to the Accession story arc but oodles of sequel bait.  Overall, an entertaining but not outstanding read.

This book is available from Goodreads | Amazon | BN | Kobo | iBooks | All Romance eBooks.

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  1. 1
    InternAmanda says:

    Aw, this makes me sad. I just bought this book.

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