on 27 November 2012
I love Kresley Cole's IAD series, and had really been looking forward to a new book set in the IAD world, especially after the flawed installment `Lothaire'. Sadly, `Shadow's Claim' managed to be incredibly unengaging, repetitive and dull throughout the initial 2/3 of the book, and the entire book suffered from a weak plot and characters (namely the female lead).
To put it bluntly, the story is dumb, poorly paced and filled with ridiculous amounts of plot holes. Most of the character's range from the terribly forgettable to just plain terrible, but perhaps worst of all, this is the first of Cole's books that completely lacks any of the fun, creativity, charm and heart of her previous books (any pretense of clever is out too). This was neither a particularly gripping, original or enjoyable read.
`Shadow's Claim' is not completely without merit, and I might have been able to cut it some slack if most of the book hadn't been so tediously average. While it is not the worst book in the genre, it is pretty grim for a Kresley Cole book, and there are few good things worth mentioning.
The writing is still good (even without any of the usual wit or charm), and I ended up enjoying both Trehan and Samuel despite my initial dislike of them. My favorite part of the book was definitely the cameos. I enjoyed Lothaire's cameo, but for me the absolute best part of the book was Sabine (from `Kiss Of A Demon King'), the Vrekeners and the hints about Melanthe and Thronos' story (which for me were the highlights of the book).
The final 1/3 or so of the book is actually pretty enjoyable, and almost reaches the level of Cole's other IAD installments in terms of excitement and engagement. The problem with this is that I had to plow my way through almost 300 pages (out of approximately 460) of moronic and dull plots and characters BEFORE I got that. And even then, I was quite disappointed to see how much of the ending was recycled from `Lothaire', which would have been tolerable, had that book not been released less than 1 year ago.
Princess Bettina is the female lead and one of my main sources of discontent with this book. She is stubbornly selfish, hypocritical, vapid, winy, dependent and useless, spineless excuse for a lead. She is 22 in the book, but acts like a petulant 5-year old throughout most of it. She consistently shows no remorse for her actions (or lack thereof), but constantly complains about the consequences that her actions cause HER and how unfair it is. One scene during the tournament in particular exemplifies Bettina's utter disregard of others, unless she herself or her conscience are DIRECTLY affected. The scene exposes her selfish, hypocritical actions, as well as her complete lack of self-awareness, and made me utterly repulsed by her.
A central theme of the book is Bettina's struggle to find herself and her own strength. She laments her powerlessness throughout the story, but this powerlessness is caused almost exclusively by herself and her extremely narrow definition of power. She complains that she has no physical or mystical powers, but as a princess and heiress to a kingdom, with powerful and fearsome godparents to boot, she has access to vast amounts of social, political and economic power, which she doesn't use for most of the book because...?
Also, the book is definitely affected by Bettina's lack of insight, wisdom or intellect. Let's just say Princess Bettina isn't the sharpest knife in the drawer. Seriously, any of the Disney princesses would laugh at her naivety and simplemindedness, and then proceed to wipe the floor with her own ass; she's pretty hopeless. While Cole does try to empower Bettina towards the end of the book, it is far too simplistic and far, FAR too late to redeem her character in any way.
Trehan, the male lead, can best be described as a bit `Meh?' While he is not an awful person like Bettina, he is not that interesting either. He is the stereotypical tall, dark and deadly vampire who desperately wants his Bride. At the start of the book he is described as being `boring', and that pretty much sums up his character. We have seen this character before, and done better, in Cole's previous books. Initially, I didn't find Trehan very memorable, but it becomes clear later on in the book that he actually is a really sensitive, sensible and observant man, who both encourages and supports his bride in some really good ways. At the end of the book, I actually found him to be a really nice guy, and that thoughtful and gentle part of him kind of reminded me of Sebastian (from `No Rest for The Wicked').
While I personally liked most of the cameos and references to other known characters from the lore, they also bothered me. I liked Lothaire, Nix and Sabine's appearances, but at the same time I kept wishing for the story to shift to those characters, because the main characters of this story were either dumb, boring or both.
While there were a number of things, both big and small, that bothered me, my biggest issue with the book was the main plotline about the tournament and its subsequent development in the story. The main plot, the story's pacing and the plot holes were all over the place. The tournament is the focal point of the book's plot, and it might have been exciting if it wasn't for the decided lack of focus given to it, the frequent exposition dumps interrupting it, and the ridiculous number of plot holes related to the tournament. Specifically, a number of the plot holes expose just how utterly and obviously POINTLESS the tournament is within the context of the story. Virtually every single major character in the book has both reason and opportunity to stop the tournament from taking place, which severely undermines the basis of the story as it exposes how unnecessary and pointless a large part of the plot and the characters' actions have been.
Yeah, I really didn't like this book. It was a mess, and had nothing charming or likeable about it. There was so much potential for fun, action and romance, and I got none of those things out of it. Problems and plot holes appear all over the place in `Shadow's Claim', and I personally spent most of my time reading it in a continuous state of boredom, incredulity and, at times, blatant disbelief. There is just so much unnecessary and so much stupid going on in the story for it to make any kind of rhyme or reason.
For readers who are less nit-picky and demanding than me, AND have a greater tolerance for stupid than me, this book might be okay (or even enjoyable) to read, but everyone else should approach it with caution.
I am giving the book three stars because while it is a bad Kresley Cole book, it is a (barely) average paranormal romance book.
on 4 August 2015
This book was marked up as Immortals After Dark 12.5 or Dacians 1... what that means is it ties in with the IAD series (running alongside Lothaire's story) but opens up a whole new series set in the same world as IAD. I did worry that since this was essentially a new series that it would be completely different, but I couldn't have been more wrong. This series promises to be just as enticing, just as comfortable as IAD, just with a host of new characters and hopefully some of our old favourites.
I honestly don't understand why I was a little wary starting this book, I love Cole's writing, I know it sounds cheesy, and I probably say this way more than I should, but it always feels like sitting down with an old friend when I pick up her books, I know I'm going to enjoy the 'conversation' and really this one was no different. I read this entire book in one day. I could not put it down.
I'll be honest, when we first met the Dacians in Lothaire, I wasn't overly impressed, but reading this from their POV has certainly shed a new light on them and I cant wait to read more. Especially if they are all like Trehan....
on 12 January 2013
I have just finished Shadow's Claim. It was much shorter than Lothaire but I still enjoyed it very much.
I would not have realised that this was a new series before reading the "blurb" on the back cover of the book. It seems to me that "The Dacians: Realm of Blood and Mist" is more a sub-series within the main novels of "The Immortals After Dark".
I loved brooding Trehan who is tall, dark and handsome (as confirmed on the cover of the book). Although I really enjoyed the long awaited Lothaire's story, I'm not particularly attracted to blond men and I thought Trehan was much sexier.
Bettina was lovely AND interesting. I liked that she had an artistic bent and I enjoyed the passages explaining her precious metalwork expertise. I didn't like her name much, though and thought it a bit twee for a Sorceri. Morgana, Sabine and Lanthe being much more appropriate, in my opinion.
I enjoy the way Kresley introduces us along the way to her future tales; teases us with them, if you will.
It is wonderful that Kresley's heroes and heroines are fallible and certainly not perfect. The lines between good and evil are often blurred, especially in the hero category. (The epitome of this being the mad, bad Lothaire). In my opinion this makes her stories much more interesting and long may they continue. I, like many other fans, await a happy ending for Nix, who suffers more than most of Kresley's heroines. Will that be the last ever story in the "Immortals After Dark" Saga?
on 25 March 2015
I have put off reading this book for quite some time, but finding myself at a loose end until the 31 st (release day for Shelly Laurenston) I decided to go with it. I am very happy that I did.
The book is a little slow to start, with the attack on Bettina ( didn't like that name and couldn't recall why it bugged me so much) and then her subsequent healing and the planning of the tournament. I must be honest, I know the character had suffered terrible abuse, but I really wanted to slap her upside the head and tell her to grown a backbone. Once we meet Trehan it picks up fast. He immediately knows that Bett is his bride and that he must have her, she is drunk and believes him to be her childhood friend whom she thinks herself in love with. We then meet some of the other contenders and all I can say if yuk. Mating with a snake? Laying eggs? Makes me shudder to think of it. I liked how Trehan set himself to be her champion, dispatching the worst of her "suitors" in return for a boon, and his gift to her in presenting her with the heads of her tormentors.
As the story progresses you an see where Cole is setting up the future stories, Morgana going to wreak vengeance on Skye Hall (Dark skies) . Munro going of to war.(looking forward to that one)
For me as well the laugh out loud moment was Lothaire counselling a lovesick Trehan, I mean really Lothaire, who gave his bride his heart literately and who received his brides severed fully extended middle finger in return, is now into relationship counselling. Priceless
I am intrigued with the idea of a sub story in the IAD series and look forward to reading more about them.