My rating: 4.5 of 5 flames
Last year I was blind-sided by how much I loved the first book in this series, so it comes as no surprise that I loved this one too.
Jaden is a cait sith vampire (cat shifter/vampire), one of the lowest castes, but also a new member of the Lilium. So he is no longer a slave to the Ptolemy, but that’s not for lack of trying on their part. The Ptolemy is trying to kill all the cats who left them, branding them as traitors, so Jaden may have the backing of his new caste, but he is still being hunted by other vampires.
Lyra is a werewolf, and if the vampires look down on anyone more than the cait sith, it would be the werewolves. But she’s also the only daughter of an alpha, and ever since Jaden met her (at the safe house in Dark Awakening) he can’t get her out of his head.
Watching Jaden teach Lyra how to fight using her natural grace rather than just brute force was a new twist on fighting. And it made a lot of sense. You figure, the males are alphas because the wolves follow the strongest. Well, what happens when your strongest alpha has a daughter? She needs a strong husband, of course. Right? Wrong. Lyra wants things to change. She is up against her cousin, and the rumors are that he’s…got a dark side. Maybe he likes to hunt humans and play with his prey. Lyra can’t let him take over the pack. So she has challenged the pack males for leadership. The problem is that those males are really strong. Lyra has had no formal training, and she may be a scrapper, but she won’t last 5 minutes with one of them.
This is proved when a male from another pack finds Lyra in an alley. Jaden steps in, and Lyra is furious he helped her, but mostly she’s angry that she needed his help. That’s a bitter pill for an alpha-to-be to swallow.
I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. The action part may have been slow, but I felt that with the amount of prejudice they had to overcome, it had to move a bit slower. And I really enjoyed watching the wolves come to like Jaden. Oh! And his name! James Dennis= Jaden. I love that! It’s not too often their names means something. It was a nice touch. And I did NOT see the twist coming, I’ll tell you that.
I think the world-building was fantastic and easy to slip into, even if you haven’t read Dark Awakening. I think the prejudice that Jaden and Lyra had to deal with was hard to overcome, and I was impressed with how the author handled it. By about halfway through I was certain I knew how the author would “fix” the prejudice so that they could have their HEA. Uhhh, yeah, I was soo wrong. She surprised me with a move I thought was pretty gutsy. Not too many authors could have pulled it off, but Ms. Castle did, and I think she did it well.
**thanks to netgalley.com for the ARC