I'm going to eat a lot of my own words in this review so don't judge me too hard! In A Shade of Vampire we meet Sofia Claremont, a newly 17 year old girl who's mother was put away in an institution and who's best friend she wished looked at her more than that. That all seems to be nullified, however, when on the night of her 17th birthday she is kidnapped and brought to the vampire stronghold to be a slave of the Prince. The Shade, as they call it, is a place that vampires can protect themselves from those that would eliminate them and keep the sun away through a spell for endless night.
After a harrowing incident with her kidnapper, Lucas (the Prince's brother no less!), she learns what her fate will be in The Shade and who that fate is meant to be tied too. Derek Novak, recently awakened crown prince of his coven, who seems to have an unnatural attraction to her the moment he wakes from his 400 year slumber. From that point on, everything Sofia thought she knew gets turned on it's head, including her feelings on being forced to stay.
Here's where I'm going to renege on most of the reviews I've written. Sofia was kidnapped and normally I'd sit here and say I could never be okay with that, and certainly never condone someone for doing it. I'm not really condoning it because I'm not alright with her being taken, BUT I love Derek. He isn't, however, the one who took her. In fact, he doesn't seem, in my eyes, to be happy that there are kidnappings going on, but his people need to survive on blood and as Prince that comes first. Lucas, on the other hand, I blame for everything in this book, so yes I'm loving a character involved in a crime but I'm directing my wrath at the antagonist that did the dirty deed!
My foot's in my mouth again because of the immediate attraction that was felt between Derek and Sofia. I am a preacher of no love-at-first-sight nonsense.....but it works in this book and here's why. It was clear they both felt the pull towards each other right off the bat, but there was a restraint on both sides that kept the whole thing from falling down that typical rabbit hole. They didn't jump right into bed with each other or get married or anything drastic. They felt a lot but kept their heads on straight and realized they couldn't go crazy considering the whole situation.
::Jumps up and down in a victory dance::
THANK YOU! Some reason in a genre that is bloating with unrealistic romance. If you want me to suspend reality and believe in vampires, at least make the common things like love make sense. This does that really well, balancing the fantastical with the genuine. That's the reason I enjoyed it so much.
The characters were well developed and diverse. From compassionate Sofia to jealous Lucas and everyone in between you got a gambit of personalities that both grate on each other and balance one another out. Seeing as this is a large coven of vampires it makes sense there would be so many different types of people, and you see that. Add the surprising characteristics you find in the story, such as a vampire who misses the sun and a witty psychology studying witch, and I felt the characters brought the story to life not the world.
Don't be quick to the count the world out though, because that is another bright point for me. The way everything is described makes it sound beautiful. From the ominous wall that hides The Shade, to the gorgeous penthouses up in the sky high redwood canopies, the author did an amazing job creating a stunning setting for the characters. You can tell that every detail was thought out from the mountain range transformed into a natural barricade and the added use of tunnels as slave quarters and cells. Nothing in the natural surroundings is left underutilized for The Shae and even though it is always night, I never felt like anything was diluted by darkness while it was being described. In fact it is quite the opposite, I'd picture this a vivid world with lots to explore.
With all of the wonderful things about this story, I'd be re-missed to not discuss the one thing I found missing:
I felt like I needed to know more about the past. Derek, vampires, The Shade, hunters, they were all left for a lot of speculation. I wanted to know why he was sleeping for 400 years, it almost seemed like that question was a gaping hole not only in the plot, but who Derek was as a character. Between the past and the little nuggets of info we got about prophecies coming true, it felt like a teaser. Hopefully we find out in book 2, A Shade of Blood, and it was just something we had to be patient about! This book was really great and keeps you enthralled from cover to cover (I read it in about 30 hours!) I'd recommend it to anyone who reads any sort of genre from paranormal to romance and anything in between, you will be entertained!