"The darkness is coming."
~Vivienne-Seer of The Shade
**Please note, book was gifted by author in exchange for an honest review**
Absolutely captivating. A Shade of Blood, book 2 of the A Shade of Vampire series by Bella Forrest, blew this series wide open. I read book 1 back in February and found it to be a very impressive introduction to a fresh new YA Paranormal Romance series. I expected this installment to be good but it went beyond that, it pulled me in and never let go.
There are many key players in this mysterious world and Ms. Forrest opted to go the 'multiple POV' route. In all honesty, this often takes away from the story, for me at least. It tends to add confusion and interrupts the pacing of the book yet this was not the case here. The transitions flowed effortlessly and given the timing and order of the POV's, it added to the building intrigue of the book instead of taking away from it.
Best friends, Sophia and Ben's lives will never be the same. Both are now stuck between two different worlds, feeling an ever strengthening pull towards The Shade but for very different reasons. Both try desperately to get their lives back to normal, a feat that is obviously easier said that done. The nightmares are relentless and the darkness, is indeed coming...
Derek Novak is spiraling out of control, steadily losing what little humanity he may have left within him. Guilt from many years and battles past both consumes and drives him. He is disgusted by the gluttonous, complacent ways of his people and will rule with an iron fist to see that they are well prepared for the lurking threats to their island. His actions both while lucid and those committed during unexplained blackouts strikes fear, as the beast overtakes the man.
I have a love/hate relationship with books that cause me to bounce back and forth in regards to who I want to 'get the girl'. Even now, I'm undecided. The love triangle between Ben, Sophia and Derek is a fascinating and the odds shift from one man to the other as the story unfolds. I think one of my favorite parts of this book is the fact that no one seems to be truly 'good' or 'bad'. Derek especially had my emotions all over the place. You'll love him, loathe him and at times be utterly disgusted by him. For me, that's the makings for a fascinating leading man laid out by an author who is absolutely willing to 'go there'.
A Shade of Blood isn't your 13 yr old's YA paranormal romance, it falls towards the more mature end of this genre due to language, drinking, smoking, sex that isn't 'all about love' and even sexual assault. The author doesn't give a 'play by play' but there is no full on 'fade to black' either.
Overall, A Shade of Blood is a fascinating, full speed ahead rollercoaster ride that you'll find hard to put down. There is no 'supporting cast', I found myself wanting to know more and more about every single character I was introduced to. The combination of romance, betrayal, action and one suprise reveal after another makes for an exciting tale. And btw, the cliffhanger will leave you stumbling for book 3. Don't say I didn't warn you...
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