4 out of 5 stars
**Please note, book was gifted by the author in exchange for an honest review**
"We're all broken, Claudia, but none of us are beyond fixing. Let me love you."
Hells bells, where is Dr. Phil when you need him? A Shadow of Light is the fourth installment of the A Shade of Vampire series by Bella Forrest and it most certainly sheds some light on some things, mainly the high level of parental dysfunction surrounding both Sophia and Derek. How neither of them grew up to be crazed serial killers is beyond me. Hmm, that Derek though has quite the temper. ;-)
Derek, Sophia and their struggle to be together is still the main focus of this series and the pair are still able to carry it nicely. That being said, they had to make room in the spotlight for characters that up until now have a bit more secondary. First up, Claudia or as I've always referred to her "that bitch", is quite the standout. The reader gets a much better understanding of what both drives and haunts her. I don't know that I can ever quite get on board with her after what she put my Ben through but she is well on her way. I really liked the building "redemption" of this character via some self reflection, her past with Yuri and seeing that she doesn't want to be like Ingrid aka Camilla, aka Sophia's mother, aka BAT.SHIT.CRAZY. I mean honestly, it's been awhile since I've hated a character as much as her. Aiden, Sophia's father isn't exactly my favorite person either but I'm holding out hope for him.
My other big standout was Gregor Novak. I can't really explain why he was such a standout for me since I don't like spoiling in my reviews. Let's just say I love a multilayered character who is neither completely "good" nor completely "evil" and I love the element of surprise such characters can bring to a storyline. His tricky dynamic with his children and his inner thoughts and struggles made for a great complex "love to hate", "hate to love" character.
I'm finding it increasingly more difficult to categorize this series. Paranormal romance is a given but it continues to walk a very fine line between YA and Adult. While the sex aspect has been dialed down a bit the "adult situations" have increased. Many of these characters pasts are disturbing and abusive and while Ms. Forrest doesn't go into grave details, she lays the foundation and creates the picture while managing to avoid the dreadful fade to black. I tend to have multiple personalities when it comes to my reading preferences but a strong sensual presence is damn near a given, a prerequisite if you will, and then there's this series. That isn't to say that our male lead Derek doesn't have sex appeal because he does. He's strong, lethal, and yet vulnerable at the same time but he isn't written to be "sex on a stick" so the fact that I'm still heavily invested in this series and it's characters is a testament in itself. Bring on book 5!
For more on author Bella Forrest and her A Shade of Vampire series visit her website HERE