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Review: Dark Awakening by Kendra Leigh Castle

13 Jan

Dark Awakening by Kendra Leigh Castle
Grand Central Publishing (July 2011)
Mass Market: $7.99; ebook: $7.99
ISBN: 9781609418373

Favorite Lines: “She felt like someone else, someone far more confident than she had ever been, and could hardly believe what she heard herself saying.” (p. 164)

Enter the world of the Dark Dynasties . . .

For centuries, shapeshifting vampire Tynan MacGillivray has prowled the night as an outcast, valued only for his ferocious hunting skills. When a feud among the immortals escalates into all-out war, he is ordered by his ruthless queen to locate a Seer-a human woman with a special gift-who can secure victory for their clan. Ty’s search leads him to a quiet New England town, but once he has the Seer in his grasp, her touch awakens within him a hunger like he’s never known . . .

Lily Quinn has always been different. Since childhood, she’s had vivid nightmares and an eerie sixth sense. When a sexy, silver-eyed stranger demands her help, Lily plunges into a new world of danger and sensuality. With Ty, she discovers sizzling passions she cannot deny and powers she cannot control. Soon, it is clear that Lily is much more than a Seer-she holds the key to ancient secrets and unthinkable destruction. But will a vampire’s vow of eternal protection stop these evil forces . . . or unleash her dark destiny?

Looking to sink your teeth into a new paranormal romance series? Try Kendra Leigh Castle’s Dark Dynasties series, but don’t expect any new ground to be turned. It’s filled with political wrangling, a super damaged hero and an ancient wrong being righted. It all begins in book one, Dark Awakening.

Castle introduces a vampire society which is controlled by ruling classes. It’s a pretty basic set up–there are those at the top and those at the bottom. The hero (Tynan) is at the bottom despite his hard work, dedication and ruthless drive to prove himself and his brethren as trustworthy vampires. He has placed blinders over his eyes block the danger surrounding his people as he spends long stretches of time alone while searching for the one woman who can help his queen maintain her position at the top of vampire society.

Tynan is a powerless alpha male. Sure he’s strong and a great fighter, but slaves have no control. Society and time have beaten Ty over the head with prejudice surrounding his fae bloodline. He’s even come to believe he is less due to the very bloodline which allows him to transform into a feline. He and his people are slaves to the Ptolemy (supposedly a superior bloodline of vampires). Over the course of the book, Ty’s thoughts begin to change as his feelings for the heroine (Lily) grow. Care transforms into love as his eyes and mind open to the suffering of his people and hope for change.

After reading about Ty’s horrible life, I couldn’t feel sympathy for the heroine. Lily was adopted then set aside. She had poor, little rich girl syndrome. I’m not saying she didn’t have reason to feel alone and sad, but when you compare that to a life of servitude and constant abuse there is no doubt which one trumps the other. I guess I just felt like she was a lackluster heroine. I didn’t care about her. I cared about Ty. As such, only his feelings mattered to me. I was happy that he found something that called to him from within her. I didn’t get it or feel the romance, but the hero did so I went with it. The best part of the book was watching Ty build his own self-esteem and come into his own.

To sum it all up I guess you can say that I didn’t have strong feelings for or against Dark Awakening. It’s the first book in a new series so much time is spent setting up the political structure and teaching the reader how its paranormal world works. It’s supposed to be about vampires, but it has more of a shapeshifter feel. I don’t regret reading it, but I wish I’d connected to the heroine so I had some kind of belief in a possible HEA with Ty.