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Danielle's Reading Adventures

Reading is my favorite hobby, hands down. Books are love to me.  I am an avid collector, and paper books will always edge out e-books with me.

Out of the Shadows

Shadow's Claim - Kresley Cole

I think this would have been a five star book, but some aspects towards the end spoiled that for me. I feel that Bettina's insecurity and her fixation on Caspion sort of ruins the romance a bit. I agree with her that it would make her seem fickle if she was totally in love with Cas for years, and then all of a sudden, she's crazy about a vampire she barely knows. However, I think Trehan did just about everything he could to prove how much she meant to him. He even turned his back on his whole culture (and thus his identity for her). He also refrained from doing something that was very important to him as a Mated Vampire out of concern for her own comfort. So at the end if he lost it a bit, I think it was forgivable. Instead, she makes him into the villain. I felt that it was inauthentic. Yes, they make up at the end, and she explains her feelings about it, but it didn't really resolve my unrest about the situation. I would definitely have dropped Cas like a hot potato for Trehan, and it was said that pretty much everyone knew that Trehan was the right guy for her and told her, but it seemed like she still didn't trust it until the very end.

Other than the emotional letdown of the ending, I really enjoyed this book. While Cole expands the story beyond the Valkyries and their associates significantly, it still feels like it's a part of the series, while establishing a different direction. I think the Dacians are quite fascinating, but I can't imagine the other Dacians topping Trehan for me. He's the bee's knees, as far as I'm concerned. I love my heroes a bit remote and cerebral and coldly dangerous, and he fits the bill. Especially when he meets the other qualification that I love in a hero, dangerously, crazy in love with the heroine. He would do just about anything for Bettina, and I liked that he seriously thought about what going after Bettina would cost him. That gave his gestures even more meaning. I liked how he helped her to get over her PTSD over her attack, and in such a wonderful way.

I know I seem hard on Bettina. I realize she's young and inexperienced with life. I can see that she hasn't lived enough to be able to make the best decisions, but I do feel like she should have shown more emotional intelligence than she did. Cas was her hero, but he had feet of clay all along. She saw many of his flaws, but her love was blind for him. We do love people despite their flaws, but that doesn't mean that we're in love with them. And I feel that for someone you're going to spend the rest of your life with, they need to love you as passionately as you love them.

As far as good traits, I liked how she had a skill at developing weapons, particularly fashionable weapons that were jewelry on the surface, but were highly lethal. I liked her good heart (which is interesting because the Sorceri are on the side of the villains (Pravus), while the Vertis are the good guys. I had to remind myself that I was seeing the villain point of view several times.

The contest freaked me out. I couldn't imagine having to sit through males killing each other to get my hand. She showed a lot of fortitude in doing that. I loved how Trehan would communicate with her while he was fighting. Oh man, he was swoon-worthy.

Yeah, it's clear one of the biggest appeals of this book was Trehan. Loved him. I also liked Bettina despite her issues. Cole is hilarious. She is the queen of one liners, and they are always so fitting for the story. I wonder if she runs those by her crit partners or her husband, and if they don't laugh out loud, she cuts them.

As much as it pains me, I couldn't give this five stars. I was too let down with the resolution (although everything did turn out okay in the end). There are some parts that are just brilliant, but emotionally, the overall story took a blow in my estimation because of the conflict near the end. I love that Cole puts so much thought into her story, and I can imagine it must be hard to keep the details straight, but she seems to do beautifully. She has some really fun characters, many of them quite outrageous, like Salem. I hope to see him again soon. Overall, this book was so much win, but not quite perfect. I sure did love the Lothaire cameo. I love that evil old guy!

Overall rating: 4.5/5.0 stars.

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