Shadow’s Claim – Immortals After Dark #13 – Kresley Cole

It’s crazy how I can re-read a book and hardly remember anything that was in it. I’m re-reading the Immortals After Dark series and, for the most part, I remember the main plot of each book and I know what happens in future books so I sometimes have an advantage over someone who is reading the book for the first time but I barely remembered the contents of this book. I mean, I vaguely remember the characters and some of the events but most of it was like reading it for the first time. Maybe It was because, while this book was good, there are others in the series that stuck out in my mind more.

We, the reader, briefly met Trehan Daciano in the last book of the series, Lothaire. He is one of the five cousins who had claim to the throne of Dacia but they had decided to give it to Lothaire to break a curse that Lothaire’s mother had put on the Dacian family thousands of years before that said they would fight each other until Lothaire was rightly put on the throne. This book’s timeline runs concurrently with Lothaire as do a lot of the other books in the series.

In the last book, we knew that something was up with Trehan. Lothaire suspected he had a Bride but didn’t know why he didn’t have his Bride with him so while I was reading this book, I kept wondering when the two books would meet up to the point where Trehan was unhappy and living back in Dacia.

Trehan is the tracker and assassin for Dacia which is a hidden kingdom from the rest of the world. Sometimes, Dacians will invite outsiders into the kingdom but once you are there, you can never leave. Leave it to me to start singing “Hotel California’ when I read this. His younger cousin had invited a Death Demon named Caspion into the kingdom but Caspion left back to his own kingdom of Rune. Now, it is Trehan’s job to track down Caspion and kill him.

Trehan uses a scrying crystal which he has hanging from his neck to find people. He just needs picture their face and he can trace to them or close to them. When he traces to Rune, he gets distracted for some reason by a lantern up in one of the spires of the castle. Trehan never gets distracted. He’s calm, cool and never lets emotions rule him.

Bettina is half Death Demon and half Sorceress and the princess of Rune. Her parents died when she was a small child and her godfather, Raum, rules the country until she is married which is soon. Raum and her godmother, the queen of the Sorceri, have decided to marry her off by hosting a huge tournament that anyone from the Lore can enter. Anyone includes disgusting creatures such as Cerrunos who have snake bodies, Puss Demons who have to wear rubber boots to catch their leaking puss and one huge froglike creature named Goürlav whose blood creates dangerous creatures called night terrors. Each drop of his blood creates one of these nightmarish creatures. Bettina decides that she will prevent the tournament by seducing her best friend Caspion who she has been in love with since forever. If she is no longer a virgin, the tournament cannot start but once the tournament does start and the creatures sign the contract in blood, it will be too late because she would be stoned to death if she lost her virginity.

She tells Caspion what she is planning but he wants nothing to do with it. Almost every species of demons has a fated mate and they wait hundreds of years to meet their fated mate so if Caspion devirginized Bettina, he would have to marry her and he would always wonder about his fated mate. He also tells her that the Prince of Shadows, the Dacian assassin, would kill him soon anyway because he had left Dacia and no one escapes the assassin.

Caspion is a notorious womanizer and humps just about any female he can yet he has no interest in Bettina because he thinks of her as a sister. It hurts her feelings but she tells him she will leave her lantern on just in case he changes his mind.

Trehan’s curiosity got the better of him so he traced up to the spire and watched Bettina while she slept. His heart started beating, something it hadn’t done in a thousand years. When a vampire reaches immortality, his heart stops beating and all his sexual desires and functions cease until he finds his Bride. He had found his Bride. The lantern went out but he could still see her with his vampire eyesight. Bettina woke up and knew someone was in the room and thought it was Cas. She was drunk from drinking with him earlier and her eyesight was little better than a human’s so she started making out with Trehan.

Trehan thought she could see him and she must know she was his bride so he was elated that she was making out with him but just before he was about to have sex with her, he found out that she thought he was someone else…his target.

Trehan decides to enter the competition which means he can never go back to his kingdom. Dacians have to stay in the mist and shadows and never reveal themselves. Trehan entered as the Prince of Shadows but did not reveal where he was from but he still gave up his home for a chance to win Bettina’s hand. All the other creatures were more interested in being king of Rune more than having Bettina as their wife.

Caspion entered the tournament at the last minute, having an unselfish moment…or maybe trying to live a little longer since all contestants are safe from anyone else during the tournament which means Trehan cannot kill him while entered in the tournament.

But neither Caspion nor Trehan have a chance against Goürlav who can’t be killed because one blood drop could cause a catastrophe. He is also super fast and super strong. The tournament will last for over a week but if Caspion or Trehan gets paired with Goürlav, they will be killed unless one of them figures out a way to kill him.

It was interesting to watch Bettina’s personality develop and get stronger as she became more confident. She had been attacked while she was in the mortal world at the beginning of the book by Vrekeners, creatures that hunt and kill Sorceri. They had taken her power from her and then beat and tortured her until every bone in her body was broken but just as they were going to kill her, she was summoned to Rune by her godfather which traces her automatically to the castle or wherever her summoning medallion is at. It took months to heal and she lived in fear that the Vrekeners would find her again. I liked how Trehan helped her with her fear.

There was also a couple of developing future stories going on in the background of this story. In a previous book, a Vrekener abducted another Sorceress named Melanthe. Both Bettina’s godmother, Morgana, and Melanthe’s sister were searching for her in this book. Also, a Lykae named Munro was seeking revenge against some evil warlocks for doing evil things to Lykae. I believe his story or his twin brother’s story is next.

So, I am off to read that book. See you when I come up for air next.

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