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Having enjoyed Dianne Sylvan's nonfiction in the past, I was thrilled to see she had an urban fantasy coming out. I wasn't sure if Queen of Shadows would live up to the high expectations I'd set up in my head, but I was definitely curious to find out. My expectations were met and then some. Queen of Shadows is my favorite book of 2010 so far.

Ironically, this makes it a little hard to review. When a book reaches in and grabs me emotionally the way this one did, it can be hard to separate the reviewer from the fangirl and articulate why other people might like it too! So to get a few fangirl-type things out of the way, things that resonated with me but might not necessarily translate to every reader: First, apparently Miranda Grey and I have the same taste in music, and so the scenes where she sings are given added emotional weight by the fact that these songs were already meaningful to me. Second, I saw Disney's Beauty and the Beast at a pivotal point in my early adolescence and now I'm a sucker for any brooding hero who opens his impressive library to the heroine.

OK, on to the more universal reasons why Queen of Shadows is good. I love that Sylvan has given us a musician heroine in Miranda. I like both "old school" and "new school" urban fantasy, but one of the things I miss about the "old school" is the emphasis on the arts. Protagonists would often be writers, painters, musicians, etc., and this would tie in with the magical elements. I believe that art is one of the closest things to magic that we humans can do, and as much as I enjoy books about vampire slayers and PIs and bounty hunters, sometimes I just want to read about an artist again. Miranda is a musician in Austin's bar scene, who has psychic abilities that enable her to influence the crowd's moods. This talent helps keep her financially afloat, but also drains her, and as the story begins Miranda is wasting away and her sanity is questionable. It looks like she's hit rock bottom... and then things get worse.

SPOILERS may follow:
I'll admit that I cringed when I saw a rape scene coming, not only because such scenes are wrenching to read but because I've too often seen them handled badly. Authors will write them in a titillating style, or they'll subtly imply that it was the victim's fault somehow or that it wasn't "really" rape, or they'll use it to create five minutes of cheap angst and then have the character just sort of forget about it for the rest of the story. Sylvan doesn't do any of these things; she handles the attack and the resultant PTSD issues realistically and sensitively. (That's not to even mention what happens to the assailants, which I'm not ashamed to admit gave me a feeling of vindictive glee.)

The hero, vampire ruler David Solomon, puts Miranda up in his Haven and helps her recover. He has plenty of other stuff on his plate, too, what with the rebellious vampire faction that's trying to take him down. David has made it illegal for vampires to kill humans, but there are those still loyal to the dead former ruler, Auren, who let them slaughter at will. David is a terrific, layered character whose ethical ideals sometimes clash with the actions required of a ruler. One aspect of David I really love is that he's a computer geek, and the fact that he's more tech-savvy than his opposition is a big part of why he's been able to keep his throne.

He also helps Miranda learn to control her powers. It's so refreshing that she becomes stronger, not weaker, as she begins to fall in love, and that later when they're separated for a time, she mopes briefly but then uses this time to do some more growing. She doesn't start out as the usual tough-as-nails UF heroine, but nor does she stay weak throughout the story. She grows believably and builds up her physical, emotional, and psychic muscles through hard work. When she does see David again, she is able to make a choice from a position of strength, which she could not have done when she was still dependent upon him.

The twisty plot has plenty of emotional highs and lows for our characters, and if you're anything like me, you'll be reaching for the Kleenex at the sad parts, grinning like a fool at the happy ones, and pumping your fist in the air whenever a bad guy gets what they so richly deserve. The story is pretty dark, but Sylvan breaks up the darkness with occasional humor, particularly in the dialogue. I love the secondary characters, especially David's second, Faith, and Miranda's friend Kat. In fact, if there's anything in Queen of Shadows that I didn't quite like, it's just that I felt that Kat deserved a little more explanation of what was really going on. Even Miranda recognizes this, though, so it's easy to imagine that this conversation occurred offscreen after the events of the book. (Whether it went well is a whole other question...)

I also enjoyed the evocative prose, which added to the depth and richness of the book, and the diversity of the cast.

If paranormal romance and urban fantasy exist on a continuum, Queen of Shadows is more toward the PNR end of that spectrum. If you just don't like vampire romance at all, it probably won't convert you. But if you do like vampire romance, but often find yourself disappointed in it and are looking for a book that reminds you why you liked vampire romance in the first place, you could not do better than Queen of Shadows. Moving, well-written, suspenseful, and sensual, this is a novel you won't want to miss.
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VINE VOICEon October 5, 2010
By the end of Queen of Shadows, I appreciated the story and enjoyed it. However, the first half of the book is very slow. There was a lot of setting up, in terms of the world, the vampires' society, and Miranda and her powers. On one hand, I can understand that these things needed to be explained before the story could really start moving. On the other hand, I was unfortunately bored while all of that setting up was going on. The second half of the book moves much more quickly and is quite exciting, so if you can hold on through the setup, you're in for a great climax and a nice setup for a series.

I feel I need to include a warning: the brutal attack scene at the beginning of the book might trigger some readers. It is understandably unpleasant to read, and it made me extremely uncomfortable. That's the purpose of the scene, of course, but it is definitely a scene that might trigger readers sensitive to the nature of the scene.

SPOILERS

See, Miranda is gang raped. I'm personally very uncomfortable with the use of rape in books as a means of character development. Rape is such an intensely degrading act against a person, and unfortunately it is often used in a sensational way in fiction. Each book is different, of course, in how rape is handled. I despise books where the raped character gets over it immediately, or where a character (usually female) is raped as a way to further the character development of a male character. In Queen of Shadows, I didn't feel like the rape was gratuitous, but I also felt like Miranda could have simply been beaten. She is close enough to the edge that a beating would have had just as believable an effect on her psyche as a rape. But that is just me and my own personal quirks. Others might find the scene effective, and others might find it so repellent as to turn them off to the book. To each her own.

I'm originally from Texas, though you'd never know it to hear me talk, and so I especially appreciated the fact that the novel is set in Austin. So many urban fantasies these days seem to be set either in the Deep South--often Atlanta--or in the Pacific Northwest, so it was a refreshing change. Sylvan is an Austin local and that definitely comes through in how she describes the city. It's vibrant and real, and it made me want to go exploring the city and the Hill Country.

Of all the characters, I found David Solomon to be the most interesting. I'm a sucker for well-crafted vampires, and Sylvan's vampire hierarchy is original and intriguing. I'm definitely interested to see more of this world in the future. Miranda, on the other hand, was a bit blurry around the edges; I never felt like I got to know her and didn't sympathize with her as much as I wish I had. I can't exactly put my finger on why I couldn't get into her head, and I'd love to hear other readers' opinions on her. She's a likable character, and I get the feeling she's going to be much more developed in the next book of the series.

While not without problems, Queen of Shadows is a promising start to a series, and I'm looking forward to reading more.
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on January 6, 2011
Before I begin, let me say that I do not intend to offend anyone, or imply any disrespect to another person's opinion. Unfortunately, I feel that a fair number of recent urban fantasy offerings have just fallen flat in their stories, the plots, and in the characters. One exception I want to note is that the new publisher, Angry Robot, has a number of very high quality books on the market. But back to Queen of Shadows, which IS a great title, and the book has a pretty cool cover, too.

Unfortunately, there aren't many other things I can compliment. This is one of the books I've read which I felt like went on really strong, until very close to the end, when the entire story fell apart.

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!!!!

By the end, so many cliches had manifested that it was like a B-movie remake of a B-movie.

The kickass sensei that said she didn't want to fight the vampires battles because she did not want to die - dies nobly and of course, tells the heroine to keep going. The heroine, who I actually thought was a decent character and human being, turns into a "natural queen" by the end, with attitude suiting royalty and that everyone around her felt was perfectly appropriate. The vampire lover just stands there flabbergasted, awestruck as his woman appears from the dead with the manners and power of a queen. Even her human friends, who notice that she is now acting like an autocratic *itch, are equally convinced she should be acting this way.

To me, it felt like a punch in the stomach. Strung along for so many pages, and then suddenly David is a possessive jerk, and the story turns out to be little more than a cinderella story with vampires.

But that's just my opinion. If you enjoy traditional type romance stories with heroines catapulted from the depths to the castle; then this book may well be one you would really enjoy. However, if you are looking for the urban fantasy part and not very interested in the romance, then this book may not suit your interests very well. Obviously, it has been very popular, but I think my statement above is accurate. If you really like romance in an urban fantasy kind of setting with vampires, then you'll probably like this story. If you're not into the romance, be warned, this book is about the romance.
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on September 1, 2010
I was browsing in the bookstore and picked up Queen of Shadows because I saw Angela Knight had given it praise. I love Angela Knight, so decided to give this book a try. I got completely sucked in to the story standing there in the bookstore aisle, so when I got home I immediately downloaded it to my Kindle and picked up where I had left off. Well, I just finished it - I read the whole thing straight through. It had all the elements that make up a great book. Solid plot, likeable characters, good action, well-written.... you other book lovers will know what I mean. I will now eagerly await the next book in the series and re-read Queen of Shadows a few times while I wait. Like now.
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on November 19, 2010
Hmmmm...well there wasn't anything wrong with this book it's just that it wasn't terribly surprising, complex or dynamic. The foreshadowing alone was about as subtle as a sledgehammer. Hello title?

Don't get me wrong though, I'm not hating on it. It just is what it is.

**SPOILERS**

So the book is called Queen of Shadows. We meet tortured artist Miranda Grey who within the 1st 4 chapters (bare with me now b'c this is the setup & it's a lot) we learn is an empath & in severe misery, suffering physically & emotionally b'c of this burden.

She's then brutally gang raped, manages to murder her rapists while on the verge of dying only to be saved just in time by the major duomo of vampires, "Prime" David Solomon.

(As an entire side note.. why the flip does almost every UF heroine bar a few, have to have had some sort of sexual assault, trauma etc. in order to have a jumping off point for their emotional growth or supposed badassery? Can't these authors find anything more original to exploit? This overused plot device leave me pissed off, esp. when I find the context gratuitous as in this book).

Anyway, back to he summary, The Prime takes her in like a stray pup, nourishes her back to health & plans on teaching her how to shield so he can swat her on the ass when she's all better & tell her, "now go out there & be somebody!" OK, that's a sarcastic summary of intention b'c nevertheless, pretty much spot on.

We learn a bit... that there is a Signet (a magical necklace) that alights when a new "Prime" is in the house (basically a vampire version of the voting system without the democracy). The Signet also chooses the Prime's King or Queen (think arranged marriage or as most in the book looked at it - meant to be).

So there you have it. Four chapters in & can we guess what's going to happen between Miranda & David?

The fact that it was so blatant, I gave it the benefit of doubt & surmised this must be more of a character driven story & therefore, it's really about watching the relationships blossom. So I just shrugged my shoulders & kept reading.

However, that wasn't the case b'c if it was, their blossoming relationship would have been the focus & instead, I felt gypped of the interactions between David & Miranda, esp. from the time they were decidedly & openly in love with one another & that declaration only came approx 75% the way into the book.

I'm thinking that it might be more of a case of 1st time novelist syndrome.

With that being said, I think Sylvan might get better. Her prose started off pretty good. No OTT melodrama in spite of the material, however the prose turned purple as soon as Miranda was rescued & it's probably the only thing that did surprise me about the book given the tone at the start. I do feel Sylvan went into Mary Sue/Gary Stu territory. The ending I thought was pure cheese, especially the Epilogue.

And thanks to that extravagant prose, there's a line that's uttered by Miranda during the Grand Finale which put it over the edge for me & earned the eye rolls.

I also just didn't get jazzed about David & Miranda's chemistry although I liked each character decently enough, their pacing didn't ring true for me.

Also the plot twist?...Not so much.

Again - the rest of the hint dropping/foreshadowing was too much of an obvious map.
And that map got drawn & re-drawn over & over for us readers time & again, pretty much a bludgeoning us w/regard to what's going to happen thereby taking all the suspense out of it.

There's that sledgehammer I mentioned again. And b'c of this lack of finesse, it didn't have any of that complexity or dynamism I was expecting, esp. after the heavy hitting start. So for me, it was pretty much redundant.

I won't get into all the specifics regarding the redundancies or how/why there was a lack of foreshadowing to help make it truly compelling, only b'c there are too many to mention.

However, I'll just summarize a few to illustrate some bits of blandness regarding the whole set up (or lack of).

about 25% the way into the book, Jonathan (another Prime's lover) predicts Miranda dying via David - make connection back to the title & then David's v. early explanation of how to turn a vamp (2 ways).

About 40% the way into it, David has to kill someone who tries to infiltrate The Elite guard - make the logical assumption that this small attempt, foreshadows a larger more successful attempt & that someone has already infiltrated which we'll find out at the end.

60% the way into the book & the alleged Big Bad Enemy is killed in a way too easy fashion (a compound explosion) b'c it was so immediate & took barely any plotting. In what's left of the compound, the Big Bad Enemy's sister is found who conveniently, the Big Bad hated so treated her worse than dirt. David automatically assumes it makes her fairly safe. OK right. How long has he been alive?

And guess what? David takes this stray in as well...so, where do you think this is going?

Not only that, but apparently we need to be reminded again that Jonathan's prediction about Miranda dying still stands even though at this point, she is all better, has been set free & making a life for herself.

Then 75% the way into it, Miranda & David have sex for the 1st time & for whatever reason (er..destiny?) she can't help herself so bites David in the act & vice versa. Yet again, make the connection to what we already know... David's original explanation about how a person can be turned into a vamp (mutual biting & swapping) then add Jonathan's prediction (AGAIN) into the mix & whaddya get?

Why the Queen of Shadows of course. Dun Dun DUN!

Yadda, yadda, yawn, etc.. etc...neat & tidy ending.

And yet, my biggest irks were two main issues I haven't mentioned yet.

One being that the entire build up was wasted.

The MC has an incredible talent & she's undergone intense training to control it, only to use it once (& mildly at that) on a throwaway character at the big battle scene. Sorry but that was a complete squander. So the whole kick ass heroine thing Sylvan was trying to achieve? I didn't see it.

The 2nd issue being the pacing. I might have swallowed it a bit more if Sylvan just adjusted the time frame. If maybe Miranda recouped for 3 or so months at Haven & it was more like an entire year passed from start to finish.

However, Miranda was only at Haven for one month & already in love with David. She was brutally GANG RAPED for Pete's Sake! Not to mention her overall emotional state even before the rape. Huh? I just didn't swallow this at all & it's also why I think the gang rape set up comes across gratuitous b'c it ends up lacking good reason for it to have happened at all by the end, IMO.

What could have potentially been a deftly explored, emotional character driven novel ended up as standardly trite, maudlin' romance novel fare.

I think the whole book spanned a total of 6 months maybe less. After the extraordinary gang rape, the type of mental shape we find Miranda in b'c how she's been living for a long while? Well, it left me at arms length in getting into the whole story.

And with all this said, I know there is something likable about it, I can't put my finger on what exactly that is b'c logically, it didn't stack for me making it harder for me to overlook things on the whole, but I guess it's there somewhere b'c it's a popular one.
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on December 3, 2010
I don't write reviews of all the books I read. If I did, I wouldn't have time for the reading. This one I needed to praise.

I'm old, and have gone through hard sf to soft sf to fantasy to, lately, lots of urban fantasy. I was thrilled a few years ago when the lack of female strong characters was finally coming to an end. But then, another cycle seemed to hit.

For whatever reason, most of the female leads seemed to be getting more and more interested in diving between the sheets, and the authors described the action in great detail - and wildly impossible terms. I guess most of them are living through their characters, but the result is that the story lines, and the characters, suffered as a result.

I had never read anything by Ms Sylvan before, and frankly expected it to be a time filling experience, not too memorable. I was so very wrong.

From the beginning, it was clear this was a person who didn't just visit in Austin; she understood the Austin world, and not just the richer side. I spent many years there, and kept running into spot-on descriptions of places; not just the locale but the flavor. This set the stage perfectly for the lead character, a gifted musician with other gifts that were slowly destroying her.

The Austin I knew and loved didn't have vampires. I think. But nothing in the book would have clashed with the Austin experience, which made it seem even more real.

Then the protagonist fell in love with a Vamp. It could have been so very corny, so extremely cliché, and yet Ms Sylvan didn't fall into that trap. The attraction between the two was realistic (as much as vampires are, anyhow:), and the problems they faced weren't thrown out with trivial solutions. Good friends turned out to be not good friends, while others came to the fore and showed what good friends CAN be. And it was really fun to read.

That last was the clincher, for me. Yes, there was a short lovemaking episode, but it fit the story instead of being the story. As one of the characters put it, the words "turgid" and "throbbing" were NOT used as descriptions, and that made it so much better.

I had a hunch the outcome, but it still was worked out in a different way than I expected. I know that town, but I didn't expect the use of so many of the iconic landmarks to fit the built-in prophecy.

The last two pages were so good I smiled, even though I was reading it while all alone. And it's really nice to find an author who can get the last line just right.

If you want Twilight or wet underwear from untapped desires, this might not be for you. It's really not for the kiddies, but it's not hard to read except you don't want some of the betrayals to occur.
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on October 12, 2010
Queen of Shadows is the first novel in Dianne Sylvan's new Shadow World series. Set in contemporary times in Austin, Texas, the story opens with the heroine, Miranda Grey, a tortured musician convinced that she is on the brink of insanity. The recent onset of strong empathic abilities has left her overwhelmed and feeling isolated. Seemingly overnight, her life has turned upside down. In the midst of personal tragedy, she meets David Soloman, a computer geek,... and vampire Prime of the South. Her world once again turns upside down. He helps her heal from her tragedies, both physically and mentally, even helping her to get her empathic ability under control with the help of his Second, Faith. She eventually goes back to her life in Austin as a musician, ready to face life with her head up once again. But this is just the beginning of their story,...

I had read some of Sylvan's nonfiction, so I was ready for her debut fiction novel. The story drew me and ensnared me, which I is something I truly love in a book. I like to be lost in a story, and this novel definately gave that to me. The descriptions she used were vivid and made you feel as if you were there. The characters were very well developed and that made them very real and very relatable to the reader. There were some very dark and disturbing elements throughout the story that kept me guessing and fully involved. Too many times, supporting characters are not as fully developed as the main characters, leaving the story seem somewhat unfinished. This was most definately not the case here. As I neared the end, I found myself avoiding it, just because I knew I wouldn't put it down without finishing and I wanted to make it last as long as possible!

The second book, ShadowFlame, is due out July 26, 2011 from Ace Urban Fantasy.
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VINE VOICEon September 23, 2010
~* 4.5 Stars *~

She is an incredibly strong empath who can use music to manipulate others' emotions - and get relief from the press of them, but the stress of her combined talents are quickly tearing Miranda Grey apart. Her psyche can't handle the strain. She's cut herself off from people, unable to meet anyone's eyes for fear of seeing too much of the darkness in their hearts, unable to touch anyone for fear of being bombarded by all their dirty little secrets. She keeps her head down and tries not to attract any attention when she's not on stage performing. That's why she didn't see the men as they followed her down the street after a gig late one night. And when they pulled her into that dark alley, hard rain pounding down on Austin as if the city were weeping for her fate, she never even had time to scream.

One of the most powerful vampires in the country, David Solomon is Prime of the Southern United States. He's also a techno geek with a Ph.D. from MIT, an addiction to ice cream...and a growing problem with insurgents, vampires chafing under the no-kill rule of his territory, among other grievances. When he first saw Miranda standing in line at a local mart, he could sense her power. He could sense her crumbling mental state. Then he went to the club and listened to her sing and realized the scope of her skills, but before he could step in to offer assistance with her deteriorating mental health, he was called away by his security team.

The next time he saw her, she was little more than human refuse in that alley - brutally beaten, raped, and almost dead. Just barely more alive than the men she had snuffed out with the sheer force of emotion she wields.

So begins the journey of Miranda and David, two extraordinary...people...whose destinies overlap and intertwine. So begins the Shadow World series, and an incredible urban fantasy series premiere. Original, imaginative, unique, Queen of Shadows is a breath of fresh air in the ofttimes stale genre, and is practically an homage to classic UF with characters who are gifted but flawed, broken, unsure, and struggle with their own demons just as vehemently as they struggle with outside forces.

Told with a flowing, descriptive narrative and vibrant, quick dialogue, this book fleshes out the world of the series and the characters involved with just the right blend of need-to-know-now and wait-to-see-how-this-develops that enhances but never overwhelms the simple but powerful plot. Three dimensional primary and secondary characters who run the gamut from quirky to endearing to a little terrifying ground the story and imbue it with a visceral sense of significance that made me care about their fates - care about them. Made me want to keep reading about them.

I loved Miranda and adored David. While there is definitely a romance between them in this book, the true nature of the story is their journey as individuals, she the victim who needs to find a way to live in this world and he the top predator who needs to find balance between who he is and what he is. With the backdrop of the threat to his territory and the danger to Miranda, their odd friendship and growing emotional connection made for compelling reading as they each travel their paths.

Miranda is far from perfect, and at times very far from strong and independent - someone who occasionally takes the easier, more self destructive way out, and Sylvan allows us to see the goodness in her, the yearning for a normalcy she'll never truly have, and the steel in her spine that will help her become who she's going to become. She crafts Miranda's gifts and curses, strengths and weaknesses, and leaves her ultimately sympathetic and likable...and respectable...without sacrificing her very organic development given her circumstances. Her failures and her triumphs are keenly felt, and it's handled with an aplomb that adds realism and believability.

David is a brilliant character, and I thoroughly enjoyed Sylvan's take on his personality, as well as the vampire mythos and culture incorporated into her world (Twenty-first century vamps! Yay!). The dialogue between him and Miranda and him and his Elite second was saturated with the spectrum of emotions that by nature he as Prime and as a vampire over three centuries old keeps contained. I can't wait to see how he develops as the series progresses.

There are delightful touches of humor in the book that I appreciate, and subtle touches of wit and sarcasm, as so much of this book is more on the dark and serious side. Man's inhumanity to man and...well...vampire's inhumanity to man and vampire both are in unflinching display here, but gentled by the tenderness of affection and humor, the overall picture is far less grim and much more entertaining. I like bleak and tragic as much as the next girl, but it's not to my personal preference for reading entertainment. This book had a nice balance.

Reading Queen of Shadows, it would be easy to see how this could be classified more as a paranormal romance than UF, but it is, actually, urban fantasy, and Sylvan will be continuing the series with Miranda and David as central characters, so there is no traditional HEA. Personally, I find that to be to the benefit of the book, which wouldn't have rated quite so high for me had it been intended as a romance. Too much of the book was centered around David and Miranda individually and independent of each other for me to have fully embraced it as PNR. I can wholeheartedly embrace it as urban fantasy, however.

There were one or two spots that I thought the pace of the plot got a little slow, but nothing so bad that I was overly bothered by it. I do wish that there had been a few things done differently - and almost all are impossible to expound on without seriously spoiling the plot. It's probably safe to say I wish there had been a bit more written out about the character growth for Miranda when she was in her new apartment in Austin. That whole time was seen in bits and pieces and mostly glossed over and summarized and I think it would have been nice to see it in a more real-time fashion. So too the evolution of feelings David had for Miranda. Those issues speak more towards my personal preferences, not criticisms, but I do prefer to see those sorts of transitions written out to better enjoy the transitional stages of character and relationship growth.

Despite that, there's so very much to like about this book that it's one of my favorites of the year and one of my happiest finds. It's going to be a very, very long wait until the second book in the series, which isn't going to be out until sometime in the summer of 2011. Like Miranda, I may actually pine until I get my hands on that book. I'm trying to control those sorts of thoughts with the reality that there IS a second book in the series. It helps. A little. Maybe I should try some Ben & Jerry's, too. Works for David.

Reviewed for One Good Book Deserves Another.
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on March 24, 2011
This book was addictive from page one. Not only could I not put it down, but I actually went through withdrawal when I was done. The next two books I read seemed really flat by comparison, even though one was by an author I usually like. The main characters in Queen of Shadows are emotionally very rich and vibrant. The plot and the way that magic is described are extremely compelling. I absolutely loved this book and would recommend it to anyone who reads fantasy or urban fantasy.
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on March 12, 2011
Having never read anything from this author, I was pleasantly surprised by this book. It's a very good dark urban fantasy. The story and world building were well done. I thought the pacing was fine--someone mentioned they thought the first part of the book was slow but I don't agree. It wasn't high action, but it wasn't draggy either.

I liked the hero & heroine. At first, I wasn't too sure what to think of the heroine, but I grew to like her and enjoyed seeing her growth. I especially liked the hero. He was smart, handsome and powerful (as you'd expect in this genre) but also a computer techie--so had some appealing nerdy qualities.

The story has some romance in it too, which should appeal to PNR lovers. Only negative for me was the ending felt a bit abrupt. It wasn't a cliff hanger but I was still left wanting more. Which I guess is the point of the next book! It will continue the story of the hero/heroine. I have already added it to my purchase list.

The author has a link to a deleted scene that was supposed to be at the very end of the book: [...].
After you finish reading the book, read the deleted scene. It makes the ending feel less abrupt, which was my only complaint with the book. The editor shouldn't have removed it.

***EDITED TO ADD: Book two is now out in this series and the author took a shocking turn with the series. Before investing time in this book, you might want to read reviews for Shadowflame first.***

Other series I enjoyed that are simliar in style to this one:
Mercy Thompson series and Alpha & Omega series by Patricia Briggs (Don't miss the anthology in On the Prowl, which is a prequel to Cry Wolf)
Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews
Guild Hunters series by Nalini Singh
Night Huntress series by Jeaniene Frost
World of Lupi series by Eileen Wilks
Chicagoland Vampires series by Chloe Neill
Jane True series by Nicole Peeler
Cassandra Palmer series and Dorina Basarab Dhampir series by Karen Chance (Don't miss the anthology in On the Prowl, which should be read between Midnight's Daughter and Death's Mistress)
Kara Gillian series by Diana Rowland
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