I’ve got to say, there’s nothing I appreciate more in a Paranormal Romance than a sense of darkness and grittiness. Other than awesome character development and a great romance, of course. I was so pleased to discover that here! I’m a fan of multiple lighter PNRs but I always crave higher stakes. In a world full of supernatural creatures with unimaginable powers, I have little doubt that there would be power plays, jostling for position, and constant tension. Add in humans, who have a history of fearing and villainizing anything different than themselves, even within their own species, and I have no doubt that the world would not be the easy, happy place it’s often portrayed as in the PNR genre. So to discover that grittiness here? Ahhh, so lovely.
Caitlin, a shadow reader for the Vampire Control Unit, is on the hunt for master vampire Kane. Her agency has been trying to bust him for years, but no one has been successful. No one has much faith in Caitlin, given that shadow readers usually stay in interrogation, but she’s given the chance anyway. Things are not quite what they seem, though. Despite what her boss thinks, Caitlin has another reason for wanting to get her hands on Kane. Something has been whittling down her family every few years and now she’s the last one left. She knows she’s next and she’s desperate to find a way to kill the monster. She figures that Kane is just the vampire to help her. Unfortunately for her, she’s not the only one with hidden motives. It’s her bad luck that Kane has a reason for letting her get that close.
Kane was a fabulous character. The reader remained uncertain of his loyalties right alongside Caitlin and we didn’t get to see his true plan until Caitlin saw it too. I loved that so much of his true motivation was a mystery. The tension between Caitlin and Kane was thick and leaving the reader in the dark helped carry that tension and kept us from getting too comfortable in the darkness of their world.
The attraction between Caitlin and Kane was strong and I was confident that things would eventually work out, but the author didn’t make things easy. There were so many twists and turns in the plot that the main characters were constantly at cross purposes. The fell in love despite themselves and it was all the more satisfying for it. Caitlin knew exactly why Kane was holding her and exactly how he planned to manipulate her emotionally into getting what he wanted. She stood firm against him and Kane was left to struggle with his ultimate goal versus her wellbeing. Their realistic struggle with their goals and the worry about outside opinion made the last scene (where they embrace their HEA) perfect for them. There were no hearts and flowers to fix the darkness. It was just them, their emotions, and having the balls to be together no matter what. I am very curious to see if we’ll hear any more about them in future books.
I loved that the author didn’t feel the need to toe the line and soft pedal bad behavior. Bad guys, good guys, it didn’t matter. Anyone was fair game for a reveal that could completely change your opinion of them. I thought for sure the author would somehow ease back into a softer reasoning about why Caitlin’s family was being killed, but she didn’t. The author wasn’t afraid to villainize people and she gets major props from me for that. I enjoyed Caitlin’s character a lot and understood her conflicted emotions when she learns a grim truth about some of the people she knows, but I was not happy with her when she was so friendly and willing to work with a particular someone from her past. You’ll know who I’m talking about when you see them. *cough*douchebag*cough* I wanted Caitlin to take more of a stand and be stronger about her feelings. It all felt too accepting and nice for me.
Despite how much I loved this story, I felt that things got a bit confusing toward the end. There was so much going on, and things kept twisting to reveal a new side to a plot, that I felt things got a bit away from the author. Occasionally I had to stop and say, “huh?” and reread a section to really understand what had led them to that point. This wasn’t an issue through most of the story, it just got a little hard to track when all the pieces started to come together. It’s my one major complaint of the story. The rest of the book was strong enough that it didn’t impact my overall rating much.
If you’re looking for a new PNR series that has a dark world and complicated characters, then you’ll want to grab a copy of this. I can’t wait to read the next book.
”I’m already inside your head. And your body’s most definitely next.”