Review: Dark Awakening by Kendra Leigh Castle

I was hesitant to start this book because I was nervous the vampire/shifter hero would end up being a caricature. Too powerful, too unique, too everything. What I didn’t realize from reading the back cover was that Tynan’s shapeshifting abilities were not unique and that it actually made him looked down upon in the vampire world. He was of the Cait Sith bloodline and they were little better than outcasts and slaves. Talk about a wrong first impression, eh?

The world that Castle created was one of my favorite parts of the book. I am fascinated by political intrigues, where characters plot and maneuver constantly, and the vampire society shown here strongly reminded me of that. The human world had progressed, but the vampiric society was stuck in the past, still separated by classes. The highbloods were like bored aristocrats, expecting to be catered to, while they all looked down on the lowbloods—AKA the Cait Sith. I found the world very, very interesting, but I was disappointed we didn’t get more focus on it. I understand (and agree) that the romance had to take center stage, but I was still a little bummed that it wasn’t fleshed out more. Hopefully in the next book we’ll get a closer look at some of the other bloodlines.

Ty was a frustrating, yet sympathetic character. He had been looked down on for so long that he actually started to believe what they said. He may have cursed the highbloods for being such temperamental jerks, but he didn’t argue with his lot in life. He’d rather be a pet—no matter how much he loathed being called that—than be an outcast, struggling to survive. He didn’t even become angry at being called trash anymore. He just kept his head down and followed orders.

That’s where the frustration comes into play. He was like an abuse victim—although not quite as tentative and broken as that. He wanted Lily, but his place in life had been ground in too hard to ignore. He was willing to steal moments with her, but he couldn’t look beyond obeying his master, the Ptolemy queen. It was hard watching him continue to work toward following his orders, even after learning some less than endearing things about the Ptolemy house. His loyalty was admirable but very, very frustrating.

I liked Lily and felt bad for her childhood. She was adopted to serve as a trophy child and was quickly kicked to the curb when her parents conceived a child of their own. It didn’t help that she also had an uncontrollable magic outburst that scared the crap out of them. Her childhood made it hard for her to get close to people and taught her to hide any magical urges deep. She was a breath of fresh air for Ty and just what he needed to show him that he was more than what the other vampires told him he was.

I thought the book had a lot of great points, but at times they didn’t seem to mesh that well together. The hero and heroine were great on their own, and I did feel the tension between them, but I also thought their romance could have been a lot more engrossing than it actually was. I found myself more interested in side characters like Vlad and Jaden (and the tension surrounding him and Lyra) than in the main characters. Also, I felt that the climax and resolution of the book left a lot to be desired. This isn’t unique to this book, though. Sometimes I just get tired of how easily everything seems to be solved in a lot of PNR and UF books out there. I can’t seem to find the words to describe exactly what I mean, but it always leaves me wanting.

Despite a few complaints, I’m really looking forward to reading the next book. The author hooked me with the tension between Lyra and Jaden in this book. I’m eager to see a romance between a werewolf and a Cait Sith play out.

Favorite Quote:

“But though she would never admit it, a night spent fawning over Ty wouldn’t be much of a chore to manage. At all. She might even get to paw at him a little.

Oh, she was a sick, sick girl. Lily hunched her shoulders a little and sighed, which Ty seemed to take for resignation. That was fine with her.”

Rating: B-
Dark Awakening by Kendra Leigh Castle
June 28th 2011 by Forever
Paranormal Romance
Series list
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  1. says

    I didn’t quite like this one as much as you. I think I used the word cookie-cutter in my review. Just a little too predictable.

    I liked it enough to want to finish it though – and I agree the supporting characters stood out more. Not sure if I will read bk 2 though.

    • says

      I was impressed with how different the setup was. The hero wasn’t the biggest badass in the world, he just followed orders and tried not to rock the boat. I’m going to go track down your review so I can see what you thought in detail. :)

      I’m hoping the second book is even better than this one. The antagonism between the h/h and the prejudice toward the heroine makes me think it’ll be interesting.

    • says

      I was really pleased with the setup, especially because it was the hero. It was a nice change from the usual confident, all-powerful men running around PNR.

  2. says

    It’s so weird how two people can interpret a book so differently. Mandi thought it was the same old thing yet you thought is was a nice change. lol. I’ll have to look around for a few more reviews and see what others are saying.


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