Friday, May 30, 2014

Den of Shadows

I discovered this series a couple years after starting my bookstore job.  A friend recommended it to me, and I fell in love with this author.  The Den of Shadows quartet was the first vampire series I ever really liked.  The books are not very long.  Originally they were published individually and are still available as such, but you can also get them in one volume.  The author wrote (and published) these first four books in her teens, then went on to write another non-vampire series.  She came back to this series years later and added five more books.  In my opinion, the original four are better than the rest.  She creates this world with vampires and various bloodlines of witches.  Some of the witches are healers, others are vampire hunters.  This series doesn't really have to be read in order because each book is about different characters.  They are all set in the same world and have a little cross-over, but you wouldn't be all that lost if you read them out of order.

The first book, In the Forests of the Night, is the story of a vampire, Risika.  It is basically the author's way of setting up her vampire world.  We hear Risika's story, spanning 300 years, and learn all about the vampire world.  It is my least favorite of the four books.  I actually read it after reading the others.  I understood one of the characters from the second book a little better, but it is the only one of the four I have never reread.

The second book, Demon in My View, is the story of a high school girl, Jessica, who has anonymously published a vampire book.  When a guy shows up at school, heavily resembling her main character, Jessica starts to question what's real and what is fiction.  Her ideas and inspiration for her novel came from dreams, but perhaps her dreams were more than that.  She is living on the edge of a very dangerous world, and she has gained the attention of very dangerous creatures.

The third book, Shattered Mirror, is about Sarah Vida, a descendant of the most famous vampire hunter of all time.  Despite her best efforts, she seems to continuously be drawn to her classmate, Christopher.  The problem is, he is a vampire.  He has sworn off human blood and is determined to live a normal life, but as a trained vampire hunter she has trouble reconciling her changing views of vampires.  Perhaps they are not all bad.  Enter Nikolas, a vampire from Christopher's past that will change everything for both of them.

The fourth book, Midnight Predator, follows the story of Turquoise Draka, a member in a guild of vampire hunters.  She is a bounty hunter.  When an unknown client hires her to kill an ancient vampire in charge of a the infamous Midnight, a compound where vampires rule and the humans are slaves.  She must enter their world and pose as a servant in order to carry out her mission.  What she encounters on the inside is way more than she expected and perhaps more than she can handle.

I know that these books may not appeal to as wide an audience as some of the titles I suggest, but if you are at all interested in vampires, witches or shapeshifters, I recommend giving these books a chance.  The characters are very interesting.  The best ones are the evil, sadistic creatures.  Although I really like all her characters, she definitely is able to capture the whole dark prince aspect of the vampires.  The female protagonists are all strong and can pretty much take care of themselves.  They definitely are not easy prey.  Since these books are short, I have reread them a handful of times over the years.  I always find them an enjoyable way to spend an afternoon.  Happy reading!

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