As one of the Grigori, a noble vampire dynasty shrouded in mystery, Ariane has spent her life hidden away in the desert. Like all of her kind, she is a watcher, fated to observe, forbidden to act. Yet when her best friend Sammael vanishes, she defies all rules and flees her safe haven to bring him home.
A shape-shifting assassin for the House of Shadows, Damien Tremaine is hired to locate Sammael. His hunt for the wayward Grigori leads him to Ariane, the rogue vamp who stands between him and his bounty. Damien never lets emotion interfere with his work, but a single touch from the sexy, beguiling vampire shatters his self-control. Drawn together by their common goal, what begins as an alliance of necessity soon becomes one of desire. But when the secret at the dark heart of the Grigori comes to light, Damien and Ariane must make a choice that could bind them eternally...or tear them—and everything they care about—apart.
My Review: 4/5*
This book is one of the gems which I requested and received to review from the wonderful site of NetGalley. Once I’d read the synopsis, I knew it was a book that I would be unable to resist and was ecstatic that I was accepted to review it. I realised once it had been accepted that it was the third book within the Dark Dynasties series and was a bit apprehensive about reading it without having read the others – needless to say, this was totally unnecessary and I cannot wait to get my hands on the first two!
Once I began the book, I was worried and intimidated by the breakdowns of the bloodlines and worried if I should stop, order myself the first two and then start the third! Thankfully, Castle successfully draws us into her world and her smooth writing style allows an effortless introduction into the different species of supernatural figures. I found myself lost within the conflict Ariane and Damien confronted, wrapped up within their developing turbulent relationship and eager to find out more. Ariane is a Grigori – a species of vampire of which the other supernaturals know scarcely anything about. This factor, alongside her feminine kick-ass, no-messing-around personality drew me to her as the protagonist of the novel. Her strong personality is made the more vivid as we learn of her troubled past – her seclusion within the Grigori, the emotional abuse suffered and her lack of friendships. These factors are what make Ariane’s transition to the world outside of the Grigori deserts that much more shocking as we see her adjust to the new friendships developed and the new surroundings.
Damien’s introduction into the novel intensifies all that is new to Ariane. He is also on the same quest – to find Sammael – and the two key figures clash as they discover they are looking for the same person and had the same lead to take them that one step closer to Sam. Their introduction to each other immediately reveals Castle’s intentions for the pair as, during the threatening of Damien by Ariane, you can already feel the tension surrounding the characters. It seems inevitable that they eventually pair up in their quest to find Sammael. Damien was my first introduction to werecats within fiction and I was not disappointed. He was definitely the cunning, devious and incredibly clever sidekick needed by Ariane in order to assist her within her quest. Castle successfully drew out their developing relationship and I found myself frustrated with Damien’s reluctance to admit his feelings for her until the very end – although his actions said differently!
Overall, Castle did an amazing job in depicting the beginning of what seems likely to be a bloody war between the vampires and the secret that has been kept hidden by the Grigori for so long.