- Title: Shadow Rising (Dark Dynasties)
- Classification: Adult Fiction
- Genre: Paranormal Romance
- Format: Paperback, 368 pages
- Publisher: Forever (July 31, 2012)
- ISBN-10: 1455511641
- ISBN-13: 978-1455511648
- Author's Website: http://www.kendraleighcastle.com/
Ariane has lived nine hundred years in seclusion in the Grigori palace. Never being allowed to venture off the palace grounds. Sam, her dearest friend, had disappeared without a trace somewhere in the world outside the palace gates and Ariane isn't allowed to look for him. Without him around to keep her sane she's decided to leave the palace. She's determined to find Sam and venture out into the great unknown. Doing so will seal her fate. If she is ever found or attempts to return to the palace she will probably never live to tell her tale. "The Grigori did not take kindly to deserters."
Damien Tremaine was a master thief and assassin and a member of the House of Shadows. He was hired to find Sammael (Sam) for the Grigori. It was the first request the Grigori had ever made to the House of Shadows for help. Damien was warned he might "run across one of their women who who has taken it upon herself to look for this Sammael personally." He was told not to help her and let them know where she could be found. He figured that would be a piece of cake, but he'd never met the likes of her--Ariane.
What Ariane and Damien could never have imagined was that events had been set in motion that could unleash something that, if not stopped, could rise bringing with it a shadow of darkness.
"So many secrets you don't know. Secrets in the sand...in your blood."...
"Why are you hunting me?" she asked. Just because I have the...the blood of one of the ancients? It shouldn't matter. None of them will ever claim me. I'm nothing, no one. I don't know any secrets like you said."
"Because," Oren said, black blood leaking from one corner of his mouth, "every one of us is a living secret, Ariane. And you are a Pathetic Grigori, but the ancient blood brightens your soul. You...you are perfect to stop the Rising...for another hundred..."...
"He stirs and hungers beneath the sand."
I loved how Ariane finally decided to take charge of her life and leave the safe haven she'd lived in for over 900 years. I also loved seeing the tightly wound secrets about how she became a vampire, and who sired her slowly unravel as the story progressed. For most of her life she was treated as if she was imperfect because unlike the other Grigori, she was in touch with her feelings. They saw that as a weakness, but Sam had felt it was an asset.
On the surface, Damien seems like he is the wrong person for Ariane, but somehow she sees past the man he portrays himself as and sees him for the man he truly is. Damien is an intriguing character who has issues from when he was turned. As a human he'd been an aristocrat and was happy with his life. Not so with his new life as a vampire. Over the years he'd gotten himself to a point where he didn't care about anything. Slowly, he's been starting to reconnect with others and is coming back to life, so to speak.
I loved watching the interaction between Damien and Ariane. They come from dynasties that are on the opposite ends of the vampire hierarchy. Damien is a Cait Sith, a dynasty thought to be one of the lowliest among vampires. Ariane, on the other hand, is a Grigori and is thought to have one of the purest bloodline among vampires. He felt he needed to protect her but she'd been trained to fight. It was fun to see Damien attempt to control Ariane and how she refused to be. She'd been controlled all her life and she was done with that.
My favorite secondary character is Sammael. I would love to learn more about him because while he's one of the ancient Grigori, he seems different from the rest of his brethren. He's encouraged Ariane over the years to hold on to her humanity which the others see as a imperfection. I have a feeling there's a really good story behind him that Ms. Castle has yet to reveal.
Overall, I loved the book and gave it 5 out of 5 roses. It had a lot of action, secrets and twists and turns. I enjoyed finding out more about the Dark Dynasty world Ms. Castle created. While we learn a lot about the Grigori in this book, I think there is still a lot we don't yet know. Not all my questions were answered, but I'm hoping more will be revealed in the next book. Additionally, I loved how in the midst of chaos Damien and Ariane fell in love. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one got a STEAM rating--too hot for a fan, but you still have a handle on things. You should use extreme caution when reading a book with this rating in public. People may inquire as to why you looked flustered and flushed.