“Dark Awakening” by Kendra Leigh Castle (Dark Dynasties #1) – Review

Paperback: 331 pages

Publisher: Forever

Release Date: June 28, 2011

Series: Dark Dynasties

“For centuries, shapeshifting vampire Tynan McGillivray has prowled the night as an outcast, valued only for his ferocious hunting skills. When a feud among the immortals escalates into all-out war, he is ordered by his ruthless queen to locate a Seer – a human woman with a special gift – who can secure victory for their clan. Ty’s search leads him to a quiet New England town, but once he has the Seer in his grasp, her touch awakens within him a hunger like he’s never known…

Lily Quinn has always been different. Since childhood, she’s had vivid nightmares and an eerie sixth sense. When a sexy, silver-eyed stranger demands her help, Lily plunges into a new world of danger and sensuality. With Ty, she discovers sizzling passions she cannot deny and powers she cannot control. Soon, it is clear that Lily is much more than a Seer – she holds the key to ancient secrets and unthinkable destruction. But will a vampire’s vow of eternal protection stop these evil forces…or unleash her dark destiny?”

My thoughts

Wow! I mean, wow! This novel had me hooked right from the start, making me want more of Tynan McGillivray. A shapeshifting vampire with a Scottish accent and silver eyes is bound to be irresistible. Well, at least for me he is.

Kendra Leigh Castle has created a world where history meets fantasy, a secret world of vampires living within the world of humans. This is an incredible debut novel. I first got to hear about this book when I requested an advanced reader’s copy for it. I didn’t manage to finish it within the time limit – I got it as an ebook for a month – but only because of personal commitments. I was so sad when I finally had time and the book wasn’t available anymore. I had only read the first chapter, but it stayed with me for so long, I just couldn’t let it go without reading the whole damn thing.

So I did what any normal person would do, and just ordered it. I’m really happy I did! Reading it was an outright pleasure and Kendra Leigh Castle doesn’t sound like a new writer at all! She’s in there with the best of them.

The story is utterly captivating, sexy, and, of course, dark since we’re in the world of vampires. What I find really cool is that there a many types of vampires in this series. They’re not only your normal kind of bloodsuckers, but each dynasty has its own special talents. There are those who can turn into bats, smoke, cats, can fly or  have lightening speed.

Reading this book felt like watching the aristocracy of the old days, and there’s history everywhere you turn. One of the vampires is also Cleopatra’s sister, imagine that! But if you don’t like history, then you don’t have to worry much. There are no long paragraphs explaining historical facts or other such things. This book is clearly an urban fantasy novel, but inspired by historical figures.

The novel also contains sex scenes, so if you’re looking to avoid such books, then this is not the book for you. But if you’re not bothered, then I really recommend you read this. I can’t wait to read the second novel in the series, “Midnight Reckoning”, which came out in January. A hint for all you werewolf lovers: there was a werewolf character in the first book which will be further explored in the second book! Just saying.

This is not another Twilight, and honestly, I’m fed up with the fact that as soon as a book has vampires and werewolves in them, it’s immediately compared to Twilight. This has absolutely nothing in common with the series and I’m glad it doesn’t. The Dark Dynasties is a series for adults, and I hope it turns into a really long series.

I wish Kendra Leigh Castle all the success in the world with her books and am very happy to consider myself among the readers of her story. Go out there and buy this book! You won’t regret it.

Rating: ✭✭✭✭✭ – 5 stars!

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