Midnight Reckoning (Dark Dynasties #2) by Kendra Leigh Castle
Publisher: Forever/Jan. 2012
Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy
Dark Dynasties Series
Kind thanks to Hachette/Forever for providing a review copy
Two separate worlds . . .
One passion that binds them
Wild and passionate by nature, Lyra Black is not just any werewolf. She’s the future leader of the powerful pack of the Thorn-if she can stay alive long enough to inherit the title.
One of the Cait Sith bloodline of vampire cat-shifters, Jaden Harrison has no interest in the wars plaguing the world of night. But when he rescues Lyra from a violent attack, they’re both captured by an insatiable desire that threatens to overwhelm them and bind them together for eternity . . . just as ancient enemies prepare to strike. And when they do, the Thorn and the Cait Sith-and Lyra and Jaden’s love-may never recover from the deadly blow . . .
I should totally be ashamed. I read Midnight Reckoning before reading Dark Awakening, the first book in the series, but it turns out that’s ok! There are characters in Midnight that are from Dark Awakening, but the book certainly stands on its own, so no worries. The stars of Midnight Reckoning are Jaden Harrison and Lyra Black. Jaden is a Cait Sidh and a vampire, so yes, that makes him a shape shifting vamp who spends a bit of time as a rather large cat. Purrrrr. Lyra, on the other hand, is a werewolf. So, both are shapeshifters, but that’s where the similarities end. When Lyra is attacked by an overly amorous were with a mean streak, Jaden happens to be on hand for a rescue, but Lyra is less than thrilled. See, it’s time for Lyra to be matched to her mate (weres bond for life), and her dad, the Thorn Pack’s Alpha, is determined to find her the perfect strong match, but Lyra has other ideas. Lyra is determined to compete in the Proving, which could give Lyra a chance at Alpha. However, were packs aren’t so forward conscious in their thinking where women are concerned, and the chances of this happening are slim to none. Lyra is stubborn though, so her father hires Jaden to teach her his fighting moves, in order to give her a better chance of survival. I think we both know where this is going, don’t we?
I loved this book. Flat out loved it. I couldn’t stop thinking “Romeo and Juliet” while reading it, and I fell in love with both Jaden and Lyra’s characters almost immediately. Jaden is a 200 year old vampire that cooks, and there’s a vulnerability about him that is just heartwrenching, especially since he’s spent quite a bit of time as a slave in the hands of the Ptolemy. Speaking of which… There are hierarchies of vamps, with each being able to change into different animals (cat, bat, etc), and the leader of the Ptolemy, Arsinoe, is one mean mamma, and she’s a little ticked that a bunch of her cats have run off with a new leader (Book 1 covers this, I promise). She’s not above sending assassins out for any wayward kitties that she may want back, and this provides a nice subplot (not to mention some pretty nifty fighting scenes.) Lyra is stubborn, smart-mouthed, and strong of will, but there’s something about Jaden that she just can’t resist (this won’t be hard for you to believe, trust me), but it’s kind of like that line in Ghostbusters, remember? Something about dogs and cats living together? In the world of the weres, it’s Just. Not. Done. Vampires aren’t so picky about it, but if Jaden and Lyra’s relationship is revealed, she pretty much might as well sign her own banishment papers. Kendra Leigh Castle creates a fascinating world populated by some of the coolest cats (literally), the toughest weres, and the wiliest vamps that I’ve read about in a long time. She keeps the pace up, and you’ll keep wanting to read “one more chapter.” I mean, come on…shape shifting vamps? Yes, please!! Like I said, I started with this one first, and the author does a great job of bringing you up to speed on the events so far, but it never hurts to start with Dark Awakening. I finished this one, and immediately reached for it-that’s how much I wanted to dive back into Kendra Leigh Castle’s awesome world. Paranormal romance fans will love this, but urban fantasy fans will like it too, I think, since it has enormous crossover appeal (in my opinion). Snag a copy as soon as you can, seriously, and grab Dark Awakening while you’re at it!