Review: Blood Shadows (Blackthorn #1) by Lindsay J. Pryor
*** This review is SPOILER-FREE! Read on with confidence! ***
Caitlin Parish is a shadow reader, someone that reads the shadows of the absent souls in third species such as vampires and lycans, and has fought tooth and nail to become a tracker in the Vampire Control Unit. After the death of her parents, Caitlin’s revenge has fueled her drive to be the best… and her search for Kane Malloy. There’s something coming for Caitlin. The same thing that killed both her parents and ripped their souls from their bodies. Kane is Caitlin’s last chance to figure out how to kill whatever it is coming after her before she shares the same fate.
Kane Malloy was a master vampire, a dual-feeder, a vampire from the original strain of vampirism that feeds both on human blood and the soul and thought to be long extinct. A true predator in every sense of the word, Kane is like an incubus – drawing in every female in his presence – with a body and face described as perfection and radiates a raw sexuality that no woman could turn down. Having watched the murder of his parents and living through the brutal murder of his sister and last living family member, Kane’s heart hardened and died. Fueled by vengeance, Kane has allowed Caitlin to track and finally catch him. Her soul is the final key to his plan for retribution, but in order to get it Caitlin has to let him into her heart.
When Kane imprisons Caitlin he never expects the feelings that she begins to invoke, feelings he hasn’t felt since his sister was alive. Kane battles with his human and vampire sides to keep his emotions in check while Caitlin battles her growing attraction to him. She’s always been drawn to Kane, but being with him brings forth a feeling of rightness she’s never felt. Finally escaping him, the true reason for Kane’s capture of Caitlin is revealed to her and Caitlin’s world literally crumbles around her. Everyone she’s ever trusted, loved, or looked up to is out to use her for their own agendas. Caitlin fights a fierce battle, her ultimate goal to avenge her parents’ death, while every decision and step in her quest for vengeance could ultimately alter life as everyone knows it.
Pryor has built a very complex world that’s rife with political intrigue and warring factions of vampires, demons, witches, lycans, humans and other paranormal creatures – all of them consumed with the struggle for power and domination over the other. Blood Shadows is intense and dark, unlike any other vampire novel I’ve ever read. The plot was constantly twisting and turning with new facets of the different races’ objectives being revealed… like an intense game of chess, the characters always striving to stay one step in front of the others. Switching between Caitlin and Kane’s POVs as well as other secondary characters, the reader is given an in-depth view of the characters’ inner thoughts, which made this book intensely dark and sinister especially when, reading Kane’s viewpoint. This is no ordinary Paranormal Romance with a bad-boy hero whose good side eventually conquers over the evil. Pryor keeps the reader on the edge of their seat til the very last few pages, wondering if love will conquer all or if evil and the animalistic nature of the vampire will prevail.
Playing with fire
‘You were waiting for me, weren’t you?’ she said, desperate to break the tension.
‘You’re not the only hunter around here, Caitlin.’
‘What do you want with me?’
‘If you hadn’t upped the ante, you would have known by now. But don’t worry, you will soon enough.’
Her stomach lurched at the candor in his tone, the darkness in those eyes. ‘Is that a threat?’
‘I prefer to call it foreplay. But whatever works for you.’ He leaned forward, rested his hands on the table – strong, masculine hands that had pinned her to the wall with such competent ease. ‘You upped the ante with the wrong vampire, Caitlin.’
Predator and prey
His eyes twinkled with mischief as he drew level, his proximity igniting a spark in her again. ‘Is that a challenge?’
Her nails scraped against the wall at the small of her back. ‘No.’
He placed one hand beside her head, his other loose and low on his hip. ‘You’re not used to being hit on, are you?’
‘Is that what it was?’
He smiled fleetingly, offering her a flash of incisors. He leaned closer. ‘You might be able to play these kinds of games with the wholesome, naïve boys you date in coffee shops, Caitlin, but I’m not like that. But then you wouldn’t be so turned on if I was, would you?’ His lips almost touched her ear. ‘I’m already inside your head. And your body’s most definitely next.’
The definition of tortured…
‘Do you really feel so little, Kane?’
He broke from the intensity of her probing gaze, from the need in her eyes. And he hated himself for bringing her to that. Out of all the questions she could have asked him, it was the one that pierced the deepest. And as he looked back into her heartbreaking eyes, honesty slipped from his lips before he could contain it. ‘Sometimes when I touch you it’s almost painful. Standing this close to you now just makes me want to consume you. It makes me want to forget my principles and intentions and just let myself go with you. And right now I’m feeling so close to the edge, it’s taking everything I have to stop myself throwing you down on the floor and forgetting every part of my plan just to have one moment as I really am with you. Only, sure enough, you’d hate me for it. You’d hate me for what I really am. So that’s why I can’t back down, Caitlin. For both our sakes.’
If you liked Blood Shadows…
If you enjoyed Blood Shadows and want to experience more of the intense world of Blackthorn, look for the second book in the series, Blood Rose, coming soon. Or, if you’re looking for other dark tales of paranormal romance, check out Alma Katsu’s The Taker Trilogy starting with The Taker.
Rating: Blood Shadows