ARC was given by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Content/Trigger Warnings: Death, loss of loved ones, grief, violence, sexual content, mentions of suicide, depictions of blood, scene of complicated child birth, brief mentions of witch trials
“I am lost and locked out of the world. But my love will remain eternally hers.”
Look, if you told me I would be picking up a vampire romance book in 2022… I probably would have cackled and went off to buy a coffee because surely I was lacking caffeine in my system, and needed a wake me up. Yet here we are, in 2022 and I probably just read the the best vampire prequel thus far in my time of reading. And no, I’m no exaggerating. I’ve read a lot of vampire books over my years of reading and honestly, I’m really glad the author reached out to have me read this because I had just about given up on vampires, and vampire books.
Our story follows Severide Monreaux, who’s just been thrust in to a world of sadness and grief. With the death of his mother, his father thrusts the position of clan leader upon, the very position that he never wanted to earn in at the expense of his father. Severide must find a mate to make his clan strong again and with his mother and father’s dying wish hang over his head, he finds himself attending a party that makes him wish he was anywhere, but there. Will Severide find a mate? Who’s to say. With no witch to the clan, the werewolves threaten too tear the his clan apart, and now a warlock from the past has returning to claim a debt that’s owed… What else can a new clan leader do?
“Once our hands lock, my breath is taken from me as warmth now replaces the frozen tundra that has recently blocked my heart off from the world around me.”
Let me start by saying this is a prequel novella to the Shadow Cove Dimensions ™ where we follow the trials of love, loss, and hardships surrounding the Monreaux family, a vampire clan of Salem. This isn’t a full novel, so don’t expect this to be a very long read. This novella is very fast paced and even has time skips to show the change of time moving or passing. Personally, I’m usually not a fan of any kind of book that has time skips, but I found that it worked quite well for this novella. And the way this novella sets things up for the books to come, the plots to come, the possible potential feels endless. I haven’t been this excited about a series and the future books in a hot minute. I feel like a child let loose in a candy store. And the conclusion to this novella ends on a cliffhanger that leaves you craving more.
Speaking of the Monreaux family, this character cast was fantastic. Though we have quite a few faces to keep track of and keep our eyes on, each one has their own personality including the antagonists of the story. They all stand out in their own unique. With the mention of following a vampire clan, in this world we also have witches, warlocks, and werewolves. How all these paranormal beings interact with one another is truly intriguing. Vampire clans have a duel reliance with witches to incorporate their magic together to make a vampire clan strong, and protected. There also seems to be a mirrored relationship between warlocks and werewolves, as well. But don’t quote me on that. There might be more to this that meets the eye. As I said, it’s very intriguing. And Severide as our main character was perfection. Devoted, protective, but also flawed. Chef’s kiss, all the chef kisses!
“Happiness and lust are born from this woman.”
I love a little bit of spice with my paranormal and this book delivers so deliciously. I absolutely adored the spicey scenes within this novella. It was such a treat to see Severide and his mate not only equals in their positions, but also in their private moments, was such a refresher. The balance between them was probably one of my favorite things about this novella especially with how often in adult romances there’s usually a more dominant character while the other is more passive/subtle. And we don’t get that here. They both give and take, constantly changing between them and it was very attractive to say the least.
My only real complaint about this novella would be how short it is and it’s not so much the case of not getting enough of these characters, but more so having a lot of questions and not enough answers. There were a few things I wished were flushed out more such as more details on the feud between vampires and werewolves or even Brenden Hall, a warlock Severide knows from his past. I would have liked more details in this area and even more details about Sarah Wildes would have provided better understanding of her importance. There’s characters I wish we would have seen more of and had more details of, Luca and Greyson, who play major roles in the story yet it felt like we hardly see them or know them. I’m holding out hope they’ll have their own books in this series especially with some of the moments we see with Greyson that were a bit mysterious. Truly, this novella probably could have benefitted even more with more pages or chapters added to it. And I think that due to how fast paced and short this is, I think many readers will see these same issues and hoping for more details on characters and events in the future.
Overall, I had a fantastic time reading this novella. I went in with low expectations because most vampire books haven’t really been tickling my fancy including the steamy adult romance ones, but this was a pleasant surprise. The world was fascinating, the characters were captivating, and I’m eager to see what the first book in this series has in store for us. As I mentioned, I think there will be readers who will have issues with this novella because it’s short, fast paced, and it feels like certain characters or events aren’t given enough details. Again, more questions than answers, but it was still an overall fun time reading. If you’re like me, struggling to get back into reading books with vampires, I definitely recommend giving this novella a chance. Truly, a captivating time!
The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.