Wow. Just...wow. This was some kind of amalgamation of all my favorite Urban Fantasy books (Chloe Neill and Jeaniene Frost's books come to mind) and then heaps more of awesome on top of it. Halfway through this book I wanted to write my review already because I knew how much I -loved- the book.
Basic Plot: Miranda Grey is a musician in Austin that is empathic to the point that any contact with people overwhelms her with the debilitating influx of emotions, to the point where she doesn't know where everyone else ends and she begins. By chance she bumps into David Soloman at the grocery store (Big, Hunky Vampire King has a sweet tooth, it seems). He recognizes what she is and helps her pick up the pieces when she's attacked.
David is the Prime of the South. (El Jeffe, King of the vampire-designated region) He's also an adorable sexy computer geek, that helps Miranda hone her gift so she's able to return to the mortal world with her sanity intact. All the while his politics when it comes to humans, that is he's against just slaughtering them just because they can, are causing a group of radicals to try and take him out.
My thoughts: I love Miranda. She's broken but not weak. The whole cliche about diamonds being forged under great pressure? It applies to her. At every turn she's met with difficulty and heart-ache and she forges on. And David? A vampire that's handsome and a shameless computer nerd that can also kick-ass and take names? Where do I sign up? He's a bit gruff, but as a leader it's kind of in the job description. I am very, very, very psyched for the next book.
(Disclaimer: This book sat on my shelf for awhile, untouched because the cover art and title were a bit...typical. Do NOT let that deter you. Dianne's Shadow world is truly awesome!)
Great start to a great series!
To be totally honest, Im getting a little tired of the urban fantasy genre. It just feels so overdone these days. Thankfully, there are books like Sylvans Shadow World series that keep things interesting!
Miranda Grey is a musician in Austin, Texas who is literally being driven mad by her uncontrolled empathy and telepathy gifts. One night after a brutal attack (which is appropriately horrifying, and not at all sexy or with dubious consent, like so often happens in this genre), she ends up crossing paths with David Solomon, the leader of the vampires of the southern part of the US. He takes her in and helps train her so she can control her gifts, but hes got his own problems, what with a rival gang of vampires killing people left and right. I really like the Signet system that organizes the vampires shadow government. Its a really original piece of world building.
But most of all, I love the characters. David, aside from being a badass vampire, is a massive computer geek! Miranda is strong and capable, but in a way that real people are strong and capable, not the stereotypical genre hard-as-steel island-unto-herself urban fantasy heroine kind of way. Davids second in command, Faith, is awesome as well. Even the more minor characters, like Sophie and Deven and Jonathan, are interesting and show a lot of personality in their limited page time.