Paperback: 147 pages
Source: Review copy
Genre: Young adult, paranormal romance
Series: No series title
1. A Shade of Vampire
On the evening of Sofia Claremont's seventeenth birthday, she is sucked into a nightmare from which she cannot wake.
A quiet evening walk along a beach brings her face to face with a dangerous pale creature that craves much more than her blood.
She is kidnapped to an island where the sun is eternally forbidden to shine.
An island uncharted by any map and ruled by the most powerful vampire coven on the planet. She wakes here as a slave, a captive in chains.
Sofia's life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn when she is the one selected out of hundreds of girls to join the harem of Derek Novak, the dark royal Prince.
Despite his addiction to power and obsessive thirst for her blood, Sofia soon realizes that the safest place on the island is within his quarters, and she must do all within her power to win him over if she is to survive even one more night.
Will she succeed? ...or is she destined to the same fate that all other girls have met at the hands of the Novaks?
Sofia is 17 years old, has been abandoned by both her parents and has been diagnosed with a whole host of mental disorders. She's basically super-aware of her surroundings and this is later explained as something called latent inhibition (LI) and that Sofia is special because to handle being so aware of the world all the time, a person needs to have a high IQ and is usually a creative genius. I'm at war about my feelings on this: obviously the heroine needs to be someone who stands out and Sofia's LI is a creative way to establish that, but I don't like how Sofia's LI has been given so much attention, as this screams 'special snowflake' to me. I do commend Bella Forrest for writing about LI though, I've never heard of it before.
Because the book (novella?) is so short, there isn't much time for romance, character or plot development. Basically, what's established is that Sofia is given to Derek and they fall for each other; Derek has some sort of big prophecy to fulfil; Derek's brother Lucas is evil.
The one thing that I felt had been given enough time to develop is the mystery of Derek's prophecy. Lucas was the textbook evil brother/villain: jealousy-fuelled and wanting Sofia for himself. The love between Derek and Sofia seemed to spring up out of nowhere. I did like how it's described that around Derek, Sofia feels most at home. I personally think that Sofia and Derek don't have much more than friendship going on between them. Sofia herself was nothing special either and I felt very 'meh' about her.
I did like the plot (I am a sucker for DIDs) but I do feel that it needs more fleshing out and more words. Everything happens too quickly and because of this, I felt no real connection to the story or characters, the latter of which I wasn't given enough time to get to know. The ending included making Sofia and Derek's relationship official and Derek's sister Vivienne talking more about the mysterious events ahead. After reading this book and giving it some thought, I was under-whelmed by it. I didn't think there was anything that made this book stand out from the hundreds of other vampire books on the shelf.
My verdict: The blurb promised a good plot and a strong heroine but it fell flat for me as the book was greatly disadvantaged by its short length and lack of any sort of real development of characters and plot.