NOTE: This review is for a book with mature content and sexy times!
Dark Awakening by Kendra Leigh Castle is the first book in the Dark Dynasties series. It tells the story of Lily Quinn, a human with seemingly irrepressible psychic abilities, and Tynan MacGillivray, a shapeshifting vampire who is among the lowest in this world’s vampiric caste system. Ok, I know that sounds pretty out there but it comes together really well in the book (and it is a PNR, after all).
I hadn’t heard anything about this series one way or the other before diving into Dark Awakening, so I didn’t know what to expect. Thankfully, I was pleasantly surprised! As you might guess, there’s a significant amount of world-building that needs to go into a plot like this. Castle did a great job of building up the requisite background while weaving it into the story so that it didn’t feel overwhelming or dry.
I don’t have all that much to say about our heroine, Lily, besides the fact that her lineage and abilities are badass. I’m a sucker for strong heroines who aren’t afraid to hold their own. Ty also drew me into the story and I enjoyed seeing the different facets of his personality, both from his perspective and Lily’s. The fact that he is a cat shapeshifter was a lovely bonus – his feline nature is a big part of his character and it manifested itself in a lot of intriguing ways. I have to go with some of the other reviewers of this series and point out the fact that he purrs…
The only place the characters started to fall flat for me was at the end. I would have gladly seen another 50 pages added to the book to allow for a smoother progression of character growth.
Social Commentary Side Note: There is a significant amount of social commentary in this book, specifically regarding the acceptance or non-acceptance of others based on something they cannot control. I really liked how this was depicted and thought that the intricate caste system added a fundamental layer of complexity to the world.
One had judged him worthy despite his mark. The other had found him worthy without ever considering his mark at all.
All in all, this was a fun read and I enjoyed the world Kendra Leigh Castle created. It also kicks off some pretty hefty overarching series plot (without it feeling like a cliffhanger), which makes me want to dive into the next one, Midnight Reckoning!