Dark Awakening (Dark Dynasties #1)

Dark AwakeningBy Kendra Leigh Castle

Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: July 1, 2011
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Source: Netgalley

For centuries, shapeshifting vampire Tynan MacGillivray has prowled the night as an outcast, valued only for his ferocious hunting skills. When a feud among the immortals escalates into all-out war, he is ordered by his ruthless queen to locate a Seer-a human woman with a special gift-who can secure victory for their clan. Ty’s search leads him to a quiet New England town, but once he has the Seer in his grasp, her touch awakens within him a hunger like he’s never known . . .

Lily Quinn has always been different. Since childhood, she’s had vivid nightmares and an eerie sixth sense. When a sexy, silver-eyed stranger demands her help, Lily plunges into a new world of danger and sensuality. With Ty, she discovers sizzling passions she cannot deny and powers she cannot control. Soon, it is clear that Lily is much more than a Seer-she holds the key to ancient secrets and unthinkable destruction. But will a vampire’s vow of eternal protection stop these evil forces . . . or unleash her dark destiny?

Goodreads Summary

Someone’s placed a curse on the highblood Ptolemy vampire clan that’s killing them off bit by bit and their queen has a good idea who it is.  Arsinoe wants proof and for that she needs a Seer to confirm exactly who’s doing it and where.  She’s sent her best hunter out to find one -Ty MacGillivray, a lowblood Cait Sith – but he’s not the only one looking.  Rival highblood clan Dracul is also trying to find the Seer, but their motives are a little more sinister.

Lily Quinn is living a relatively normal life as a professor when she catches the handsome Ty following her after her latest ghost hunting excursion.  She’s attracted until he starts in on the whole nutty Seer-vampire business, but right around the time some of the bad guys come to grab her, she decides Ty might be telling the truth and at least be able to protect her.  As they drive west, Lily wrestles some of his story from him and learns about the vicious caste system among the vampires.  Already seriously in lust with him, she loses her heart somewhere along the way too.  The only problem is Ty – he’s declared her untouchable no matter what his feelings are.

Ty is loyal to one person: the queen of the Ptolemy, whether he likes it or not.  She saved his life and he’ll spend his in servitude to her now.  He has strong feelings for Lily – feelings that deepen the closer they get to Chicago and the queen – but he knows what his duty is just as clearly as he knows what Lily’s fate is as soon as she’s done with the job she’s destined to do.  There’s just one thing holding him back from handing her over right away though.  Each vampire house has its own mark and its members wear it.  Ty wears the Cait Sith symbol and when he agreed to serve the House of Ptolemy, their mark was placed within it.  Lily bears a mark no one has ever seen before, something no Seer should have.

This was a book that I had to really make myself stick with for the first quarter before I began to enjoy it.  I didn’t have any problem following the storyline, but Ty was just such a stone that he made it difficult to even imagine any romance with Lily.

The world building was the best part of the book.  I loved the set-up of the houses and even the caste system – the author included a nice glossary of each house, their leader, origins, strongholds and type of power at the beginning of the book which I thought was a really handy place for it.  The members of each house are all easily physically identifiable as well, from the snobby Ptolemy to the eerie, creepy Grigori and the dangerous, simple Cait Sith.  Without an excess of infodumping, the awful effects of the caste system are shown as well as the origins and evils of the houses.  It would be an understatement to say the story is full of interesting sequel bait.

The one place I really didn’t connect with though was the romance between Lily and Ty.  I understood why she was off-limits for him while he was taking her to the Ptolemy queen and when they were free to be with each other, they had some well-written steamy scenes.  I liked Lily a lot – she was warm and compassionate and desperately wanted to help free the Cait Sith.  She had a great wry sense of humor and despite being tossed into a really rotten and weird situation, kept looking for ways to help everyone else.

I never really got much of any emotional reaction to Ty though.  Even though I could sympathize with the reasons for his initial sense of loyalty to the Ptolemy queen, he continued to turn his back on his Cait Sith brethren and even Lily for so much longer than he should have that it left a bad taste in my mouth.  He felt cold to me rather than just solitary or the strong silent type.  By the end of the story I did feel some emotion from him but it seemed motivated by shame and the desire to do the right thing more than any great passion.  He wasn’t a horrible character – he fought hard to protect Lily whenever she was in danger and there were glimpses that he wasn’t always so closed off – but he had some major self-esteem issues that contributed to his disconnect that made it hard for me to like him as much as I wanted.

My Summary: Like any first book in a series, this seemed to be mostly about the world building and less about the romance.  I liked the way the story ended with the arrangement of the houses and the relationship between Ty and Lily.  I wouldn’t necessarily pick this up for the romance.  The hero is more flawed than I liked for longer than I wanted but the action is very good and the writing is excellent.  One of the characters introduced is the lead in the next book, Midnight Reckoning which has an anticipated release in January of 2012.  Given the way this book ended and the character, I’d expect that book to read a bit more like a paranormal romance.

My Rating: B-



  1. I was thinking the other day how often I have issues with the heroine in a novel, but tend to love the hero. Interesting that it might be the opposite in this case! I'm one of those readers that is more interested in the romance than the world building. So I'm not sure what to do about this book now!

  2. I didn't know either! A wishy washy review, eh? The hero of the next book is sort of the dark, tortured kind (he's a Cait Sith too, was badly mistreated but escaped the Ptolemy).I don't want to give too much away, but the Cait Sith are in a much different position at the end of the book because of Lily so he isn't hunted like he was before. The heroine isn't a vampire or human either and she appeared in this book as someone who pissed him off, so there's a little history.If there can be a little primer in the beginning of the next book describing what happened in the first book, then really..even though I gave this a B- because of the writing, I would feel safe saying it's not a must read.The hero was just such a downer for me and the romance just didn't do it. It ought to have been a lower grade, but I liked the action and the way things went with Lily.

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