Queen of Shadows

Queen of Shadows - Dianne Sylvan Originally posted at WickedLilPixie Reviews

I picked this book up on a whim at the recommendation of a fellow Urban Fantasy fan and reviewer, and I am so happy I did. I was immediately enthralled and could not put this book down.

Queen of Shadows is the first book in the Shadow World series. The story begins with the introduction of our heroine, Miranda Grey, a very tortured musician on the brink of what she perceives as madness. She is drowning in the effects of her abilities as an empath, with nobody to understand or explain to her what she is experiencing and why. Isolated and in despair, her empath ability feels like a curse and prevents her from forming relationships and even being able to look someone in the eyes. Enter David Solomon, vampire Prime of the South, and a computer geek-slash-ninja to boot… be still my heart! After a chance meeting in a grocery store, he finds her after an unimiginable act of violence she is victim of, and helps her heal emotionally and physically with the aftermath. Through his help and the help of his second in command, Faith, Miranda is able to learn to manage her gift and gain back control over her life. After her initial recovery, Miranda returns back to her former life as an up-and-coming Austin musician. She learns how to function with her new coping and survival skills to make a new life for herself on her own with her empath abilities in check. But that’s not the end of her journey by any means, only the beginning…

On a personal note, Queen of Shadows takes place in Austin, TX where I have called home for over ten years. On the one hand I was excited to read a book that takes place in my town, especially an Urban Fantasy book. Then, I was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to separate from *my* Austin versus the world building in the book. I am happy to say that it completely worked for me. Ms. Sylvan references several local hot spots, such as BookPeople and Kerbey Lane, which was so fun! Overall, the fantasy Shadow World she created was grounded in reality, and she blended the fantasy and real uniquely and very well.

The characters all have real human components to them, and the landscapes are dark and gritty. There are some jarring and disturbing elements to the story that make it spellbinding. I really connected with both Miranda and David from the get-go, and the secondary characters as well. Miranda is the proverbial phoenix that rises from the ashes. David is the modest leader who wants to advance his vampire population technologically {again, I say “swoon”}, and use his knack for technology to keep the humans safe from rogue vampires. Miranda and David together are a force to be reckoned with and you want them to succeed. If you are a fan of Urban Fantasy with Romance, you will definitely want to read this book.

Dianne Sylvan has announced there is a second Shadow World book, ShadowFlame, to be released on July 26, 2011. I cannot wait to read it, just bummed we have to wait so long for it!