EMBRACED BY THE SHADOWS
Mayra Calvani

 


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Twilight Times Books
Electronically Published in the United States of America, April 2006
Reviewed by Sally Roddom

Paranormal Romance

Alana has been plagued for years by bizarre dreams involving flying and a panther. When she was ten, Alana fancied she saw a man watching her in a bazaar in Istanbul. When the man smiled at her, she thought she saw fangs. Ever since then she has been obsessed with the paranormal. It seems only right, then, that she lands a job in Puerto Rico as the manager of a new nightclub called La Cueva del Vampiro. She dismisses the fact that it seems a trifle odd that she gains the position with no prior experience in the hospitality trade. As opening night approaches Alana can't relax. She feels that something is about to happen but doesn't know what. Her dreams are getting more sensual and confusing. Her best friend, Valeria, even stops her climbing out of a window one night.

Shortly after the nightclub opens Alana meets Sadash, and she falls immediately and obsessively in love with him. He is very mysterious, telling her nothing about his life. Alana knows there is something dangerous about Sadash but cannot keep away from him. She learns that he is the man she saw in the bazaar years before, and that he is not human. Not even the love for her best friend can stop Alana from following the man who has been haunting her dreams. Sadesh opens a whole new world for Alana one that is both appealing and horrific. Alana is launched onto an extremely steep learning curve, and does not always act honourably.

I found Alana's character to be inconsistent and confusing. Mind you, to be fair, her life turns upside down after she joins Sadesh. Everything that is familiar disappears and she has to start all over again. I did think she was selfish, headstrong and wilful, wanting her own way no matter what. The relationship between Valeria and Alana is hard to describe; it almost borders on erotic at times. Although neither character crosses the line, the smouldering bond between the two women often confused me. The author handles this subtle undertone well, neither confirming nor denying this bond between the two close friends. It is an integral part of the story without detracting from the main focus between Alana and Sadesh. There is an interesting sub-plot about the mystery surrounding the death of Alana's mother. The sub-plot is well developed, and integrates with the main story, although I was disappointed with the resolution. I felt that it was left in the air. This is not a normal romance, neither is it your run-of-the-mill vampire story. What it is, is a skilfully blended story of two cultures, the dead and the undead, living and loving together. Could this happen? Do vampires really exist? Who knows? This book, although light and fluffy at times, will seriously leave you thinking.

April 2007
 

 

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