Published by: Dark Cherry Press
Release date: 29th April 2013
Series: Haven #1
I got it from: NetGalley
words haunt Scar's dreams. She thinks the creature that terrorises her
while asleep isn't real, but when she's abducted and taken to a reform
school meant to contain creatures too dangerous to function in society,
she starts to wonder whether she isn't some monster.
She turns to
an underground fight club full of vampires, werewolves and witches
established by the students to control her urges, and who is she
kidding, she loves to fight.
When fighters begin to disappear,
turning Scar into the prime suspect, she must race to prove her
innocence before her true nature is exposed.
The only problem is that she's not entirely sure she's innocent.
Back to good old vampires, werewolves and witches - diss it all you like, in my opinion you can't beat a bit of dark monster action now and again. After a spate of 'let's avoid vampires, they've been done to death so we're going to come up with a random new paranormal thing', returning to the old style freaks is like meeting up with an old friend you haven't seen for ages.
Scarlet has attitude - a lot of it. She's a fighter, literally. Her dad's a cop but that doesn't stop her from getting into fights when she goes out to clubs. Not only that, she has dark dreams and draws things in her sleep. Oh and she's faster and stronger than your average human, with enhanced sight and hearing too. Scar does her best to ignore these things, trying instead to just live her life, but her friend Alex is always getting her into trouble and then one day, the unthinkable happens. Scar's enhanced abilities step up a notch, she grows fangs and attacks her best friend.
Luckily, before Scar can drink Alex dry, she's saved. Taken to a school full of vampires, werewolves and witches, where the other students have all grown up knowing what they are and preparing for it. Scar has to pretend that she's just like the other vampires, otherwise her life will be forfeit. She's not like the others though. She has a voice inside her that's becoming increasingly strong, she can't feed on blood without losing control, and she's being encouraged to take part in an underground fight club. Life couldn't get much weirder.
I enjoyed Scar's transition from normal girl into vampire. She showed credible disbelief at first, but it must be pretty hard to ignore the evidence when you're the one growing fangs and developing a taste for blood. When she starts at the new school, she is submerged into a completely new world, but she copes well. She's not going to lie down and take the crap that some of the others give her just because she's new and doesn't know what she's doing. Scar is strong, and she's determined to make the best of the situation she's landed in. It certainly helps that she's gained the attention of the gorgeous Daemon.
There's a lot of fight scenes in this book. A LOT. Personally, I didn't have a problem with that - I found it fast-paced and exciting, like watching an action movie. There's more action than substance, but as long as you're not expecting a deep, emotional story or a slushy romance, that's not a problem. Choose this book if you like vampires and you want entertainment. It's fast and frantic, with just a hint of a love interest and a lot of kick-ass moves. There are some elements that could do with improvement - the characters aren't the most developed, there are a few editing issues and some obvious YA/vampire cliches, but overall I enjoyed reading Shadow Embraced and would happily go on to read the next installment.