Sunday, June 2, 2013

Review: Claimed

Reviewed by Jen
This is a definite improvement for me over Fated... and picks up right where that one left off. It even overlaps a tiny bit. The story begins as Emma is separated from her sister Cara at the Kurjan (evil vampire) facility and transported to the evil king that wants to be her mate.  But before she can make there, she is rescued by the good vampire king, Dage, mid-flight.

Emma knows she is destined to be with Dage. She has dreamed of him for the past 15 years.  Part of her already loves him.  He, meanwhile, has dreamed of her for centuries.  Her face has haunted his dreams. And now that they are finally together in the flesh, it is intoxicating.  The thing is, Emma knows more than she is letting on.  Thanks to her powerful psychic abilities, she knows her death is coming and she wants to shield Dage from the pain that will follow. She figures, if she fights the mating, she can prevent him from loving her enough to be destroyed by her death.  Of course, that's ridiculous because he already loves her.

Meanwhile, the plague engineered by the Kurjans is hitting closer to home. Cara is infected and so are Katie and Maggie.  Dage and his brothers now have more reason than ever to find a cure. How fortunate that Emma is a brilliant scientist!  She and Dage's brainiac brother Kane work together to crack the virus. This, as Dage and his people teeter on the brink of a supernatural war.  It's a tough time to be king.

As with all the books in this series, I really like the world building. And the layers grow from book to book.  Could this be read as a standalone? Yes. I read books 4 and 5 that way, but obviously that motivated me to check out the backlist and learn more about the characters and their history.  The series as it stands (from book 1 to 5) has progressed over the course of 15 years or so, so there is a lot of ground to cover.  Rebecca Zanetti lays it all out simply, and while it's a little complicated, it's not convoluted; you won't get lost.

What's so much better here than in book one is the relationship.  Yes, there are still times the hero is overbearing, possessive, and bossy. But he tries not to be. He sees the value in giving Emma choices (most of the time) and does not try to cut her off at the knees at every pass.  Meanwhile, Emma's got a little more hutzpah than her sister did. She is tougher and is more powerful.  --There were moments that gave me pause. Like using sex as "punishment" and making her beg to show her who has control.  Both are turnoffs for me. But it's such a vast improvement from the Talen/ Cara dynamic, I know we are going in the right direction.

I love the underlying Janie story... and the two young men visiting her dreams. I can't wait to read that book one day.  In the meantime, though, I will occupy myself with Conn and Moira's story.  I can't wait to see their reunion.

Rating: B

Click to purchase: Amazon
by Rebecca Zanetti
Release Date: October 25, 2011
Publisher: Brava

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