Title: Midnight Reckoning
Author: Kendra Leigh Castle
Release Date: January 1, 2012
Publisher: Forever/Grand Central Publishing
Midnight Reckoning is the second installment in Kendra Leigh Castle’s Dark Dynasties series. The first book is Dark Awakening which I reviewed back in July 2011. Immediately after finishing Dark Awakening and reading the sneak peak at Midnight Reckoning I wished I had it in my hands to start reading. It’s rare that I like the second installment in a series better than the first. A lot of books suffer from a sort of “Sophomore Slump.” While Midnight Reckoning started out a tad slow, once it picked up it didn’t stop.
Castle continues her fabulous world building and tells the tale of Jaden and Lyra. Jaden is a Cait Sith vampire (now merged with the newly rebuilt Lilim) who was a slave of the Ptolemy line for a very long time. The vampires in this series can also shift into other things and in Jaden’s case, he shifts into a cat. A very big cat. We also met Lyra, a future Alpha werewolf, in Dark Awakening. Jaden demanded that Lyra leave the safe house he, Ty, and Lily were in while they were hiding.
While he hit it off with her at first, when he realized that she was a shifter things quickly went sour. So, yeah… there was some bad feelings between them. Jaden finds Lyra being accosted by an idiot shapeshifter wolf in Lilim territory. He gets rid of him and instead of Lyra being grateful, she’s pissed. See, Lyra is a headstrong female and a rare Alpha. She wants to fight for the title of Second and be her Packs leader, but no one supports her decision. Her own father tries to talk her out of it.
But Lyra won’t back down. Even if it kills her.
She leaves in a huff and then Jaden finds her necklace on the ground. In the usual vampire fashion he broods for a few days before leaving to go to upstate New York to give Lyra’s necklace to her. Jaden is attacked on her front lawn and an idea is planted in her fathers head – Jaden must teach Lyra to fight like he does in order to give her a chance to survive at the Proving ceremony.
Since vampires and werewolves are mortal enemies and kind of sort of hate each other Dorien’s idea doesn’t sound all that great, now does it?
Jaden feels a pull toward Lyra and wants to help her, so he stays and agrees to teach her how to fight as long as he’s under Dorien’s protection and the pack won’t harm him. Dorien tells the pack that Jaden is there as a sort of “Vampire Ambassador” from Lilim to help ease tensions between the two groups.
Yeah, some of the werewolves buy it and others don’t. Jaden does win over some of the guys when he buys a round at the local bar. Men – whatever species they are – are a lot more acceptable when you put a little alcohol in ’em, huh?
What follows is Jaden and Lyra falling in love while forces inside the pack, as from dangers outside of it, threaten them both. Someone wants Lyra for himself so he can be Alpha or just out of the way period. There’s lots of lies, deceit, making out in the woods, fighting, sexy times, witty banter, and more making out in the woods.
Because Jaden had been a slave of the Ptolemy and mistreated, he reminded me of Zsadist from J.R. Ward’s “Black Dagger Brotherhood” series. While not as dark as Zsadist, Jaden learned how to open up and love someone and be happy. I also enjoyed the fact that Lyra was not a “woe as me” female, but strong and determined. Although she could have been killed at the Proving ceremony, she was willing to fight for what she believed in and what she believed was right.
She’s a heroine with a set of balls to match her mate.
I’ve talked with Kendra Leigh Castle on Twitter a little bit in regards to the next installment. I can happily report that the next book, Shadow Rising, is due on August 1 of this year. After checking out Castle’s website and reading the summary, I can’t wait! Funny enough, I asked her if Damien was going to get a book of his own and the next one is his. I just couldn’t tell from the preview. I want that sucker NOW.
While Midnight Reckoning is the second in a series I’ve read where some say that it could be read as a standalone. I’m not totally sold on that and think you should check out Dark Awakening first. If you enjoy paranormal romance involving vampires and werewolves I highly suggest you get your hands on a copy of both books and settle into a comfy couch for a day.