Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view


REVIEW:  Shades of Midnight by Lara Adrian

REVIEW: Shades of Midnight by Lara Adrian

cover image for Shades of MidnightDear Ms. Adrian:

I’ve had an on again off again relationship with this series. I adored Midnight Awakening but struggled with Veil of Midnight.   I liked Shades better than the last two but not as much as Midnight Awakening.   One of the things that I enjoyed about Shades was that the story was more about the characters and less about the overarching battle between the Rogues and the Order which has a certain staleness for me.

Alexandra Maguire is an Alaska bush pilot living in a small town called Harmony. She does supply runs and serves as a guide. She and her father moved to Alaska after a horrific attack on their family down in Florida which resulted in the death of her younger brother and her mother.

Out on a supply run she spots what looks like blood and bodies on the pristine snow covered ground which comprises the settlement of a few Natives. After landing, she views the savagery up close and is uncomfortably reminded of the attack in Florida that happened so many years ago.

A local troublemaker overhears the report of the attack on the scanner.   He videotapes the remains and uploads it on the internet.   The video comes to the attention of the Order in Boston, a group of super vampires devoted to eliminating rogue vampires who threaten the entire existence of the vampires.   Kade, a former Alaskan, is dispatched to investigate the matter.

Kade is both reluctant and happy to return to Alaska.   He left behind Alaska a year ago because his twin brother, Seth, became increasingly dark in his kills.   Kade couldn’t be responsible for Seth, couldn’t continue hiding his deviancy, and Kade couldn’t bring Seth’s nature to their clan’s attention.   But Alaska, for a vampire, is a beautiful place.   It has short daylight hours and long expanses to run and hunt without fear of discovery.   Kade must discover who is responsible for the killings, stop them, save his brother, repair his relationship with his father, and figure out what to do with his attraction toward Alex.

Alex must decide whether Alaska is safe for her any longer and whether there is anything to hold her in the remote wilderness now that her dad is gone and her best friend is sinking into a troubling malaise.

There were several opportunities to play up conflicts between Kade and Alex.   When Alex puts the moves on Kade, welcome moves, Kade notices that she is a Breedmate.   Breedmates are genetically enhanced females with whom vampire males can make lifelong blood bonds and procreate.   Breedmates are rare and treasured. Each Breedmate gets the honor of choosing her own mate. I know this because I’ve read the series.   I don’t think it was well articulated in this book.   Kade recognizes that he should not allow a blood exchange and that even having sex with her is in some way not in keeping with how Breedmates are chosen.   Kade’s struggle with this lasts about two seconds.

The second major area in which I thought a conflict between Kade and Alex could have been explored was that Alex’s family was destroyed by a vampire attack.   Kade is a vampire.   Unfortunately, the conflict that could have been generated was tepid at best despite the foreshadowing when Alex declares herself a black and white kind of person and Kade tries to tell her there are shades of grey.   Alex’s response to Kade’s revelation is simply to have sex with him again.

Suffice to say that the conflict is largely external rather than internal.   External conflict comes from the Alien vampire running amok, Kade’s concern over Seth, and Kade’s conflict with his father.

Toward the end, Kade engages in some late game info dumping which I thought could have been introduced far earlier to flesh out the unease Kade has with Seth and their twinship   rather than the three paragraph monologue that Kade gives to one of his Breed buds.

I liked that the story was away from Boston and the sameness of what exists there (capping Rogues and hunting the bad guys). Even though Kade was essentially doing the same thing in Alaska, the story was less about vampires and more about families and surviving.   Further,  Kade isn’t one of those tormented guys who hates the women. He’s attracted to Alexandra and isn’t opposed to getting to know her.   This entry advanced the series intriguingly and I didn’t get overloaded with the past characters.   C+

Best regards,


This book can be purchased at Amazon or in ebook format from Sony or other etailers.

This book was provided to the reviewer by either the author or publisher. The reviewer did not pay for this book but received it free. The Amazon Affiliate link earns us a 6-7% affiliate fee if you purchase a book through the link (or anything for that matter) and the Sony link is in conjunction with the sponsorship deal we made for the year of 2009. We do not earn an affiliate fee from Sony through the book link.

Dear Author

REVIEW: Ashes of Midnight by Lara Adrian

Dear Ms. Adrian:

book review I really fell in love with your series with the book featuring Tegan and Elise, Midnight Awakening. I believe it was in that book that we were introduced to Andreas Reichen. Andreas is a German vampire whose entire “family” was killed during a purge of Darkhaven homes who are perceived to be impediments to the ultimate rule of the bad vampires.

Andreas “gift” is overtaking him, spurred in part by his loss of control following the eradication of his family. Andreas is pyrokinetic and his rage literally fuels the fire. As he seeks out revenge against those he knows betrayed him, he loses his ability to harness both his gift and his bloodlust.

Claire Roth is the wife and breedmate of Wilhelm Roth. Roth and Andreas have always been at odds. Roth has been promised power in exchange for helping to eliminate those who stand by the Order, a group of Generation One vampires who hunt down rogue vampires and engage in an ongoing battle to keep humans safe. (As I was writing this review, I had to go back and look at previous books because there is little in this story that explains the nature of the conflict. It’s presented in a very elemental fashion. Andreas is part of the good guy team and Roth, part of the bad).

Claire and Wilhelm maintain a cordial existence but Claire and Andreas have a past. The two fell in love, but Andreas left, fearing his gift would ultimately harm Claire. Hurt and vulnerable, Claire fell easily into the hands of Wilhelm who poured on the charm to win her. The two settle into a peaceable yet far from loving relationship. Here’s where the story breaks down for me.

I was intrigued by the initial play on the breedmate concept but as the world in Ashes appeared to play fast and loose with the original canon, I not only lost interest but became frustrated. There ominous warnings regarding Reichen interfering with the blood bond between Claire and Wilhelm but there were no real repercussions.

Under the mythology you have set up, a breedmate (a female specially capable of breeding/pairing with vampires) has intense sexual and physical reaction to her mate when she drinks the mate’s blood. If she doesn’t drink the mate’s blood, she essentially condemns herself to die. Therefore, in order for Claire to have lived the life she has, she would have to regularly take blood from Wilhelm which implies that she also would be having sex with him, wonderful, orgasmic, blood pumping sex. Yet, this is never, ever addressed. Further, as Claire and Andreas bond, we are told that Wilhelm can tell through the matebond when Claire receives pleasure. Yet, we also know early on that Wilhelm cheats on Claire regularly. What impact does that have on her? What would that do to experience your mate’s pleasure while he is getting it from someone else? These questions are totally unanswered.

I was further disturbed by the fact that Andreas and Wilhelm were both born and bred in Germany, had lived there for years. Yet both of them act like characters from Die Hard.   Of course, Roth is John McClane, big, brawny, capable of handling every task with glass in his feet all the while cursing up a storm. Roth is no more German than Mongolian Beef is Chinese cuisine. His entire aspect from his attire, to his mannerisms, to his way of speech (replete with Anglicized curse words), and rhythm of speech, bespeaks of a non European.

If there is ever a place that diversity would be welcomed, it is the paranormal world. I mean, we have shapeshifters and vampires and aliens. Surely, we can have a few non white Anglo characters right? The most German that a reader is provided is the reference to Claire as Frau Roth a couple of times. I kept wondering what the point was of having German characters without providing us with any international flavor.   It further struck me how homogenous even the paranormal genre is that even a German character doesn’t appear to be any different than the standard Hollywood action hero.

Finally, the idea that one woman’s love could save him from his beast has been done before, not just in the ouvre of paranormal but in this series. Ashes of Midnight is nothing more than one super alpha male being saved by the love of a great woman. There is no nuance in this story and because it’s the same plot recycled from previous stories, there is no suspense either.

The story arc focuses primarily on Andreas and his battle over being consumed by his own fire. Claire has no character arc as serves only as the paranormal cure for Andreas’ illness. I think this is the last of the Breed series for me.

I feel compelled to explain the grade here for a moment. I think the prose is competent, if not a little melodramatic. But because the German background of the characters was so lacking and because the book deviated, I felt, so far from the original canon in order to drum up some conflict and then ease into an easy resolution, I cannot give this a better grade than any book in the series. D

Best regards,


This book can be purchased in mass market from an independent bookstore or ebook format from the Sony Store and other etailers.