Title: Embraced by the Shadows
Author: Mayra Calvani
It’s almost Halloween! Are you excited? I am, mostly because I love taking Jake Trick or Treating so I can score some candy! You know what goes great with Halloween? Spooky books about vampires. Yes, I know, they’re all the rage these days, aren’t they? Well, Embraced by the Shadows by Mayra Calvani isn’t really your typical “he’s so hot, I should give up my mortality and be his forever” vampire story. It’s more of a “wow, this guy’s kind of a creepy stalker and I would prefer not to die for him” type of tale.
It begins 12 years in the past, at a bazaar in Istanbul (not Constantinople…sorry, every time I hear Istanbul, They Might Be Giants starts running through my head), when Alana Piovanetti was just a young girl lusting after a gorgeous painting that her mom couldn’t afford. While she was staring at the painting, someone was staring at her from the shadows. A little creepy, considering she was just a child at the time. Fast forward twelve years into the future and half-way around the world to Puerto Rico, where Alana is now a grownup living with her best friend Valeria. She just scored the job as a manager to a hot new restaurant that centers around, of all things, vampires, even though she has zero experience in managing anything and really didn’t plan to spend her life working in any sort of restaurant. Overall, though, things seem to be going pretty well for her, except for the super-sensual dreams involving a man she’s never seen before.
The night of the restaurant’s grand opening, Alana spots a man staring at her and feels drawn to him, almost like she knows him. That man turns out to be the less than human Sadash. At first, Sadash is all charming and awesome, but he quickly proves to be far from the ideal boyfriend, and Alana is more than a little freaked out. Of course, that doesn’t sit well with her stalker, so he takes matters into his own hands to make sure Alana will never want to leave him.
I have mixed feelings about Embraced by the Shadows. On the one hand, I appreciate that it was quite different from other vampire books out there right now, and the subplot- a mystery about Alana’s mother’s death- kept me reading to find out what really happened. The twist was unexpected, at least to me. On the other hand, I really didn’t like Sadash at all. Maybe I wasn’t supposed to, he’s not exactly a likable guy. Halfway through the book, I also kind of stopped liking Alana, as she made some really cruddy choices. But she becomes likable again towards the end.
Why do girls and women in stories always make such awful decisions when it comes to vampires? Especially when that vampire is their first love? Maybe it’s totally unromantic of me to say, but hardly anyone spends their mortal life, let alone eternity, with their first love. In a way, though, I think that’s kind of the point that Embraced by the Shadows makes- that although it may sound awesome to live forever with your immortal beloved, it’s not always all it’s cracked up to be. See, totally mixed feelings. I enjoyed it, but it left me with some lingering frustrations that I didn’t even know I had when it comes to vampire stories.
I recommend checking out Calvani’s page, she’s offering two of her other e-books as a Halloween gift to her readers.
Note- I received a free ebook copy of this book. My opinions are my own.