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Midnight Reckoning by Kendra Leigh Castle

Midnight Reckoning

by Kendra Leigh Castle

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Dark Dynasties (Book 2)

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Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales

Quick & Dirty: Another solid strong female character and a few twists made this novel an engaging read.

Opening Sentence: On a night when only the thinnest sliver of a crescent moon rode the sky, at a time when even the most adventurous humans had fallen into bed and succumbed to sleep, a solitary cat padded in and out of pooled shadow as he made his way across the deserted square in the middle of town.

The Review:

Midnight Reckoning is the second novel in the Dark Dynasties series. This is a great series if you want strong female characters and unpredictable twists to the story. It has been a couple months now since the events of book one, Dark Awakening. Jaden is beginning to settle into his new life but he can’t quite get over an encounter that he had while in Chicago a few months ago. Her name was Lyra Black. She is a werewolf and now she is in vampire territory… (of course, werewolves and vampires do not get along) Jaden’s territory and he wants to know why. She leaves without an explanation and her necklace. Jaden risks venturing into werewolf territory to return Lyra’s necklace, even though such a feat could mean certain death.

Lyra wants nothing more than to be Alpha of her pack. Growing up the daughter of the current Alpha, she sees what the pack needs to change its ways. She wants to move the pack to a more modern way of thinking but as a female her pack will always see her as weak and inferior unless she can win The Proving. Whoever wins this test of might will be chosen as the next Alpha. Lyra has thrown her name into the contest which her father thinks will be the death of her. She only has one month to get ready for The Proving.

Jaden who was once very much the dark and brooding type completely changes when he is with Lyra. There is a lot of heated tension between the two because of their differences. I did wonder how their situation would turn out with so much at stake for Lyra. I was satisfied by the conclusion.

Lyra is a tough cookie who just wants to save her pack. She knows the pack will not evolve if her cousin becomes its leader. She’s afraid pack rulings will become even stricter towards the women of the group.

Midnight Reckoning sets up another dark and life-altering book with a few hints of humor. I enjoyed the twists as they came along, in my mind I kept seeing events taking place a different way and when they happened I was much more pleased by being wrong.

The novel is told in the third person jumping from each other’s point of views. The pacing kept me wanting to read from one chapter to the next, if it wasn’t the action that was going on it was the tension between the two characters that kept me divested in the storyline.

As a whole, I really enjoyed this world and how it is the next step in building a dynasty. I hope that everything I like about this series so far returns in the next novel, Shadow Rising.

Notable Scene:

That was when she saw it, a fast-moving shadow flying over the ground toward Jaden, whose back was turned. It passed several feet from her, and the breeze it kicked up from its rapid movement carried with it the scent of ancient death–the scent of vampire. Lyra reacted instinctively. There was no thought as she sprang forward, her body shifting in midair to become the sleek, muscular form of the wolf. When her paws hit the ground, she leaped again, pushing forward with all her might to try to reach Jaden before this interloper did.

Though what followed happened in seconds, in her memory Lyra would always see everything in slow motion: The way the shadow finally began to look like a man when it reached Jaden, the way Jaden turned, ready to fight, his coat flying around him and his eyes ablaze with unholy fire. She saw the blood burst from Jaden’s chest, saw the shock and fury on his face, and then she slammed into the attacking vampire full force. They rolled together, Lyra snarling and snapping, looking for a purchase with her teeth and claws.

She bit down hard on a fleshy upper arm, heard a banshee-like wail of pain just as a foul taste flooded her mouth. The vampire ripped the arm away and fled with a feral hiss, tossing Lyra aside as though she weighed nothing. She stayed loose, allowing herself to fall, to roll harmlessly when she hit the ground. Still, she was thrown with enough force to knock the wind out of her.

It took a few precious seconds for her to drag in a breath, longer to stagger to her feet and make sure that the new vampire was gone. But he was… though she could smell him on the light breeze, lingering. Fear, anger — retreat. Lyra showed her teeth in the direction it had gone, staking her claim on this territory–this man.

FTC Advisory: I purchased my own copy of Midnight Reckoning. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review. ( )
  DarkFaerieTales | Jan 1, 2014 |
This was the second book in the Dark Dynasties series and could be read as a stand-alone without reading the first in the series. I recommend that you read the first book, Dark Awakening, just because it would give you a better understanding of everything that has already happened and because it was a great book!

In this world created by Kendra Leigh Castle, Vampires and Werewolves do not get along. The have huge trust issues with each other and avoid each other whenever possible. So when Jaden decides to go the see Lyra Black and return something to her, he is walking straight into werewolf territory and they is no guarantee that he will walk out alive.

I really enjoyed this second book in the series, almost more than the first. Lyra and Jaden think they are natural rivals, just like cats and dogs, but they aren’t. Neither can understand why the other is interesting. Unfortunately for both, the long-standing aversion to each other’s species leaves them both at odds with the strangeness between them. When Jaden agrees to teach Lyra how to fight better, they are thrown together and forced to face their feelings or fight them off tooth and tail. The future of Lyra’s pack is hanging on by a whisker and her ability to fight maybe the only thing that saves her from warming the bed of an unwelcome mate.

The Narration Review
This audiobook was narrated by Pete Bradbury and he also narrated the first story in this series, Dark Awakening! Once again his narration was great. I really enjoy his voices for all the characters. He has a very clear voice and he really brings emotions and action to life with his story telling abilities. ( )
  AlaskanBookie | Sep 25, 2013 |
2.5 stars

God, this was a giant letdown after the awesome introduction we got in [b:Dark Awakening|9996331|Dark Awakening (Dark Dynasties #1)|Kendra Leigh Castle|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1293086526s/9996331.jpg|14891196]. I don't know what it was, really. The whole book just felt off to me. The writing was stilted and not as polished. Several sentences and passages had me rereading because they didn't make sense. And the characters--though I liked Jaden, I didn't love any of them. Lyra was not my favorite heroine. I enjoy a strong female lead, but there is a fine line the author has to walk to make her strong and remain likable and not just a bitch. I'm not sure Castle pulled it off.

I was also missing the heat of the first one. We had unbelievable sexual chemistry and tension with Ty and Lily, and I don't think it was there with Lyra and Jaden.

Finally, the ending was...what? I mean, really. What? I saw that coming from the beginning, thinking that the whole Eric thing was just too convenient for it to be him, but wondering how in the world Simon could be the bad guy with how he was portrayed. Castle really would've benefited from adding a bit of foreshadowing throughout, which she didn't do. It was all just too convenient with the explanation at the end. I also felt like it was wrapped up too quickly. There was all this build-up and then it was just...done.

I'm still going to head into book 3, but I'm not quite as excited about it as I'd hoped... ( )
  CreativeJunkie | Sep 23, 2013 |
Originally Reviewed at:Mother/Gamer/Writer
Rating 5 out of 5 Controllers
Review Source:Publisher for Honest Review
Reviewed by:Me

A deliciously intriguing plot, a fantastic cast of characters and a steamy romance, makes Midnight Reckoning one hard book to put down. I was totally consumed by this story as soon as I read the first paragraph. And page after page Castle delivered exceptional world-building and characters I grew to adore. She has a way with words, and strings them together so eloquently I could picture everything, from smells, to beautifully painted skies. Each word was chosen with care, and reminded me of the ever talented Gena Showalter’s writing style (think Lords of the Underworld). So what makes Midnight Reckoning worthy of your undivided attention? EVERYTHING.

Characters for me make or break a story. If I am not invested in your characters, then essentially I am not invested in your novel. Castle’s characters are by far some of the best. Our reluctant hero, Jaden, was swoon-tastic! He was the type of Alpha Male females yearn for, die to be near, and kill to touch or taste. He is a Cait Sith, or a vampire who shifts into a cat (yes you heard that right). He also had a horrific past, one that will make even the toughest person melt. Jaden was it for me, my new book boyfriend (Sorry Lucien). I couldn’t help but love the tough boy persona, while craving his gentle heart. Lyra, our female MC werewolf, was also a very likeable character. The only thing she truly wanted was to secure her birthright as the future Alpha of her wolf pack, something that was anything but an easy task to accomplish. Immediately, Castle created tension between her hero and heroine. And those two together provided hilarious banter and nonstop action. Though they danced around their feelings until Jaden offered Lyra a proposition, the result became a tug-of-war between forbidden love, undeniable lust, and incredible want. Can I just say, yummy?

The story itself was fascinating. I did not read the first book in the series so it took a few pages in for me to understand the whole Dynasty aspect of the vampires. Who controlled whom, what each Dynasty was known for, how they all interacted as a society. Reading the first book, Dark Awakening, might be best for those of you who like back-story or reading a series in order. In my opinion Midnight Reckoning can work as a stand-alone title; however, it might just take a minute to process the entire world (although this should not deter you from reading it). The story also has some of my other favorite elements, such as betrayal, an unsuspecting enemy, and character’s who will do anything to rise above their circumstances. As soon as you hit around page 100, you can expect nonstop action and an intense emotional connection to the characters. A fantastic novel with a satisfying beginning, middle, and end.

Overall, Midnight Reckoning is a surprise hit for me. Originally I was going to read Firelight but I managed to get through the first chapter and decided the book just wasn’t working for me. But when I reached on the coffee table and grab this book, I expected a lot less, and received so much more than I could have hoped for. I know I made this comparison earlier, but if you like Gena Showalter, I highly recommend picking up this series. Even if you are new to romance novels and just looking to get your feet wet, this book has so many other great elements I promise that you won’t be bored or feel overwhelmed ( )
  momgamerwriter | Feb 20, 2012 |
You may also read my review here: http://www.mybookishways.com/2012/02/midnight-reckoning-dark-dynasties-2-by-kend...

I should totally be ashamed. I read Midnight Reckoning before reading Dark Awakening, the first book in the series, but it turns out that’s ok! There are characters in Midnight that are from Dark Awakening, but the book certainly stands on its own, so no worries. The stars of Midnight Reckoning are Jaden Harrison and Lyra Black. Jaden is a Cait Sidh and a vampire, so yes, that makes him a shape shifting vamp who spends a bit of time as a rather large cat. Purrrrr. Lyra, on the other hand, is a werewolf. So, both are shapeshifters, but that’s where the similarities end. When Lyra is attacked by an overly amorous were with a mean streak, Jaden happens to be on hand for a rescue, but Lyra is less than thrilled. See, it’s time for Lyra to be matched to her mate (weres bond for life), and her dad, the Thorn Pack’s Alpha, is determined to find her the perfect strong match, but Lyra has other ideas. Lyra is determined to compete in the Proving, which could give Lyra a chance at Alpha. However, were packs aren’t so forward conscious in their thinking where women are concerned, and the chances of this happening are slim to none. Lyra is stubborn though, so her father hires Jaden to teach her his fighting moves, in order to give her a better chance of survival. I think we both know where this is going, don’t we?

I loved this book. Flat out loved it. I couldn’t stop thinking “Romeo and Juliet” while reading it, and I fell in love with both Jaden and Lyra’s characters almost immediately. Jaden is a 200 year old vampire that cooks, and there’s a vulnerability about him that is just heartwrenching, especially since he’s spent quite a bit of time as a slave in the hands of the Ptolemy. Speaking of which… There are hierarchies of vamps, with each being able to change into different animals (cat, bat, etc), and the leader of the Ptolemy, Arsinoe, is one mean mamma, and she’s a little ticked that a bunch of her cats have run off with a new leader (Book 1 covers this, I promise). She’s not above sending assassins out for any wayward kitties that she may want back, and this provides a nice subplot (not to mention some pretty nifty fighting scenes.) Lyra is stubborn, smart-mouthed, and strong of will, but there’s something about Jaden that she just can’t resist (this won’t be hard for you to believe, trust me), but it’s kind of like that line in Ghostbusters, remember? Something about dogs and cats living together? In the world of the weres, it’s Just. Not. Done. Vampires aren’t so picky about it, but if Jaden and Lyra’s relationship is revealed, she pretty much might as well sign her own banishment papers. Kendra Leigh Castle creates a fascinating world populated by some of the coolest cats (literally), the toughest weres, and the wiliest vamps that I’ve read about in a long time. She keeps the pace up, and you’ll keep wanting to read “one more chapter.” I mean, come on…shape shifting vamps? Yes, please!! Like I said, I started with this one first, and the author does a great job of bringing you up to speed on the events so far, but it never hurts to start with Dark Awakening. I finished this one, and immediately reached for it-that’s how much I wanted to dive back into Kendra Leigh Castle’s awesome world. Paranormal romance fans will love this, but urban fantasy fans will like it too, I think, since it has enormous crossover appeal (in my opinion). Snag a copy as soon as you can, seriously, and grab Dark Awakening while you’re at it! ( )
  MyBookishWays | Feb 18, 2012 |
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Book description
Two separate worlds . . .

One passion that binds them

Wild and passionate by nature, Lyra Black is not just any werewolf. She's the future leader of the powerful pack of the Thorn-if she can stay alive long enough to inherit the title.

One of the Cait Sith bloodline of vampire cat-shifters, Jaden Harrison has no interest in the wars plaguing the world of night. But when he rescues Lyra from a violent attack, they're both captured by an insatiable desire that threatens to overwhelm them and bind them together for eternity . . . just as ancient enemies prepare to strike. And when they do, the Thorn and the Cait Sith-and Lyra and Jaden's love-may never recover from the deadly blow . . .

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When he steps in to help a woman being hunted by two men, Jaden Harrison, one of the Cait Sith bloodline of vampire cat-shifters, discovers that the men are werewovles, and that the woman he just saved is one he knows very well.

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