Another recap by Rachel @ Rachel’s Reading Corner!
Sofia is kidnapped by a vampire named Lucas and taken to the vampire’s secret sanctuary, an island called the Shade. She is forced into being part of their king, Derek’s, “harem” – as he has just awaken from a four-hundred yearlong sleeping spell and is in need of fresh blood to “sate” him. Sofia and Derek grow an unlikely friendship. Lucas wants Sofia too however, and he is a constant threat to her during the book. He kills Gwen – another of Derek’s “harem” – to warn her that he will have her as his own soon. It gets more complicated once, during Derek’s meeting with an Elite named Claudia, Sofia realises that Claudia’s man-slave is Ben, her best friend from the outside world. Derek barters to get Ben as his slave too, once he recognises how much he means to Sofia. Lucas then manages to break into Derek’s villa while he is out, and nearly rapes Sofia. Derek saves the day however, and then, realising that he is in love with Sofia but that she can never truly be safe on his island, offers her the chance to leave with Ben. Before she can though Sofia realises how much Derek means to her, too, and the book ends with them embracing, crying, and not making a decision to whether they are leaving or not.
what went down
- Sofia, the protagonist, walks along the beach. It’s her 17th birthday. She is pining for her best friend, Ben, who she is also in love with. She’s quite upset as Ben had forgotten her birthday that day. A handsome stranger comes up to and begins talking to her. Sofia gets a little creeped out, and goes to leave. The stranger grabs her arm and pricks something against her neck. Sofia blacks out.
- When she wakes, she finds herself in a dungeon. The stranger comes down and tells her “welcome to The Shade”. She has no idea what that is. The stranger then pushes her against a wall and begins to grope her. He reveal that he has fangs and goes to bit Sofia’s neck.
- A girl appears and stops the stranger, whose name is Lucas. The girl is Lucas’s sister, named Vivienne. She says that Sofia was kidnapped for her (and Lucas’) brother, Derek Novak, who is hinted to be some sort of king.
- Derek wakes up in a bedroom after four-hundred years of being under some sort of sleeping spell. We hear that he got a witch named Cora to cast the spell, but it was meant to make him sleep “forevermore”. A woman in the bedroom reveals herself as Cora’s descendant, Corrine, and tells Derek that Cora passed away while he was asleep.
- A few girls, including Sofia, are taken to The Baths where they are washed and “dolled up”. One of the ladies tells Sofia that the girls have been picked to be a part of Derek’s “harem”. The girls, escorted, walk through The Vale to Derek’s room. Vivienne, Corrine and Lucas are there too.
- Derek is furious, saying that he is going to kill the girl by accident if Vivienne doesn’t take them away – his control isn’t strong enough, especially after four-hundred years of not being “sated”. Vivienne says that they’ve bought the girls as a lesson, he must learn to control his impulses.
- Sofia grabs the hand of one of the other girls to try and comfort her. The movement attracts Derek’s attention. His hunger overwhelms him. He moves forward and pushes Sofia against a pillar. Sofia, terrified, tries to push him away but is too weak. She manages to talk him out of it however.
- Derek, Vivenne, and Lucas walk to the palace, to show Derek’s his new home. Sofia is shackled and forced to walk with the guards, but Derek wants her to walk beside him and gets her unshackled. He holds Sofia’s hand as the walk.
- Sofia is shown to her new quarters in Derek’s Pavilion. She takes a nap while Derek stays up all night, trying to catch up on the news of the last four-hundred years by reading. One of the other girls from his “harem”, Gwen, brings him glasses of blood to satisfy his hunger.
- Sofia attempts to escape. She steals some clothes and runs through the dark forest for hours. She gets stuck at a ginormous wall that she cannot find a way over. Two vampires – named Husky and Pitchy – find her, attack her and nearly bite her. Derek saves the day. He kills one of them – to make a point to the other vampires that no-one is allowed to touch Sofia. Derek cuts his palm, and forces Sofia to drink his blood – this heals her of all the cuts and bruises she sustained. Turns out vampire blood has healing properties. He brings her back to his Pavilion.
- It’s revealed that it is always night at The Shade. There is no sunshine, and Derek misses it. He hasn’t seen sunlight in five-hundred years. Lucas drops in for a visit.
- Sofia gets to meet the two guards assigned protect the “harem”, Kyle and Samuel. She also meets the other “harems”, Gwen, Paige, Rose and Ashley.
- Vivienne tells Derek about what’s been happening while he was “sleeping”: some people called Hunters are still after the vampires – it seems they were a problem back when Derek was awake too. Vivienne gives Derek a live but unconscious Hunter woman to drain. He almost kills her but he suddenly remembers Sofia, and knows that she would be disappointed if he took the woman’s life.
- Derek returns to the house befuddled and angry. Sofia spends the night trying to calm him down, teaching him about TV and letting him play the piano for her. She falls asleep listening to him play. Derek carries her to her bed, and tucks her in.
- The next “morning”, Derek goes to wake Sofia up and finds her trembling and crying, huddled up in her bed. Gwen is discovered dead – she’d been drained – in Sofia’s bathtub, bite marks on her wrists. Derek takes Sofia to be healed – Sofia’s back is scratched red raw – at Corrine’s. Sofia drink Derek’s blood to heal. She confides in Corrine about her time in the Shade so far. Corrine tells Derek to let her see Sofia once every day, turns out she was a psychiatrist before she was kidnapped and bought to the Shade.
- We see a flashback to the night of Gwen’s death. Sofia was asleep and wakes to find Lucas leaning over her. He threatens her, telling her she is “his”, not Derek’s. He kisses her and gropes her – Sofia couldn’t escape. He tells her that he will back for her – soon – and that he has left a “gift” for her in the bathtub. There will be more of them if she doesn’t come to him soon. Sofia discovers Gwen dead.
- Derek lets the girls train in self-defence and gives them their own weapon each. He asks Sofia to stay with him in his room, he wants to keep her safe. She does. He isn’t weird about it – no sexual advances etc.
- Corrine diagnoses Sofia with something called Low Latent Inhibition – a mental illness that makes your senses work overtime and impossible to compartmentalise things. Her mother most likely had it too, and Sofia reveals that her mum was sent to a mental asylum when she was young. She is worried she is going to go “crazy” too.
- Sofia reveals the Sun Room to Derek. It’s a project her and the other girls have been working on. They painted sunsets on the walls, placed LED lights on the ceilings and bought in garden furniture, so Derek could finally see the “sunshine” after all those years. Derek embraces Sofia as thanks and tries to kiss her, Sofia says no to that.
- A girl named Claudia, one of the Elite from a different vampire coven, visits Derek with her human man-slave. She says she is there to meet the woman that has Derek “all tied up in knots”. Derek is suspicious. Just at that time, Sofia, the girls, and Kyle and Samuel return from a walk. Sofia immediately sees Claudia’s slave, who she recognises as her best friend and love, Ben. Sofia and Ben embrace. Derek barters with Claudia to get Ben in his possession when he sees that Ben means something to Sofia.
- Sofia meets Ben in the Sun Room. Ben reveals how he was captured (he was out looking for Sofia on the beach) and how Claudia had tortured him ever since his escape attempt – she would cut him deep enough to scar but not cause internal injuries, beat him up, and then force him to drink her healing blood so she could repeat the process.
- Derek goes for a walk in the woods. He is a little jealous of Sofia’s affection for Ben. When he gets back he sees Kyle and Samuel recovering from being knocked out, they mumble to go to the Sun Room. Derek finds Ben unconscious on the floor there, and then sees Lucas pinning Sofia against the wall. He’s groping her and drinking her blood. She’s naked from the waist up. Derek tackles Lucas, and punches him. He has a wooden stake ready to stab Lucas through the heart but Sofia stops him. She doesn’t want him to have to kill his brother, knowing that he’ll regret it for the rest of his life. Derek heals her with his blood, and gives her clothes to cover up. He releases then that he loves her, and tells Sofia that he is going to let her go. She and Ben can leave the Shade together if they want.
how did it end?
Derek secures passage out of the Shade for Ben and Sofia. The three of them go down to the port. Before she leaves, already in two minds about it, Sofia asks to talk to Derek – privately. They end up passionately kissing. Derek tells Sofia that he knows she doesn’t really want to leave. Sofia embraces him crying, knowing that she wants to leave the Shade but not Derek.
Epilogue: Vivienne gets a vision. She sees Derek kissing Sofia and then sees the future turmoil that this will bring for the coven and the Shade.
The Shade = a island sanctuary for vampires. A spell of Cora’s – now kept working by Corrine – makes the island have no sunlight (for the vampires). It has a large forest and mountain range.
Black Heights = The Shade’s mountain range. The dungeons and slave quarters are inside it.
The Residences = the tree-top villas where the Elite live. They are linked by glass walkways and hanging bridges.
The Pavilion = the four penthouses for the royal family: Derek, Vivienne, Lucas and their father
The Cells = a network of underground caves. The Shade’s equivalent of a gaol.
The Catacombs = the human’s slave quarters
The Vale = the main village (in a large clearing in the middle of the forest) on The Shade.
Sanctuary = Corrine’s dwelling place
The Elite = the twenty original clans that swore allegiance to Derek’s family
Knights = members of the Elite who also serve as warriors
Scouts = members of the Elite sent to “the outside world” to get supplies and new blood (humans)
Lodgers = citizens of The Shade