Queen of Shadows - Dianne Sylvan Summary: The synopsis for Queen of Shadows on goodreads doesn't begin to do this book justice. This book is far more exciting and amazing than that boring paragraph makes it out to be! The back cover is a lot better at capturing the essence of the book:

Spread throughout the dark corners of our world lies the Shadow World, a society of vampires that feeds off the living. In Austin, Texas, one woman’s madness will drive her into a world that few people ever see – or even know exists…

Shortly after she picked up a guitar, Miranda Grey conquered the Austin music scene with a newfound ability to psychically manipulate her audience’s emotions. But as her powers outgrow her control, her mind is increasingly invaded by haunting secrets and overwhelming sadness. Unable to look anyone in the eye, Miranda is fast approaching the edge of insanity – with no one to catch her fall…

When he outlawed killing humans, David Solomon ignited a civil war among Austin’s vampires. As Prime of the South, his sympathy for mortals angered the old guard who refuse to control their violent urges. David has his hands full with the growing insurgency, but he takes in a broken-down woman, a musician in need of supernatural guidance. Little does he know that Miranda Grey has the power to change his world as well…

She felt like a thin candy shell over nothing at all, run through with cracks and ready to splinter at any second.

Miranda can influence and manipulate people's emotions through her music. She's an emotionally scarred woman who doesn't feel like an independent being. Instead, she's like a combination of other people's memories and emotions. When her powers were just beginning to show, she brushed them off lightly, not realizing how much they were influencing her mind and heart. As she grows into her powers, though, all she wants is for the noises in her head to stop. She refuses to eat, instead resorting to alcohol and drugs to get her mind to be quiet. After being abused, beaten, and raped by a group of thugs, Miranda discovers the true power of her "gift" - she can even use it to kill.

Cue our hero, David. David takes Miranda into his Haven and trains her to learn to control her power better so that she can use it to defend herself properly. After spending more and more time with David and his subordinates, Miranda begins to heal, both emotionally and physically. She's a lot more blunt and honest than she'd initially been, and she takes things in a stride. It takes her a while to truly learn to trust people, but David and Faith, his Second, are there throughout to help her heal.

Speaking of Faith, she has got to be the best Second and friend anyone could ask for! She's strong, loyal, fierce, understanding, and straightforward. Her friendship and loyalty to David, and then later, to Miranda, are what define her character. I love how she kept pushing David and Miranda to finally admit their feelings for each other and get on with it.

David is one strange man. I don't usually describe hot and sexy heroes like that, but something about the Milky-Way-&-ice-cream-loving, pony-riding, Tetris-playing vampire is definitely weird. David reminds me of Ethan (because of the whole Prime thing), Barrons (because of the brooding and loving luxuries thing), and Bones (because of his humor
"Eggs are essentially the menstrual period of a chicken. Honey is mostly bee spit."
), all in one.
Ninja computer programmer?...Ninja computer programmer doctor?

I love how he has no issues with communication and doesn't try to be unnecessarily mysterious. And he can recite Shakespeare! *swoons* I think the most unique thing about David, after the fact that he actually knows how to communicate, is that he isn't dying of ennui. He actually seems to be enjoying his life, making the best of his position as a Prime. I think I might love that the most about him.
"Life is too short to spend in dread and guilt.”

Cliched, I know. Regardless, I still love little reminders like this in the books I read. They sound all the more meaningful coming from characters I've come to know and love.
I know your life is long but please don’t forget me.

I love how the relationship between David and Miranda develops, slowly and naturally. There's no heated sexual tension or endless innuendos until they've gradually come to know one another. That kind of relationship, one that is based on friendship first, lust second, and love third, is extremely rare in PNR and it seemed a lot like a courtship, what with David giving Miranda chaste kisses on the hand, and the little hugs and everything. I can't begin to express how much I love that about their relationship.
“I am in love with you, Miranda Grey. I’ve fallen so far into you that I can’t even see the stars anymore, but it doesn’t matter— you’re all the light I need.”

This has got to be one of the most romantic, sweetest confessions I've ever read! It's obvious how much Miranda and David need each other, and I love how their relationship is based on mutual trust, attraction, and effective communication.

All in all, this was an extremely good read with lovable characters, an exceptional story line, and great writing. I look forward to seeing what happens in Shadowflame!

Edit after reading Shadowflame: From this day forth, I declare Queen of Shadows to be a standalone novel with no sequels. Sylvan has no qualms about messing with her readers, I have no qualms about messing with her books. As far as I'm concerned, David and Miranda get married and live happily ever after in their court, and David is so in love with Miranda, he can't see straight for the rest of his life. End of.