A Shade of Darkness
by J.A. Klassen

"Their long incisors protruding, they frantically kiss, nicking each other's lips, tasting each other's blood."

Bronwyn has recently finished her latest book, and decided she needs a holiday. While thinking of her next book, she has opts to cruise the Caribbean, beginning with a pirate festival in Florida. There she meets a mysterious man in a pirate costume; he always seems to know where she is. This mysteriously handsome man has a deep, dark secret, one Bronwyn could never dream of. Vincent is an old pirate, who is also a vampire. For reasons he does not understand, Vincent finds himself compelled to be around Bronwyn. The two lovers enjoy each other's company until Vincent's maker, Zenia, discovers their love affair and tries to come between them. Will Zenia destroy their love, or will their love hold true and triumph over evil?

A Shade of Darkness is chock full of potential but falls short. The story is full of pirate-, vampire-, and romance-novel clichés. Many things throughout the novel felt as if they had been done before. One thing that is done well in this story is the element of vampire lore that vampires can transform into other creatures—wolves in this case. It adds a new dimension to the typical vampire love story. Klassen also does a good job incorporating pirate lore into the story with things like Tortuga. It shows Klassen did the homework before writing this tale. The dialogue wasn't extremely difficult, but there was one part that became too repetitive, and that was the use of "what say you." Those three words actually began to take away from the story. J.A. Klassen weaves a tale of romance and betrayal that, with some fine tuning and reworking, could become a classic story.

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