by Laurie K.
Queen of Shadows by Dianne Sylvan is an dark, powerful urban fantasy novel. I read it all in one sitting the week it debuted, and then I chomped at the big until the sequel (Shadowflame) came out. One thing to note: There is a rape scene in this book that is very violent - not gratuitously so, but it's a consideration for some people, so I mention it here.
Miranda Grey is a talented musician who is slowly going insane. She's an empath, which means she can feel what everyone around her is feeling. As time goes on, she's less and less able to shut out the 'noise.' Every time she plays to the crowd, she channels her emotions to the audience, however she's then less able to shut herself away from the constant bombardment of others' feelings. After a brutal rape, she is found by David Solomon, a vampire who takes her in and trains her to use her abilities. David has more on his mind than the lovely and damaged empath he's discovered, unfortunately. A vampire civil war is brewing and Miranda finds herself right in the thick of it.
This book has a great take on vampires. David Solomon is a great character - a vampiric computer programmer who's as sexy as he is smart. I love the mix of technology and the supernatural in this series. Instead of casting spells to get intelligence, David builds a sort of spy network. I love the interaction between him and Miranda; although she's incredibly broken when he finds her, she picks herself back up and takes control of her life again. David helps her, but she does it on her own, which is an important distinction we don't see enough in urban fantasy. Definitely pick this one up.