Daughters of Shadow and Blood By J. Matthew Saunders

Daughters of Shadow and Blood - Book I: Yasamin

By: J. Matthew Saunders
Pages: 335
Publisher: Saint George's Press
Published on: May 3rd 2015
Daughters of Shadow and Blood By J. Matthew Saunders

Buda, Ottoman Hungary, 1599: Yasamin, the naïve daughter of an Ottoman bureaucrat, finds herself trapped in an arranged marriage to the son of the powerful governor of Buda. She is unprepared for the gossip and scheming rampant in the palace but realizes she faces more than petty jealousies when someone tries to drown her in the baths on the day before her wedding. An unearthly menace lurks in the palace corridors, and the one person able to protect Yasamin is a soldier named Iskander, who seems to appear whenever she needs him. Charming and confident, he is nothing like her new husband, but trusting either of them could be a deadly mistake.

Berlin, Germany, 1999: Adam Mire, an American professor of history, discovers a worn, marked-up copy of Dracula. The clues within its pages send him on a journey across the stark landscape of Eastern Europe, searching for a medallion that once belonged to Dracula himself. But a killer hounds Adam’s footsteps, and each new clue he uncovers brings him closer to a beguiling, raven-haired woman named Yasamin Ashrafi, who might be the first of Dracula’s legendary Brides.

Adam has an agenda of his own, however, a quest more personal than anyone knows. One misstep, and his haunted past could lead to death from a blade in his back … or from Yasamin’s fatal embrace.

I received this book for free from Author Gifted in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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Andi's Review


Daughters of Shadow and Blood – Book 1 Yasamin is a historical and supernatural fiction that initially about Dr. Mire interviewing a woman in a dark room.  After awhile this story starts to jump back and forth through time to show the story about how Dr. Mire got to where he was, in front of a woman that has a rich, and deadly history.



If you can keep up with the time jumps you will find this is a good book about the history of Vlad the Impaler as well as how conflicts arise and fall during the Ottoman Empire and in Hungry.  Yasamin is not what she appears to be, and while Dr. Mire knows exactly what she is and what he needs from her, but Dr. Mire isn’t completely sure who he should trust or if he should trust anyone, anywhere in the world.  By gaining connections, Dr. Mire has realized that there are powers out there that he did not know existed until he came face to face with their soldiers.  Having lost acquaintances and friends to get to his destination of Yasamin, Dr. Mire realizes that her story may very well be the last thing he listens to, for a variety of reasons.



This book is good, I liked the fact that while there are many books that explore vampires, this book goes further back and more in-depth than I have read before in a fiction accounting of vampires and how they come to be.  It was a really interesting take on vampires and the history behind them.  You can tell the author took a lot of time to look into the history of the Ottoman empire and how the culture and society was then and how it differs from now.



The writing was strong and the overall plot of the book was good.  The characters were relatively in-depth, however it is hard to relate to a character that was born when the Ottoman empire was still being formed.  Also you have to take some of this story at first glance because there is no precedence for some of the factions the author writes about.  Secret armies of the Vatican, I totally believe that could be true, but you have to take what the author said as the truth, at least the truth for this book.



Okay so I just cheated to figure out what was going on with this being book 1 and having Yasamin’s name on it.  Apparently in Dracula, Jonathan Harker comes across three of Dracula’s brides, two middle easternesque women, and one blonde with blue eyes.  Those three women are the women that this author is writing about, so you can see their origin stories, which makes so much more sense and actually causes me to like it a little more.  So do you get the title now?  Those three are the daughters of shadow and blood.  Dracula being shadowy and bloody.  It makes more sense now.



At times it was somewhat difficult to maintain what time period you were in and who the main characters were since it does jump between time periods.  Initially it was a little distracting but as the book moved on I became more accustomed to the method the author uses to tell the story.  I am assuming the future books will be told from different points of view, especially with the way that this one ended.  I look forward to seeing how the author transitions the story to other points of view or other main characters.



4 fangs




About J. Matthew Saunders

J. Matthew Saunders, a native of Greenville, South Carolina, is the author of numerous published fantasy and horror short stories. He received a B.A. in history from Vanderbilt University and a master's degree from the School of Journalism at the University of South Carolina. He received his law degree in California and practiced there as an attorney for several years.

He is an unapologetic European history geek, enjoys the Celtic fiddle, and makes a mean sundried tomato-basil pesto. He currently lives near Charlotte, North Carolina with his wife and two children.

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