Black Dawn (Night World #8) by L.J. Smith

When Maggie Neely's brother goes missing and is presumed dead, Maggie instinctively knows that something is not quite right with his girlfriend's account of what happened. Determined to figure out what happened to her brother, Maggie follows the girlfriend and soon finds herself taken captive and being transported to the Dark Kingdom as a human slave. She meets Jeanne, P.J. and Cady, who are also captured slaves and together they manage to escape their shape-shifter captives.

Cady is deathly ill and while hiding from the shape-shifters, Maggie encounters Delos, prince of the Dark Kingdom, vicious vampire, and a Wild Power. Maggie quickly realizes that they are soulmates, but Delos refuses to accept that fate. He leads the hunting party away from Maggie and Cady, but threatens her with death if she ever comes to the castle. Meanwhile, Cady is getting worse and it becomes clear that she will not survive unless they can get her to a healing woman. Maggie and the girls get Cady to the castle and healing woman and soon discover that Cady is a witch, an important witch named Aradia, who was sent to the Dark Kingdom as an ambassador to plead with Delos to help the witches in their battle against the vampires.
When Hunter Redfern shows up, it becomes clear that something is amiss and Maggie discovers his plan to kill all of the human slaves and take over the Dark Kingdom.

Maggie, who the slaves believe is the prophesized Deliver, becomes determined to get Delos to prevent the planned hunt and sneaks into the castle to confront him. When Delos finally gives in to the "soulmate principal" he wants to make Maggie a vampire. When she will not cooperate, he throws her in the dungeon until she will. Maggie must convince him to help and if she fails, more than just the fate of the Dark Kingdom is at stake.

I liked the setting of this story a lot. The Dark Kingdom is described like a medieval world and it was almost like Maggie had stepped back in time. I also liked Delos and his initial resistance to the "soulmate principal." I think that Black Dawn was a much more exciting read than many of the other books in the series. It was not filled with a bunch of superfluous side stories and the story flowed relatively well. I was also excited to see some more developments in the upcoming battle for the "End of the World" that all of these books have been eluding to. I tried not to give to much away in my synopsis, but I feel like we are finally making some progress toward this prophesied battle!

On to book 9 - Witchlight.

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