The Dark Masquerade (Dark Claiming Companion Story) – S.A. McClure

The Dark Masquerade (Dark Claiming Companion Story) – S.A. McClure

Synopsis

Thirty women. Three competitions. One prince. It’s everything a fae girl could dream of. Everyone, that is except, except for Adalina.

For Ada, being Chosen would mean giving up her right to rule the Court of Flames on her own. But, when the invitation letter arrives and her parents give her a choice between participating in the Claiming Ceremony or losing her place as the rightful heir, she must figure out a way to be eliminated from the competition without her parents noticing.

Escaping the competition with her title intact will be a trial in and of itself, but avoiding falling in love may prove to the greatest challenge of all.

Dark Masquerade is part of Once Upon a Fairy Tale Night: A Collection of Fairy Tale Retellings.

Review

Ada is a fae heir to the Court of Flames. She’s completely happy with her life and everything seem perfect until she receives an invitation to this year’s Claiming Ceremony.

The Claiming Ceremony was an annual event among the six fae courts. Each year, a prince would become the next Claimer and be given twelve potential suitors. From these, they would select their eternal mate. Ada found the tradition to be antiquated and downright diminishing of her status as the heir to the Court of Flames. And, so far, she had been able to avoid being selected as a suitor. Until now.

Ada not only has no interest on finding a partner in such an old-fashioned a ceremony, but being selected would mean leaving her home forever. Pressured by her parents she is forced to participate, determined to withdraw in the second round. If by some miracle she’s not eliminated first.

However, this year’s ceremony takes place at the Court of Stones and Darian’s home. Darian was her childhood friend, being only a couple of years older than Ada, they shared countless adventures… Until the accident.

Twelve years ago, Ada, unable to control her powers, started a fire that directly affected Darian. She was not allowed to see or contact him after that.

Since she is forced to travel to the Court of Stones, she decides to take this opportunity to apologize for the damage she did. And find out if he really didn’t want to hear from her again.

Ada shares room with other three faes and meets Dara, a non-royal that has been invited to participate in the Ceremony and wasn’t dying for being there either. She has been force to participate for economic problems as, while you keep in the competition, suitors received money as compensation for her time.

But all her plans get destroyed with the change of rules. Being the hundredth Ceremony there wouldn’t be just one prince Claimer, but six. One of them was Darian… Other was High Prince Easton, who would pick the queen of the six courts. Also, for keeping the participants identities hidden, everyone would use a mask. Finding Darian would be almost impossible, as she couldn’t even remember the colour of his eyes. Now she needed to focus on not catching the attention of the princes.

New failure, the first activity from the Ceremony was a Ball. One of the princes, with a dragon mask, asked her to dance and got her melted in his arms. She had hope he was Darian, but whether or not he was, Ada was clearly in trouble

She could make it thought the night without falling in love, couldn’t she?

Now, unable to get the dragon masked man from her head, and having found a note from Darian saying they needed to talk, the decision of withdrawing from the ceremony wasn’t so simple anymore, especially as withdrawing implies you could never search for an eternal mate again, but she was not willing to abandon her home, not even for Darian.

This book is part of a collection of fairytales retelling, and really feels like one.

This is exactly the kind of romance I like. I got really impressed on how I fell in love with Ada and Darian’s couple in so little time. My only problem with the book was it’s too short (I know is short complementary story for the principal saga, but I liked so much the leads so it felt even shorter). Also, I know that in the “official” saga the protagonist is Dara and, even thought it’s clear Ada and Darian will appear, I loved that much this couple that I’m sad they don’t have a whole own saga. Anyway I’m completely into the plot and want to know what happens next, so I will look forward the first book from The Dark Claiming (Still no date for it 😢).

PD: I’m totally in love with Dark Masquerade’s cover 🤩.

Bye bye 💕

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