I'm not a big romance reader, so I wasn't sure what to expect when I downloaded Claiming The Prize. But I was blown away by how skillfully Notariani weaved together all of the different aspects of Grace and Drago's story.
Grace's dedication, loving nature, and kick ass fighting skills made her someone I could instantly connect with. She was the type of woman I'd totally be friends with if she were real, but since she isn't I wanted to find out more by reading more. I just wish Grace had gotten more fighting time in, maybe in a sequel?
Although the events were well described and believable the pacing was mind bendingly fast. Once Drago and Grace got past the initial "I don't date" stage of their relationship it was like watching a space shuttle launch. "10, 9, 8, ... 3, 2, 1" and it's gone! I was expecting a long and tedious everything, but they were off like a shot.
Thankfully, this was the world-wind variety of true love, so the speed fit perfectly and only served to suck the reader in. Anything slower would have been exactly what I had originally expected: tedious.
My favorite part of Claiming the Prize by far was how fast Nadja switched gears, which she accomplished by altering view points from one character to another. Just when I was starting to settle in for a nice, mellow, chaste love story the focus would pan to another character who was having fast and furious sex in the next room while hopped up on X.
And the skill with which the story changed gear was truly artful. The suspense would start building with a little foreshadowing here and there. Then you get what was going on from the current focuses point of view before hopping inside another character's head and finding out what was really happening.
Even if, like me, you aren't a romance fan I would still say check this one out. It's got enough of everything you'll find yourself getting sucked in before you realize it. If not for the romance then for the action or the scandal or the accents, which admittedly don't sound half as sexy when they're in your head but you make do with what you have.