Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Review: Crossroads

Crossroads - J.J. Bonds
Genre - Young Adult Paranormal
Released - November 9, 2011

As if high school isn’t miserable enough, try being uprooted and dropped fangs first into an uptight prep school where everyone knows your name and they’ll stop at nothing to uncover the secrets of your past.

When Katia enrolled at Crossroads Academy she knew things weren’t exactly going to be easy. The sole heir to the worlds’ most powerful vampire, her presence was bound to cause a stir. But nothing could have prepared her for this. Whispers follow everywhere she goes. So does trouble.

But Katia will do her time at Crossroads. After all, she’s only enrolled at the prestigious school for pure blood vampires to fulfill a promise to her Great Uncle Aldo. Tucked away in the Green Mountains of Vermont, Katia hopes to shed the demons of her past and focus on her education. Raised blissfully unaware of the entire vamp world, she’s got a lot of catching up to do.

As Katia learns more about this dark society and her own legacy, protecting her past becomes increasingly difficult. Bodies start turning up in nearby Rutland and Katia is sucked into a twisted web of danger and deceit. Haunted by nightmares she can’t explain and a thirst for blood that is never sated, Katia will do whatever it takes to keep her past buried. What choice does she have? Exposure will shake the Elder’s Council to its core and likely result in a death sentence at the hands of the Linkuri.

Nothing at Crossroads is what it seems and Katia’s secrets may be the darkest of them all.

I purchased this book on a whim based on the positive reviews of it. I didn’t have high expectations of it because we see these kinds of novels popping up a lot. Well, let me tell you that I was pleasantly surprised by Crossroads. Actually, I was more than pleasantly surprised. I was absolutely blown away! The premise of this book doesn't sound fresh: Girl has a tragic past, she goes away to an academy, she has private training lessons with a hot guy and she’s a vampire.

Really, though, this novel is a hundred per cent original. The main character, Katia, is antisocial and we find out that this is because she has experienced something in her past which has made her this way. We are left to wonder what it is, as Katia is very good at keeping her secret from everyone, including the reader. Believe me, I formulated numerous theories as to what her secret was. I didn’t even come close to guessing it. That’s how original Crossroads is.

I liked the hint of romance in the novel between Katia and Nik, but was glad that it took a long time for it to build up. I also loved how Katia is independent and not thinking about boys all the time. She is reserved and doesn’t have many friends and I’m glad we got to see a main character who is a social outcast by choice. By all means, she is not weak from it. She is so strong.

This didn’t seem like a self-published or debut novel. It was pretty much error-free and the writing flowed well. The execution was done like a pro and the only thing disappointing about the novel is that the sequel isn’t done yet. I want to read more from the Crossroads world and more from J.J. Bonds.

I paid 99 cents for this book. I would have happily paid a lot more money for it. Add this one to your TBR list, guys! You are going to love it!

Recommended: If you enjoyed the Vampire Academy series or the House of Night series.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Who is your fictional boyfriend/girlfriend?

Don't deny it. We all have a fictional boyfriend or girlfriend that we want to get with. One who we daydream about and swoon (and sometimes drool) over. Now is the time to mark your territory and make your intentions clear. Spill, everyone, I'll go first!

(In no particular order)

1. Frederick Wentworth - Persuasion by Jane Austen
Oh, you want me back? Even though I led you on, broke your heart and condemned myself to a life as a spinster? Are you sure you want me back? Even if you hadn't written me that letter, I still would have taken you back! Now, kiss me in a gentleman-like manner and restore my good name.

2. Heathcliff - Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Orphan. Check. Obsessive. Check. Vengeful. Check. Ladies, we now have a lover who would go to any lengths to have us and, for as long as he lives, will never get over us. I think he deserves a little credit for that. Even if he is a little cuckoo.

3. Vronsky - Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Passionate and handsome, Vronksy is one usually overlooked. Maybe because he represents infidelity and the breakdown of a marriage. I say, these things happen and are not that unusual in our society, although I, and many others, would never do anything like that. Yet, he's on my list. Why? The passion he feels for Anna is undeniable and if she can be swayed by him, so can I (only fictitiousy, of course)

4. Mr Darcy - Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Two Austen men made it onto my list. She has a knack for writing great men, doesn't she? Let's see. He saved the reputation of my family and there is clearly something building between us. The banter back and forth, the hot and cold relationship, and we have a winner! Where are the Mr Darcy's of the 21st century?

5. Dimitri Belikov - Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
My hot, older mentor who I can't have an open relationship with? Sounds like the perfect set-up for a forbidden one. He's mature, has a career, can protect me, listens and, did I mention, he's hot? Dimitri, can we please have private lessons together? I promise to wipe the drool off my face.

6. Daemon Black - Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout
He is the newest addition to my list. He is also arrogant and um...*loses all train of thought thinking about him* Who's Daemon, you ask? Only my ridiculously gorgeous next-door-neighbour who insists on walking around without a shirt on. *shrugs* Heck, I'm not complaining. Now, this is a home with a view.

Honourable Mentions:
  • Adrian Ivashkov - Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
  • Roman - Succubus series by Richelle Mead
  • Dorian - Dark Swan series by Richelle Mead (Like Austen, Richelle Mead has a knack for writing irresistible men.)
I'm sure I've forgotten plenty of others but this is where you guys come in. Share your fictional boyfriends/girlfriends in the comments! (Let's keep this to novels only.)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Review: White Cat

White Cat - Holly Black
Genre - Young Adult Urban Fantasy

Cassel comes from a family of curse workers -- people who have the power to change your emotions, your memories, your luck, by the slightest touch of their hands. And since curse work is illegal, they're all mobsters, or con artists. Except for Cassel. He hasn't got the magic touch, so he's an outsider, the straight kid in a crooked family. You just have to ignore one small detail -- he killed his best friend, Lila, three years ago.

Ever since, Cassel has carefully built up a facade of normalcy, blending into the crowd. But his facade starts crumbling when he starts sleepwalking, propelled into the night by terrifying dreams about a white cat that wants to tell him something. He's noticing other disturbing things, too, including the strange behavior of his two brothers. They are keeping secrets from him, caught up in a mysterious plot. As Cassel begins to suspect he's part of a huge con game, he also wonders what really happened to Lila. Could she still be alive? To find that out, Cassel will have to out-con the conmen.

There is such a big hype about White Cat that I knew I had to read it to see what all the fuss was about. It tells the story of Cassel who is the black sheep in a family of curse workers. I liked Cassel - at least I think I did. Sometimes I wasn't too sure because Cassel doesn't seem to know who he is. He is complicated, messed-up and there is a lot going on in his life that he is not fully aware of.

The concept of curse workers is so interesting and I love the direction that the story went in. It was so unique and really caught you off guard. You had Cassel's sketchy brothers and you never knew what was going on with them because they were so good at conning. The plot revolving around Lila and the white cat was so amazing! And don't even get me started on the ending. Just when you thought things might look up for Cassel that happens.

Am I glad that I did read it? Of course! White Cat is a book like no other. It's unique, original and creates a world so fantastical that I didn't want to leave. You travel through the book not really sure about what's really going on, but that's not a bad thing. It just lets the revelations at the end hit you all that harder.

All I can say is, I don't want to spoil this book for anyone, so go out and read it! ASAP!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Review: Mortal Obligation

Mortal Obligation - Nichole Chase
Genre - Young Adult Urban Fantasy
Released - July, 2011

Ree will face the darkest form of betrayal before the year is out.

Seventeen year old Ree McKenna has three goals: get through high school, convince her crush she is more than his best friend's little sister, and save money for college. Fate, though, has other plans for her. After the untimely death of her older brother, Ree is haunted by dreadful nightmares and terrifying visions. To make matters worse, Ree has started to suspect that something dangerous is stalking her from the shadows.

A night full of frightening surprises leaves Ree with unsettling news. Gifted by the Gods with unusual powers, she must devote herself to a battle that could very well lead to not only her death, but the demise of everyone she knows and loves. After all, Ree is the only mortal standing between the Earth and utter darkness.

You know one of those books that you read and then go to bed thinking about it? Well, that's what Mortal Obligation was like for me. I read the first few chapters and put it away and could not stop thinking about it. The reason for this was because Nichole Chase weaved such an exciting plot and wonderful characters together to make one hell of a story.

What I love the most about Mortal Obligation is that it's something completely different. Nichole created her own mythology and brought a brand new twist to, well, everything. You spend a lot of time getting to know the characters and watching them grow. The story is paced well and had a cinematic quality to it because you could easily  visualise every thing that was described.

The main character, Ree, and her friends don't become warriors in a day. They train their butts off. Everything seemed realistic, and don't get me started on the training and fight scenes. Honestly, every bit of description was written extremely well and had this great rhythm to it. I actually had to double check that Nichole was a self-published author because Mortal Obligation was that good. For her debut novel, she did a great job!

The twist at the end caught me completely off guard and I didn't even see it coming. Let's just say, the cemetery on the front cover is a very important part of the story. I really look forward to reading more from Nichole Chase. Pick this one up, guys. You won't be disappointed.

Recommended: If you are looking for something different in the YA genre.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Author Interview with Nichole Chase

I would like to welcome the lovely Nichole Chase to my blog today. She is the author of Mortal Obligation and Mortal Defiance which are the first two books in the Dark Betrayal trilogy. The final book in the trilogy, Immortal Grave comes out in March.

First, could you tell us a bit about the Dark Betrayal trilogy?
The Dark Betrayal Trilogy is set in Savannah, Georgia, and revolves around Ree McKenna and her friends. In the first book, we start out with Ree, a pretty normal girl. Unfortunately, she suspects that someone or something is following her. After a night of pretty scary revelations, Ree and her friends find out that they are in the middle of a battle that could mean the end of the world. In fact, they are the only thing standing between the Earth and complete destruction.

What inspired you to write the books?
Actually, I was driving through the historic district of Savannah with the radio playing. An Evanescence song came on, and my imagination just took over. I think that a lot of my ideas started out this way. Something triggers my over active imagination and a scene or image will pop into my mind. Then I feel this need to understand it better. That’s it. That’s how it all starts. I’d say it’s simple, but it isn’t. It can take months to understand the why, how, and what of a story.

Your books are set in Savannah, Georgia. What is one thing you love about this location?
I adore the historic district. The old oak trees, dripping Spanish moss, the lush green squares, and the building themselves add up to a magical place. That’s not really one thing, but I can’t imagine one without the other. The go together like Macaroni and Cheese.

What was your publication journey like?
I received a Nook for Christmas in 2010. I downloaded an Amanda Hocking book and read it in one sitting. I started looking into other Indies and I decided that this was a good fit for me and my writing. I’ve never queried or submitted. (Well, I did submit a flash fiction piece for the Pink Snowbunnies in Hell anthology, but it was for charity and I was incredibly honored to be accepted and listed as one of the top contributors.) I had always hated the idea of the traditional route. The waiting, the anxiety attacks when you check the mail, didn’t add up to a welcoming industry. I also hated the thought that my book was dependent on someone else’s good/bad day. So, I decided to do it myself. I worked really hard on Mortal Obligation, had critique partners, beta readers, and hired an editor. I treated it like it was my job, because I felt that the readers would appreciate the hard work. After all, they deserved to have the very best that I could put out. So, once it was all finished, I uploaded to respective sites and held my breath. Okay. I didn’t hold it for long, because I started to turn blue, but you get my point.

I love both the covers for Mortal Obligation and Mortal Defiance. Could you walk us through the process of how the covers are made?
Thank you! That’s such a nice thing to hear. Covers are an important part of being an Indie author. We all know that we aren’t supposed to judge a book by it’s cover. But we do it anyways. ( I’m guilty of it too!)
First, I searched through covers online and in book stores to see what was popular and what caught my attention. Once I had an idea of something that might be an attainable layout, I scoured stock image sites for the right photos. I needed a model that fit Ree’s description and had three useable photos. I then begged and bribed my mother in law into putting it all together for me. She does an amazing job with Photoshop (it doesn’t hurt that she is an artist and perfectionist, so I knew I was in good hands). We sat in her living room for two days straight trying things, changing things, and tweaking things until we were both happy with the final product.

Do you have any routines you follow during your writing process?
I have a toddler, so my routine consists of: Quick, she’s asleep! Focus! Back up every sentence in case she gets something sticky on my keyboard and fries the hard drive!

What are some of your favourite books?
This is such a hard question to answer. I will give it a try, but there are so many excellent books out there to read!
Classic: Pride and Prejudice by the great Jane Austin
The Dragonriders of Pern by (the sorely missed) Anne McCaffrey
The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare
Strange Angels by Lili St. Crow
A Hidden Fire by Elizabeth Hunter (an indie, and one of my favorite books of 2011!)

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?
I love to paint. In fact I used to do paint murals in businesses and homes. I love to read and often have a book on hand. I love to craft and make homemade things. And, this is cheesy but, I love to play with my daughter. She is just so much fun!

Can you give us a little teaser from the final book in the trilogy?

“We’re fugitives now.” Paden’s wicked smile made her heart skip a beat. He moved toward Ree until she was backed against the brick wall. Placing a hand on either side of Ree’s shoulders, Paden barricaded her between his arms. “For being a good girl, you get into an awful lot of trouble.”
            Ree snorted. “Who said I’m a good girl?”
            Paden raised an eyebrow and smiled down at her. She could feel his humor bubbling under the surface.
            “Okay. Maybe I was a good girl. But I’m turning a new leaf. Rebellion here I come!”
            “Bar fights, murder, and arson. You don’t do anything small, huh?” Paden moved closer to her so that she could feel the heat radiating from his body.
            “Go big or go home.” As if to prove her point, Ree reached up and pulled Paden’s head down.

(Please keep in mind that this might change slightly. It has not been through my editor yet.)

What can we expect from you after the Dark Betrayal trilogy concludes?
Well, the last book of the DBT comes out in March of this year. After that, I should be ready to release a book in July titled Flukes. I can’t share much information about it, but I can tell you that it is set in the Bahamas and will be a paranormal YA novel. It has nothing to do with the DBT or its characters. I also have another novel planned for a November release. If you would like to find out more about my current and upcoming projects, check out my website or some of the social network sites.

Thank you for joining me today, Nichole!
Thank you so much Komal, for having me on your blog. I had fun answering your questions. 

On Tuesday I will post my review of Nichole Chase's debut novel, Mortal Obligation.

You can find out more about Nichole on the following sites:

Twitter: @NicholeChase

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Winners of Half-Blood Giveaway!

The giveaway has officially closed and I'm pleased to announce the winners. Yes, I said winners.

You have all won an e-copy of Half-Blood by Jennifer Armentrout!

I'll send you each an email to confirm your details and you'll be reading your very own copy of Half-Blood on your Kindle shortly!

Congratulations and thanks for entering!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Review: Obsidian

Obsidian - Jennifer Armentrout
Genre - Young Adult Paranormal
Released - December 6, 2011

Starting over sucks.

When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I'd pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring...until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.

And then he opened his mouth.

Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something unexpected happens.

The hot alien living next door marks me.

You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon's touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I'm getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades.

If I don't kill him first, that is.

Oh. My. Daemon. Move over Dimitri Belikov, I have a new fictional boyfriend! *giggles like a school girl* Right...I'm supposed to be doing a review here.

Obsidian is a brilliant book. I absolutely loved it. I have never read a book about aliens before so this was something different for me. It was very refreshing to get away from the usual vampire, faerie, angel trend and lose myself in something new. Jennifer has re-booted the alien genre for me. Big time.

If I'm going to be completely honest then I have to admit that not a lot happens in this book. A lot of banter takes place between Katy and Daemon as she discovers his secret. But you know what? I really didn't care. I loved the arguments between the two of them because you know what it was leading up to.

The other issue for me was Katy. She hates Daemon, she doesn't hate Daemon. She couldn't make up her mind about what she really wanted. I don't blame her though. Daemon is pretty hot. The supporting characters were great too. I was curious about Dawson so I'm glad there's going to be a prequel explaining exactly what happened with him.

I really think if you love YA Paranormal and are looking for something refreshing then you should pick up Obsidian. You will not be disappointed. Jennifer Armentrout is definitely one of my favourite Young Adult authors at the moment.

Recommended: If you're looking for aliens with a twist, a hot romance and something different.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Why are you REALLY a writer?

Why do writers write?

Is it because there is an intangible world out there that we have to tell everyone else about? Is it because we know these really cool people in our head that we want other people to meet? Or is it so we can spend time on social networking sites complaining about anyone who doesn't like our vision?

Let's face it. Revisions and countless rejection letters should have toughened us up by now. We should have skin as thick as a rhino's.

So, why are there authors out there - and I mean authors with fabulous agents and amazing book deals - who continue to attack reviewers that leave negative reviews? A bad review isn't going to stop readers from buying your books. You know what is? An author with a bad attitude who acts like a troll. Yeah, I said it. Troll.

Look at Stephenie Meyer. Do you think she was never upset about a bad review? Be honest, how many negative reviews have you read of Twilight? I bet Harry Potter has its share of bad reviews too. Authors get them every day but not every author uses their platform to bash reviewers.

Of course it's going to hurt. Of course we're going to have a soul-wrenching feeling as someone tears our book apart. We have spent countless days, months and years on this. We have cried, become caffeine-addicted hermits and lost sleep over it. A reviewer can't simply come along and say whatever they like.

Well, yeah, they kind of can.

Reviews are objective but when an author, or anyone associated with them, gets involved and starts criticising a reviewer then things get personal. Very personal. People get hurt and authors look like they're the bad guys.

The point I'm trying to make is not everyone is going to love you. Not everyone is going to love your book but someone will love your book.

If the negative is getting you down, draw from the positive. Remind yourself why you are doing this. I bet the first, second or even third reason won't be because you're trying to impress someone else. Get your loved ones to remind you how awesome your book is.

Most importantly, remind yourself how awesome your book is.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

My Goals for 2012!

Okay, so I realise I was a bit slow to put up this post and, honestly, I wasn't going to. Then I got thinking (there's trouble right there) and it occurred to me that I should put up a post about what I would like to achieve or work towards achieving in 2012.

2012 is the year that I want to make things happen. I want to be very focused this year. I want to learn to be a better person. I want to enjoy myself more. I want to travel somewhere I haven't been before. I want to reconnect with old friends.

  • Have a polished manuscript of Runaway Mortal (May/June)
  • Begin first draft of Broken Angel RM#2 (Feb/March)
  • Send out queries for Runaway Mortal (June/July)
  • Outline Cursed Demon RM#3 (August)
  • Finish first draft of Last Summer (Sep/Oct)
  • Begin first draft of Siren Song (Nov/Dec)
Reading, Authors & Blogging
  • Read 100 books this year
  • Support more self-published authors
  • Re-design blog - new title, banner
  • Post book reviews twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays. On Sunday do a writing related post.
  • Host more giveaways
Life in General
  • Travel to a place I haven't been before
  • Do something regularly that I haven't done before - yoga, martial arts, indoor rock climbing
  • Catch up with old friends
  • Do the Harbour Bridge climb

Those are my goals for the year. What about you guys?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Review: Half-Blood & My First Giveaway for 2012!

Half-Blood - Jennifer Armentrout
Genre - Young Adult
Released - October 18, 2011

The Hematoi descend from the unions of gods and mortals, and the children of two Hematoi--pure bloods--have godlike powers. Children of Hematoi and mortals--well, not so much.

Half-bloods only have two options: become trained sentinels who hunt and kill daimons or become servants in the homes of the pures.

Seventeen-year-old Alexandria would rather risk her life fighting than waste it scrubbing toilets, but she may end up slumming it anyway. There are several rules that students at the Covenant must follow. Alex has problems with them all, but especially rule #1:

Relationships between pures and halfs are forbidden.

Unfortunately, she's crushing hard on the totally hot pure-blood Aiden. But falling for Aiden isn't her biggest problem--staying alive long enough to graduate the Covenant and become a Sentinel is. If she fails in her duty, she faces a future worse than death or slavery: being turned into a daimon, and being hunted by Aiden.

And that would kind of suck.

Let’s address the elephant in the room and get it out of the way. Yes, Half-Blood bears a striking resemblance to Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead. Did I love the book regardless of the similarities? Absolutely!

Alex is a character very much like Rose Hathaway from VA. She runs away from school due to an unexplained threat. She is a Half-Blood and is looked down in a society run by Pure Bloods. There are dark beings called daimons that are similar to Strigoi. She has a forbidden romance with her older mentor, Aiden. There is a potential love triangle with the introduction of Seth.

Now, let me tell you what I loved about this book. About mid-way the resemblance to Vampire Academy disappears. We are dealing with a completely different world and a different mythology. I loved the introduction of the Apollyon and Solaris story. After that, I kind of guessed what Alex’s secret was so I wasn’t too surprised by it. However, I am eager to know what is going to happen to Alex on her eighteenth birthday and what this all means for her.

The twist about Alex’s mother was brilliant! I did not see that coming and I loved the end scene. I liked the back story about Aiden and the chemistry between Alex and Aiden was amazing! Seth was such an interesting character and I can't wait to learn more about him as well as find out what Lucian has in store for Seth and Alex.

All in all, this was a great book and I flew right through it and wanted to read more. Jennifer Armentrout’s writing style was easy to read and flowed well. The action scenes were done nicely and the emotional scenes were touching. I am curious to know what comes next and will definitely be picking up the sequel!

Recommended: If you enjoyed the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead and love Greek mythology.

I had the opportunity to interview the lovely Jennifer Armentrout last May and I was so excited for the release of her books. You can check out the interview here

So, I want to give one lucky person the chance to read Half-Blood! I will be sending it through Amazon so you need to have a a Kindle or something that allows you to read Kindle books on.

To enter you must:
- Be a follower of this blog
- Leave a comment with your name and email

The giveaway is open internationally and closes on January 18. I will randomly select a winner out of my ice cream bucket.

Good luck everyone!


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

What I Learned From My First Draft

As I began writing my first draft for Runaway Mortal, I was very unhappy.

Why? Because starting a new WIP meant that I had to put away my other WIP, an Adult Urban Fantasy titled Siren Song.

So, why didn’t I just keep writing what made me happy? Because I am a moron.

My goal was to complete a Young Adult manuscript by the end of 2011 and Siren Song was not Young Adult. Reluctantly, I began a new WIP, Runaway Mortal, and I wrote at a snail-like pace. I constantly complained to my fiancé about how Runaway Mortal was nowhere near as good as Siren Song and that I would never be able to come up with an idea that I liked as much.

Meanwhile, the word count of Runaway Mortal grew but it lacked that “special something” that Siren Song had. I blamed this on the story. I blamed it on the characters. I blamed it on the idea.

Honestly, I should have been blaming myself.

If I had, I would have realised earlier on that the problem was me. I was sabotaging myself. I wasn’t in love with my story. I wasn’t in love with my characters, and because of this my story was bland. I may as well not have written it, that’s how horrible it had become.

I made a split second decision to can Runaway Mortal and work on Siren Song, but something stopped me. It suddenly dawned on me that I was putting myself down. I didn’t believe that I could come up with a story concept as good as Siren Song. What was I trying to tell myself? Why did I want to be a writer if I couldn’t learn to start new projects with enthusiasm?

So, I stayed with Runaway Mortal and I really worked hard on it. I wrote more in 2 months than I had written in 7. That reality amazed me. I really had been sabotaging myself. I pushed through and finished my first draft and you know what happened after that? I could NOT stop thinking about Runaway Mortal. I started writing scenes for it, began a new first chapter and did world building. I couldn’t stay away.

I guess what I am trying to say is be happy with what you are writing. Lose yourself in your world and your characters. Don’t write something that frustrates you, write what you love.

And love it. Really, really love it.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Review: Shadow Heir

Shadow Heir - Richelle Mead
Genre - Adult Urban Fantasy
Released - 27 December, 2011

Shaman-for-hire Eugenie Markham strives to keep the mortal realm safe from trespassing entities. But as the Thorn Land's prophecy-haunted queen, there's no refuge for her or her soon-to-be-born-children when a mysterious blight begins to devastate the Otherworld...

The spell-driven source of the blight isn't the only challenge to Eugenie's instincts. Fairy King Dorian is sacrificing everything to help, but Eugenie can't trust the synergy drawing them back together. The uneasy truce between her and shape shifter ex-lover Kiyo is endangered by secrets he can't--or won't--reveal. And as a formidable force rises to also threaten the human world, Eugenie must use her own cursed fate as a weapon--and risk the ultimate sacrifice...

I am a huge Richelle Mead fan and the Dark Swan series is my favourite Adult series by far. The previous book, Iron Crowned, left me feeling angry at Eugenie but desperate to know what was going to happen in the final installment. I am still reeling from Shadow Heir so there are major spoilers ahead.

The first half of the book was sluggish. It mainly involved Eugenie's pregnancy and hiding from her enemies in the Otherworld, Kiyo and Maiwenn. Nothing really happens and Eugenie sort of drifts through the first few chapters not doing much. I feel like the book should have started with the twins being born or very close to being born. I didn't enjoy the new characters she meets while she is hiding out and it didn't do much to further the story.

The real plot kicks in close to halfway with the winter blight that is destroying the Otherworld and its various kingdoms. Eugenie, her allies and frenemy, Kiyo must travel to the Yew Land to break the spell. I think this plot should have been incorporated much earlier on around Chapter 3, not Chapter 11. It was all very interesting. You get to find out what the deal with Volusian is and I loved his whole back story.

What really ruined the book for me was the end. I completely understand why Eugenie did what she did but I truly believe that she had other options. Better ones. Like maybe not lying to Dorian. I'm pretty sure he deserved to know the truth. It's kind of ironic because in the previous book Eugenie gets angry at Dorian for keeping the true nature of the Iron Crown from her. What she keeps from him is a million times worse than that. I hated her for it because Dorian was so genuine about building their trust back up and Eugenie was so dishonest. In the end she ran straight into his arms and acted like nothing was wrong. Ugh.

The book had its high points, like the twist towards the end regarding Pagiel. That caught me completely off guard and I loved it. Unfortunately, it also had a lot of low points for me and I couldn't help but feel that the series needed one more book to tie everything together a lot better. There needed to be a last stand between Eugenie and Maiwenn, or Dorian needed to take action for what happened to Pagiel. Despite that, I feel that if you have read and loved this series then you should definitely pick up Shadow Heir.

Recommended: If you are a fan of Richelle Mead's novels, or if you enjoy Adult Urban Fantasy.