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.