Shadow Heir by Richelle Mead
or: Richelle, step away from the ‘epic quests’! I mean it!!
Synopsis: 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 and 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 her 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…
Someone needs to have a word with dear Richelle about throwing in ‘Epic Quests’ willy nilly into her stories. I though after the -dare I say it- dismal ‘quest’ to find the Iron Crown in Book 3 of this series, that we may well be saved… apparently not. At least this quest was vastly more interesting and not drawn out than the last.
I’ve had rather mixed views regarding this series. I was uhming and ahing about the first book, I liked the second book much better, and I was in pain during the third book. After the third book, I was going to give up on the series honestly, but a sheer determination to just finish the series overcame me, and I decided to just bite the bullet and rip it off like a band-aid.
To my pleasant surprise, this wasn’t that bad. I was worried for no reason. This book wasn’t fantastic or a ‘redeemer’. This book was a solid ok. There were parts I liked, and there were parts that I didn’t like. On the whole this book was a solid, ‘meh’ season finale.
First, lets talk about the pregnancy. Richelle- a mother of two- spent the right amount of time describing the pregnancy without going on and on. It felt genuine and she clearly used some real world inspiration. It wasn’t that glowy bull poo that authors usually try to shove down our throats, and that’s one of the reasons I like Mead’s work so much; it’s all genuine, gritty and real.
Mead creates a strong tie between the readers and the twins, and while the twins are only physically present for all of 5 pages through the whole book, Mead gets the readers hook line and sinker. I really wanted these kids to be safe, and I worried about them for most of the book which – I’ll take a wild stab- is exactly what Mead wanted us to do.
The twins almost distracted me from the clusterfudge that was the ‘cold war’. Richelle. NO. Just no. Obviously, in an attempt to make a worthy and gritty drama to go along with the last book, Richelle whipped out the whole cold-war-vigilante’s-at-work-but-shock-horror-its-X-the-whole-time cliche. Didn’t work. Saw it coming the whole time. Which is frustrating, because Richelle is usually really good at creating drama and dropping big plot twists on her audience. It almost feels like she didn’t try.
Perhaps she wanted to wrap this up as much as I wanted her too.
I’d predicted the final plot twist (honestly in the last 20 pages- Richelle likes to do that) about a book ago when we first learned that Eugenie was preggers. Obvious. Overcooked and used. Typical romance trope coming out and giving us the bird. Honestly, I’d be surprised if you didn’t work it out.
There were other good bits- a nice bit of sexual tension between Eugenie and Dorian, some nice time dedicated between the sisters. The wedding was lovely. Some nice snappy dialogue. These good bits tended to balance the bad.
So, now that I’ve finished this series, I’m happy to report that you probably shouldn’t read it. I mean, you can, if you want to… but Mead has much better books to spend your time and dollars on. As you can tell from the sheer amount of salty-ness in this review, this series definitely doesn’t make it on my favored books/list. But, as I’ve said, I’m just happy I got through it.
Does this make me a true Richelle Mead fan now that I’ve read this series? I could get a shirt- ‘I survived reading the Dark Swan Series’
Read: International Cover-change Paperback.