Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Shadowspell by Jenna Black

Jenna Black's site
Series: Faeriewalker #2
Review for book #1 Glimmerglass
Copy obtained: bought
Release date: Jan 4th 2011 (US)
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Rating: 4/5
Spoiler warning: Contains some mild spoilers for book 1

On top of spending most of her time in a bunkerlike safe house and having her dates hijacked by a formidable Fae bodyguard, Faeriewalker Dana Hathaway is in for some more bad news: the Erlking and his pack of murderous minions known as the Wild Hunt have descended on Avalon. With his homicidal appetite and immortal powers, the Erlking has long been the nightmare of the Fae realm. A fragile treaty with the Faerie Queen, sealed with a mysterious spell, is the one thing that keeps him from hunting unchecked in Avalon, the only place on Earth where humans and Fae live together. Which means Dana's in trouble, since it's common knowledge that the Faerie Queen wants her - and her rare Faeriewalker powers - dead. The smoldering, sexy Erlking's got his sights set on Dana, but does he only seek to kill her, or does he have something much darker in mind?

Glimmerglass was one of my favourite reads from last year. I'm not, or at least I certainly wasn't back then, a big fan of Fae centric books, but because I liked Jenna's adult books, I decided to give Glimmerglass a chance and I loved it! So I was really excited for book 2 and it didn't really disappoint. Dana is more sure of herself in Avalon now, with a little understanding of what's going on around her. Things aren't easy for her though, being kept in what is basically a cave and only being allowed out with at least one bodyguard. When the Erlking makes his interest in her known, things become more dangerous still. But Dana isn't very good at staying locked down as her father would like.

Shadowspell gets off to a great start and from chapter two never really lets up on the intensity. I feel so bad for Dana a lot of the time because she doesn't have many people she can count on, everyone seems to have their own objectives and uses for her. But she's a strong girl too and I love how Dana does everything she can for those she cares about, even if it means putting herself at bigger risk.

I really enjoyed the addition of the Erlking and the Wild Hunt to this book. I admit that before hand I wasn't certain I would because of the suggestion that he would be after Dana's heart rather than her life. But actually the role he plays in the book works extremely well and the tension level rose instantly just from the mention of his name. I love the mythology employed to this series and the mystery that surrounds it all. Because Dana knows very little about her heritage still, so learning alongside her works very well for me. There is plenty of intrigue and a lot of questions in need of answers. There are a few things left from Glimmerglass given answer here, which is good, but there is still plenty left unanswered.

However, while I did love Shadowspell and have a very hard time putting it down (had I not started it at midnight, (dumb I know!) I'd have read it in one sitting), there is one aspect to this series that makes me uneasy. The romantic sub-plot. Now, thankfully, it is (for the most part) a sub-plot and doesn't intrude too much on the rest of the story, which I do completely love. But I am not enjoying the romance side of things at all at this point. The love interest, Ethan, did something in book 1 which made me very uneasy with him and while he then did something to partially redeem himself at the end of Glimmerglass, I was left with the suspicion that I could well end up not enjoying the continuation of that romantic involvement in Shadowspell. Sadly, that came true. It's not often when reading that I get a slightly queasy feeling when reading a romantic plot, even if I'm not fully enjoying it. But that's exactly what I get here. I'm not a fan of Ethan and I'm not completely thrilled with Dana's handling of him either. I understand why Dana is the way she is with him, but that doesn't mean I like it. I also wasn't thrilled at potential romantic developments with two side characters (no names for spoilers sake) and add them together and any time the love subject came up, I wasn't happy and those uneasy feelings got worse as the book wore on, not better. I was left with a little, tiny bit of hope on one side at the end, and a lot of dread on the other. I'm hoping that Sirensong (book 3) clears things up some.

My issues with the romantic plot are enough to stop me giving the book completely full marks, but if you took that away, it'd be a damn near perfect read. Because there is so much tension, so much mystery and (again, taking away the romantic plots) very well drawn characters. I love the world building and how the overall arc is developing. Dana still faces massive odds and I'm really looking forward to seeing where book 3, Sirensong (out July 2011) takes her. Just not where it takes her romantically speaking... Still, it's a fantastic read and I'd highly recommend the series.


Michelle at Clover Hill Book Reviews said...

Great review! I've not long finished Glimmerglass, I'm really looking forward to this coming out in the UK :) You've got me wondering now who the two love interests are!

Jessica said...

GREAT review Cem! I'll be reading this one soon hopefully. Most likely next week after Shadowfever!

Can't remember much about Glimmerglass at the moment, but sure it will all come back to me as I read Shadowspell. But your talk of Ethan does trigger some memory recall that I wasn't too happy with him either.

Look forward to reading it! And Sirensong comes out this year too? YAY!

Larissa {Larissa's Bookish Life} said...

Great review! bk1 is in my TBR and I love Jenna as authtor, will hopefully read this series soon!