Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Review: Shadow Heir by Richelle Mead (Dark Swan #4)

Publisher - Bantam
Publication Date - 2nd February 2012
Paperback - 400 pages
Genre -  Urban Fantasy

Source - Purchased

Rating - 2 out of 5: It was ok

Book Info - 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...

My Thoughts - Please note, there are some HUGE spoilers for previous books in the series so only read this review if you have already read them. Consider yourselves warned :)

I am a big fan of Richelle Mead and I rate her Dark Swan books as my favourite of all her series'. I have been looking forward to Shadow Heir for a long time to find out how things would end for Eugenie. However, I fear I may have been hyping it up a bit too much in my head as when I finally got to read it, I found myself feeling pretty disappointed.

The first problem I had was the pacing. The other books in the series have all been full of action and moved so along quickly that it was pretty much impossible to put them down. The same could definitely not be said for Shadow Heir. For the first half of the book, Eugenie is hiding in the human world awaiting the birth of her twins. Nothing really happened during this part of the story and I found myself breathing a sigh of relief when the babies were born early as I had hopes that the pacing would finally pick up again. And to a certain extent it does, but not in the way that I have come to expect from previous books in the series, and it still dragged in places.

The second problem I had was that the plot just was not what I wanted it to be. At the end of Iron Crowned, Eugenie is pregnant with Kiyo's children - one of whom will apparently lead the gentry into an invasion of the human world according to a prophecy. Kiyo is dead set that this can't happen and even goes so far as to try and kill Eugenie to prevent the prophecy from coming true. The whole of the Otherworld either wants to see Eugenie dead or will support her whole-heartedly to lead the invasion. I thought that this would be the focus of Shadow Heir. I expected there to be a big showdown between the two factions and I expected something big to happen. As it turned out, this part of the plot just seemed to be brushed over at the end rather than being the main focus. And I felt as though the author only did that to tie up loose ends.

I also found the ending to be disappointing. The author sets it up near the end so that there is an opportunity for a perfect happy ending. However, right at the last second that happy ending is snatched away and I felt very frustrated by that. Don't get me wrong, the ending is a semi-happy one, but it could have been so much better.

The redeeming feature of this book for me was the romance between Eugenie and Dorian. They have been on again/off again during most of the series but in Shadow Heir they are working hard to resolve their issues and what follows is a very sweet and tender romance that leaves no doubt about how they really feel about each other.

Summary - Shadow Heir is a disappointing ending to what has been up until now an amazing series. But the first three books are so amazing that I would still definitely recommend the series to fans of Urban Fantasy.

Other books in the series:
1. Storm Born
2. Thorn Queen
3. Iron Crowned
4. Shadow Heir

Other reviews of this book:
Caught in a FAB Romance / Parajunkee's View / Wicked Lil Pixie

This book counts towards the following challenges:
Book #1 for 2012 Finish the Series Reading Challenge
Book #21 for 2012 Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge


Melliane said...

wow if you think that about this one, what would it be for me? I'm afraid now... I'm sorry it didn't blow your mind away, I need to read it to have my own opinion but it's not easy when I saw some reviews.

Chrissie (Once Upon a Series) said...

Melliane - I must admit that I hadn't read any reviews of this book so I didn't realise that others were so disappointed with it. But if you're a fan of the series then it is worth a read :)

cindy said...

Shadow Heir is the last book of Dark Swan series?

cindy said...

Shadow Heir is the last book of Dark Swan series?

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