Review: Shaedes of Gray by Amanda Bonilla

Shaedes of Gray (Shaede Assassin, #1)Shaedes Of Gray (Shaede Assassin #1) by Amanda Bonilla
Urban Fantasy
December 6, 2011

Reviewed by Tori

Favorite Quote: “All of this is because I am so god damned irresistible. It must be my shining personality and lighthearted spirit. I feel so sorry for them both. “

Darian spent the first half of her life as an abused wife. When a friend of her husband’s appears on the scene, he frees her from her life of pain and transforms her into a Shaede-a creature able to transform from solid to shadow. She spends her time with her inhuman lover only to have him abandon her; leaving her alone and in the dark about who and what she is now. Now, centuries later, she works as an assassin for hire. Her moral compass, though slightly skewed, has her killing only those whose actions cause others pain in the world. She lives with the impression she is the only Shaede in existence but when she is hired out for a kill, she finds out that not only is she not alone, but she just tried to kill the King of her kind, Alexander (Xander) Peck. Darian, with the help of her boss Tyler, tries to work out who actually hired her and why only to learn that everyone has been lying to her. No one is what they seem and Darian soon finds herself knee deep in the supernatural world, learning far more then she wanted to know about herself and her friends. As war threatens her and her kind, Darian must embrace the unknown if she is to survive what is coming for her.

Shaedes of Gray is a fantastic and powerful debut by Amanda Bonilla. I send many, many thank you’s to Pam, a reviewer for WickedLilPixieReviews, for messaging me and telling me I HAD to read this book. You were right as usual.

Set in Seattle, this noir and Machiavellian Urban Fantasy will have you clinging to the edge of your seat as you follow Darian through the shadows that is her life. A fast paced storyline that keeps you on your toes as Ms. Bonilla uses Darian’s history to unfold and set up this engaging and suspicious world. I found myself completely engrossed in her history of the Shaedes and the life Darian has led to get to the point where she now. Darian is a perfect blending of what I love in my UF heroines. Smart, sassy, and strong with deeply buried vulnerability. Her emotions and reactions to situations and people are realistic as she learns of the lies and betrayals that she has been subjected to her whole life. She doesn’t accept the adage, “It was for your own good,” from anyone. She is fighting mad and is allowed to express that here.

There is a small love triangle in here but I found it more of a way to further characterize Darian and to expand her emotional make up. She and Tyler, her boss of 5 years, have acknowledged the attraction between them but she has always refused to act on it. She doesn’t see her life receptive to a relationship. Plus, he’s human, or so she thinks. When she meets Xander, she finds out there Tyler is not who she thought and while it opens the way for them to have a physical relationship, she is hurt and angry that he wasn’t honest with her. Regardless of her anger, the sexual tension between Darian and Tyler is VERY hot and sensual. You can feel Tyler’s unwavering love for Darian and though I was not happy with his part in this conflict, I did find myself rooting for him in the end.

Xander, the king of the Shaede nation is a pain in Darian’s arse and she doesn’t hesitate to let him know that repeatedly. He lies, omits, and doles out information grudgingly. He really cannot understand why she is so stubborn and won’t accept his sovereign over her. He is hilarious with his self entitlement issues and I enjoyed watching Darian’s frustrations with him. She doesn’t respect him and he can’t phantom why. His dialogue and voice in here is perfect. I could visualize him perfectly as he talks to Darian in his condescending voice.

A diabolically complicated secondary cast only heightens the excitement of this story. Raif is a favorite character of mine in here. He is what he is and doesn’t hide himself with Darian. No matter what happens, Darian knows Raif will always tell her the truth as he knows it. Anya is another favorite and I really hope Ms. Bonilla expands her part in the next book.

The main conflict is a delicious blend of lies, manipulations, and deception. The nature and level of the duplicity Darian uncovers is mind boggling. All of her life, she has been manipulated and pushed into various situations both with and without her knowledge. When she learns of this her anger knows no boundaries. Your never sure exactly who is telling the truth here as you, like Darian, are only told what you need to know. I love how Darian stands up for herself in the face of these revelations. Her sarcasm and snark is like a finely sharpened sword that she wields with deadly accuracy. She is a warrior who bows to no one and those who seek to subjugate her will feel her wraith.

This entire book is an emotional roller coaster ride of twists and turns that will keep you riding the edge to the end. The ending is a climatic shock that left me blinking in surprise as the true villain and their motivations are revealed. The main conflict is resolved in an effective manner but left enough un answered questions still exist to assure that this reader will be first in line for the second book in this series, Blood Before Sunrise, which is set to release July 3, 2012.

Overall Rating: B+

Recent Reviews
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  1. Sara says

    Gah! So many differing reviews for this book. I keep going back and forth whether to pick it up. Maybe I’ll wait until my library acquires it. I keep hoping to find another UF series to obsess over, but it’s been a few years since I have… great review.

  2. says

    Fantastic review! Really makes me want to read the book. I’ve been jonesing for a solid UF series that I can get excited about and maybe this one will do it for me. We’ll see. Thanks, Tori!

  3. says

    I’ve read different reviews about this book. Good and bad. But I will read this book and find out for myself :) And I hope to have found a great new UF series for my keepers shelf (ok, who am I kidding, all my books are keepers).

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