Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “I order you to never wear panties again.”
Grace Mercer’s unmatched wraith-killing ability made her the unofficial defender of a city shattered by supernatural catastrophe. So there’s no way she’ll allow the new regent of Seattle’s most powerful dragon shifter clan to “protect” her from a vicious evil stalking the ruined streets—and keep her from the freedom she’s risked everything to earn.
The world has shattered and darkness reigns as humans and supernaturals alike try to survive in this post apocalyptic world. Kira Brady continues her noir fantasy series that builds its dramatic world from Norse, Babylonian, and Native American legends. A faint victorian steampunk vive permeates the air as we reacquaint ourselves with the alpha shapeshifters and humans who direct and command the storyline. A heartfelt and emotional love story sits at it’s center, surrounded by a maelstrom high octane action, suspense, and mystery. The main conflict blends nicely with the plot lines and the characters’ dialogue is an engaging mixture of seriousness and snark. A smooth well plotted storyline will hook readers from page one.
We left Hearts of Darkness after Norsgad, former leader of the Drekar clan, opened the gates to Hell and unleashed chaos on the world. He died in his quest and now the world sits on the cusp of oblivion. Hearts of Shadow picks up six months later with a tattered world and the demi God Kingu seeking to reunite with his lover (The Babylonian god Tiamat’s Heart), and wanting revenge on those who separated and imprisoned them. Not yet corporal in form, Kingu and the wraiths he commands are slowly infiltrating the humans in Seattle, using them as fodder in his war. Leif, Norgard’s brother, is now the new regent of the Drekar clan. More comfortable in a lab coat then sitting on a throne, he reluctantly assumes the mantle to rule his clan. Leif was never comfortable with the cruelty his brother seemed to reveal in or the manner in which they have to survive; especially after he meets Grace.
Grave Mercier, nicknamed the reaper because death follows her, was slave bonded to Norsgad, and suffered greatly at his hands. Besieged by tragedy from an early age, she eventually found herself blood bound to Norsgad through lies and trickery. He may have owned her body, but he never owned her soul. Trained as a warrior, Grace had been working towards buying her freedom, but the war now has Grace using her formidable skills to fight the wraiths who have overrun the city and protect those who cannot protect themselves. With no thought to her own safety, Grace is a force to be reckoned with. When she inadvertently brings herself to Leif’s attention, she is disgusted by her attraction to him. She has painted Leif with the same brush as Norsgad and waits in anger and fear for him to use her as his brother did.
Leif sees Grace and is blindsided by her. She calls to a primitive part of him that he never knew existed. As he gets to know her better, he finds himself wanting to do everything possible to make her life easier. She invokes his protective nature to the point where Leif begins to take his new position seriously and we soon see him use his power to cajole and bully the other supernatural clans into working together for the good of the city.
Leif and Grace’s romance is slow building, becoming a crescendo of passion and pleasure that takes both of them by surprise. Brady takes her time, letting our hero and heroine get to know one another and learn to trust. I adored the patience and perseverance that Leif exhibits towards Grace. He knows she was severely mistreated by his brother and doesn’t trust him. Grace is the face of intelligence, beauty, and strength and Leif does everything possible to prove that to her.
The secondary characters continue to evolve, each revealing more of their personalities and solidifying their positions in this new world. Each are developed to the point of being able to hold their own story. We see old faces and are introduced to new ones. Brady published a novella after Hearts Of Darkness that offers a look into the past and at the animosity between the Drekar and the Kivati. It reveals and explains the mated pair who are reintroduced at the end of this book. Though the Kivati and Drekar still hate each other, we do see a tentative truce after the Unraveling. Corbette, leader of the Kivati, maintains a solid presence and his seemingly timid fiancee stands and shows her true colors to the clan. The overall premise in here continues to be that good and evil are subjective and redemption can be earned, even in your darkest hour.
Hearts Of Shadow is an excellent continuation to Hearts Of Darkness. No sophomore slump for Ms. Brady. She comes out swinging and hits a homerun for this reader with her fascinating mixture of magic, science and a climactic battle scene that sets the stage for book three, Hearts Of Chaos, which is set to release February 2014.
Overall Rating: B
Dear Author – C+