Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “What is a Max?”
“She is…unique. And she is about to kill you.”
At the end of Crimson Wind, Max found and brought her family back to Horngate and is now fulfilling her obligation to the demi god that Gisele promised her to, Scooter. We open up with him ruthlessly forcing Max to open herself to a magical power she never knew she had. He needs her skills and magic to recover three vital parts of himself or he will die. Once they arrive in the Shadow City, Max finds herself fighting for their lives against an enemy of unimaginable evil. Losing is not an option. While Max is off helping Scooter, Horngate finds itself at the center of the apocalypse. They are slowly losing food sources, they are having to shelter orphaned witches and humans, a fury has risen, and they are being watched by something much larger and stronger than they. As they work to find away to defeat the fury, they suddenly receive some help from n unexpected source.
Shadow City embodies the reasons why I love urban Fantasy so much. Dark and gritty; the world building constantly evolves to offer new and exciting challenges within the arc without sacrificing the integrity of the story lines or the characters. Thrilling, fast paced action, ripe suspense, and charismatic characters keep you glued to the the pages as you watch these incredible personalities fight, love, and laugh their way to the end. This series personifies love, loss, betrayal, and sacrifice-driving the points home with a sledgehammer. Shadow City is an emotional roller coaster that turns a pivotal corner in the series. Max and Alexander are finally dealing with issues that have been eating away at them. Max begins to let go of her hatred and need for revenge. Not to say she has forgiven Gisele because that’s not going to happen any time soon-but rather she has decided to stop giving it so much control over her life and opens herself fully to the people who love her. The Blades are her family and Horngate is her home. We see growth in her character, especially towards Alexander.
“Why was it so hard for her to take what he was giving? What was she waiting for?”
Alexander also goes through some growing pains of his own. He and his Prime have been at odds since arriving at Horngate. He has never been accepted there and now the Blades need him to lead them since Max left but her leaving has emotionally crippled him. It takes a traumatic event and a new friend to break him down to nothing and then put him back together whole.
I love that the Blades and Gisele are in the forefront here. That was one issue I had with Crimson Winds-the lack of interaction we had with them. The supporting characters are still as vivid and dynamic as ever. Each one fully capable of carrying their own story. I like that each have distinct, separate personalities; ensuring they are never overwhelmed by our protagonists. We are privy to some personal emotional dialogue that allows us to see how deep the connection between one another is. Gisele is more “human” in here and while she is still the character I love to hate most, she is beginning to acknowledge and accept responsibility for the cruelty and betrayal she bestowed on Max.
“This is our new start. Phoenix from the ashes. Let’s do better this time. No, that’s wrong. I’ll do better this time. Like I should have done from the start. I always knew this place was suppose to be different, but I followed the old rules anyhow.”
We make some new friends and re visit with some old ones. I really want to see more of Valery and Holt and get their full story. I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of humor in here. Max and the gang have grown into their snark and it balanced with the seriousness of the storyline beautifully.
There are two main conflicts that run simultaneously and interact towards the end. Each one a full bodied expose in tension, suspense, and action with multiple subplots running throughout: guaranteeing us that this series will only continue to get better. Our villains are appropriately evil and vicious which only further enforces the darkness of this series. The conclusion comes at us hard and fast with a climatic nerve racking finale. The ending is conclusive and satisfying yet leaves the door open wide enough to ensure we haven’t seen the last of our demi god nor his friends.
A splendid addition to this series and I look forward to spending more time with Max and Horngate in the future. I recommend this to every reader who enjoys a kick ass heroine and dark adventures set in a lush urban fantasy world.
Overall Rating: A