Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “Fighting a seeker demon doesn’t freak me out. Having an ancient warrior rise from the dead in my bed doesn’t freak me out. But having a demigod in my kitchen making breakfast… and that apron? Yeah, that strains my brain a bit.”
“Why? You’re a god.”
“You’ve met them before. You talk to Ma’at quite often.”
“Yeah, but she doesn’t come to breakfast.”
“Have you invited her?”
Set in present-day Atlanta, GA, Kira Solomon is an antiquities expert by day and a Shadowchaser by night. Abandoned by both her real and adoptive parents for her deadly psychometry gift, she is taken in by the Gilead commission and trained to be an assassin of light that fights the Shadows. A routine investigation into a 4,000-year-old dagger leads to death and chaos when her mentor and father figure are killed and she finds herself in the middle of a war to claim the dagger and rule the universe.
I picked up Shadow Blade after reading a friend’s tweet that demanded we all buy it. The fact it was on sale on AMZ was a bonus. Urban Fantasy has always been my go-to genre when I need some downtime from reviewing and Glass’s newest series takes readers on an epic action packed adventure rich in Egyptian and African mythology, deadly enemies, and a young woman’s journey towards redemption.
This suspense laced atmospheric adventure is very heavy on the world building as Glass introduces us to a supernaturally enhanced Atlanta and the age old battle of light/dark. Well written with an energetic pace that keeps the reader on edge, Glass layers the world and characters, giving plenty of background while setting up the main storyline and building subplots to be addressed as this series unfolds. A diverse and secretive cast of secondary characters offers drama, humor, and insight to both the world and the storyline as each one offers clues to the convoluted mystery unfolding.
Kira is your typical urban fantasy heroine; intelligent, loyal, magically gifted, skilled despite her gifts, and carrying a great deal of guilt and anger for the actions of others. Her ability to touch anything and see it’s past gives her an edge in her antiquities business but leaves her isolated from everyone. She is a loner with a painful past and serious abandonment issues. Kira reminded me a little of Jane Yellowrock. A badarse heroine at 5’9″ with a powerful sword and a custom bike, I saw the same sense of vulnerability as Kira she struggles to make peace with herself and her choices. Her intelligence and loyalty is underscored by her willingness to jump straight into the deep end when she is faced with a problem-regardless of the consequences. Watching her grow from untrusting and antisocial to being able to ask for help and accept when she is wrong shows the potential for more evolution in her future.
Humor and horror walk hand in hand as multiple storylines intertwine, blending well with none overwhelming the other. Well plotted with a hint of suspense, horror, and plenty of action, Glass allows the reader to follow along with her characters as they discover who/what is after the dagger and what their end game is. I loved the inclusion of Egyptian and African mythology. Most UF seems to be based on Norse, Irish, or Greek mythology so it was nice to see Glass go her own route. A strong investigative procedural vibe infiltrates this storyline, giving this fantasy a sense of realism. I liked that there was a healthy amount of trial and error to be seen with no one whipping out a magic wand or has an undefeatable superpower to save the day. Ingenuity and common sense rule even though bad decisions are made and failures are seen.
A potential romance winds its way throughout the story, staying well on the sidelines as Kira and Khefar, a cursed almost immortal Nubian warrior, find themselves working together to defeat an evil that threatens them all. Khefar was led to Atlanta by his dagger but discovers more waiting for him when he goes head to head with Kira. I love how they balanced each other out. He smoothed Kira’s rougher edges and pushed her out of her comfort zone while she drags him back into the current century. I like that Glass kept them low key and had them becoming friends and allies first.
There were a few minor issues I had problems with though I do feel they will iron themselves out as the series progresses. Glass tosses a lot into the blender here and at times it caused small pile-ups in the story. I really felt the information could have been doled out with more prejudice, perhaps saving some for the next book. I also dispise the “need to know” plot element. It created some lag in the story as Kira is blindsided by some situations that could have been avoided with communication.
Regardless, I am looking forward to continuing this series. Fans of Kate Daniels, Jane Yellowrock, and Joanna Archer are sure to enjoy this shockingly entertaining urban fantasy series with its kick arse heroine, her sword, and a world worth exploring.