Third in the Dark Swan urban fantasy series revolving around Eugenie, the new fae Queen of Thorn and the Oak King’s lover. When in the mortal world, she has a house in Tuscon.
I do love how Mead starts this off! Too funny!! It just gets funnier when Dorian and Rurik play off on Ysabel’s sighs about remarrying suggesting all sorts of possibilities. Just not the one she’s “hinting” at so blatantly.
Oh man, Dorian is such a manipulative bugger! Poor Eugenie doesn’t have a minute to herself in this story what with all the pushing and pulling by forces beyond her control. Mead really does marvelous work with all the bombshells she drops and the tension she builds into this story. Her characters are fascinating and edgy and Mead has you wondering which way they’ll jump next. A different take on the fae. I am just panting to read the next in the series, Shadow Heir.
The Thorn and the Oak are at war with the Rowan. Queen Katrice doesn’t want Eugenie alive or in the fae world. The prophecy about her firstborn is too damaging. In the meantime, Eugenie’s mortal world business is suffering from her spending so much time in the Otherworld fighting against the Rowan. If she doesn’t take on a few more jobs, Lara won’t get paid. It’s this need that finds Eugenie up against a nasty fetch that results in Eugenie needing those antibiotics. Nasty interfering things.
Then there’s the subtle manipulation pushing and pulling at Eugenie to go after the Iron Crown. The incentive is that Eugenie’s possession of the Crown will intimidate Katrice into ending the war and putting an end to the casualties. It’s what Eugenie discovers afterwards that breaks her heart into so many pieces.
One of those pieces is Katrice’s kidnapping of Jasmine. A bold move, but one that will cost that stubborn fae queen. It also forces Eugenie to apologize to Imanuelle! Call Guinness!! Other pieces are the betrayals by her friends and the hectic pace of her life.
Oh, yeah, life is just getting even more interesting for Eugenie Markham, Dark Swan.
Eugenie Markham is half-human, half-fae and all kick-ass. Even before she became Queen of Thorn Land. She’s been the bogeyman the fae frighten their children with as she comes with bindings and banishings to keep our world free of bad things that go bump in our night.
Roland Markham is her stepfather and a retired shaman. He taught Eugenie everything he knows but no longer acknowledges her—he (and her mother) hate the fae. And they hate that Eugenie is canoodling with them.
Lara is Eugenie’s secretary and sets up her banishing and binding appointments in our world. Right now, she’s really annoyed because Eugenie is spending most of her time in the Otherworld. Tim is her housemate—he gets free room and board in exchange for household chores and cooking. He prefers to recite his poetry and schmooze people into thinking he’s Native American. He and Lara are mortal phone enemies. Dr. Moore is Eugenie’s personal doctor.
The fae who aid Eugenie in governing Thorn Land include Rurik and Shaya. They also maintain the guard on Jasmine Delaney, Eugenie’s half-sister through their father, the Storm King. Hey, she tried to kill her sister so she could be the one to make the prophecy come true! Wil Delaney is Jasmine’s half-brother. Nia is Eugenie’s handmaiden in the Otherworld. In other words, she takes care of personal matters for her, beautifying her. Girard is a fae metalsmith. Imanuelle is his assassin sister.
Volusian is a cursed spirit whom Eugenie has bound. As long as she can control him, he won’t torture her slowly into a miserable death.
Dorian, King of Oak Land, is Eugenie’s “bondage-loving Otheworldly boyfriend”. Ysabel is a former lover of Dorian’s and definitely interested in reprising that role. Her mother Edria is another fae interested in wresting Eugenie from Dorian’s side. Masthera is a seeress who goads Eugenie into going after the Iron Crown.
Kiyo is a kitsune—half-demon, half-human—who works as a veterinarian in Phoenix when he isn’t visiting Maiwenn, Queen of the Willow Land, to see their daughter and take his queen’s orders as to how to handle Eugenie. He was Eugenie’s lover before losing her to Dorian.
Queen Katrice of the Rowan Land has started the war over a personal slight (I screwed up the reading order and have no idea what this is). Ranelle is an ambassador from the Honeysuckle Land. Dorian and Eugenie need allies as badly as Katrice and they’re putting on a united front for Ranelle. Deanna is a ghost who agrees to a bargain with Eugenie in exchange for finding her murderer.
The cover is all purples blending up into reds with a lit-up downtown nestled into mountains while Eugenie holds a fighting stance in her jeans and lattice-worked tank top. Festooned with weapons dangling from her belt, an athame in one hand, and the iron crown in the other, our tatttooed, short-haired Dark Swan is ready for action.
The title is all about Eugenie’s objective and her intentions. If she can just become Iron Crowned.