Richelle Mead, Shadow Heir

Posted March 20, 2012 by Kathy Davie in

Shadow Heir (Dark Swan, #4)Shadow Heir by Richelle Mead
Series: Dark Swan, 4
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fourth in the Dark Swan urban fantasy series revolving around a pregnant Eugenie Markham, half-human, half-fae and Queen of two Lands in the Otherworld.

My Take
It’s a lot of ups and downs with tons of soul-searching on Eugenie’s part. Honesty and trust versus her children’s safety. Seeing the truth about people’s—and demon’s—behaviors. Roland’s comment about Eugenie’s snobby bigotry is on the money as well.

There was also a number of stupid actions…what is with characters who get handed possibilities on a plate and are too dumb to realize it’s probably important?? In spite of their supposedly intelligent backgrounds…? Is it a natural reaction or the writer’s laziness? Gimme a break…the ghost encounter at the plantation house was such a lame set-up. Then Volusian shows up with a message sent by both Maiwenn and Dorian. And Eugenie blows it off. Duhhhh, that her wanna-be lover and her almost-worst enemy are ganging together to contact her doesn’t make her wonder if there might be a reason…??? And, why, oh why, would she ignore a kingdom that has others in subservience?

What is Kiyo’s problem? If he’s gonna be temporarily allied with Rowan, Thorn, and Oak, he’s got no business whining on about his and Maiwenn’s hangups! Volusian certainly comes in handy and goes easy…boy turns out to be all talk…

I did not enjoy this story as much as the three previous stories. It felt more like it was marking time, even if it did settle some issues.

The Story
Eugenie is hedging her bets, seeing human doctors as well as fae. She has no intentions of letting anything happen to her babies! Even Jasmine and Pagiel are helping out, escorting her to and fro across the border.

It’s Rurik and Shaya’s wedding though that sets everyone up for what’s coming down the road. The wrong guest. A too-rigid adherence to societal rules. The temptation of a life of kindness and peace.

The Characters
Eugenie Markham is Queen of Thorn and Rowan—and pregnant with twins. Roland Markham, Eugenie’s stepfather, is surprisingly supportive—surprising since he’s been such a jerk the last two stories. He’s also surprised to find himself in accord with Dorian! Dee is her always supportive mother. Lara is having a very odd, unexpected effect upon Tim—a suit and tie??? Volusian is a demon-like soul bound to serve Eugenie. Candace (the shaman) and Charles Reed are the friends of Roland who take her in; Evan is their quiet, non-pushy nephew with a very tempting offer. Ivy and Isaac, a.k.a., little Thundro, are the twins.

Rurik and Shaya are caring for the Rowan Land while Jasmine is entrusted as regent for the Thorn Land while Eugenie concentrates on the babies.

Dorian, King of Oak Land, is doing his best to help Eugenie even as he teases her with sexual innuendos. Muran is Dorian’s very long-suffering servant. Kiyo Marquez is still working with Maiwenn, Queen of the Willow Land, to destroy the babies. And if that means they have to take Eugenie out…oh, well.

Ysabel is a former lover of Dorian’s and she and her mother Edria are up to something with Ysabel’s son Pagiel. On the one hand, they’re freaking out because he’s engaged in guard duty. On the other hand, they’re pleased with his illegal activities. Ansonia, his sister, is another story what with the attack and the secrets she’s not supposed to know. Ilania is an ambassador from Queen Varia of the Yew Land.

The group that sets off to the Yew Land includes: Eugenie and Dorian, Jasmine and Pagiel, Rurik, Alistir, Keeli, and Danil. They run into a group from Hemlock Land which includes Alea with her falcon, Spots; Kellum; and, Orj and they are hoping to rescue Hadic, their king. Magia becomes the Hickory Queen.

The Cover
It’s all oranges and purples in the background of sky, mountains, and castle while a red-haired Eugenie looks back even as she walks away in her jeans and black leather jacket, pulling an athame from inside her jacket, a gun in the holster strapped to her thigh.

The title encourages you to believe that Eugenie is the Shadow Heir…won’t you be surprised…

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