Book Review: Amanda Bonilla’s Shaedes of Gray

Posted July 17, 2012 by Kathy Davie in

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Amanda Bonilla’s Shaedes of Gray

Shaedes of Gray

on December 6, 2011 and has 316 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

First in the Shaede Assassin urban fantasy series revolving around Darian, a supernatural creature who hides in the shadows.

My Take

How does one “fluff out” a duster?

The entire story is so cliché-ridden, it’s nauseating. There’s the whole prophecy thing which is let out in dribs and drabs and not enough to really say anything. The king’s speech looking for allies in his war. Then she wishes Tyler to stay in her apartment all day. Lame and super dumb. Followed by the ever-so-clichéd lone-man rescue. Yeah, there is a reason the cliché exists. I just never expected to encounter every one that exists in one story — okay, okay, I’m exaggerating. A teeny tiny bit. I gotta say, I was agog with disbelief that any one person could incorporate so many over-used phrases in one story. Was Bonilla part of a contest? She lost a bet? She had a list and checked ’em off??

It is a unique story with a unique species. While there are aspects of Bonilla’s characters that are singular, her overuse of cliché has prejudiced me against it. Combine that with the lack of information Bonilla provides and I find myself not interested in them. I don’t feel compelled to read on to the next story. Sure, I’m curious if Xander really has fallen in love or if it’s just a political maneuver. I want to know if Tyler has a chance and what is (are??) Anya’s problem(s)? But, I can’t be bothered.

As for Darian’s character… Bonilla presents her as mouthy, efficient, intelligent, and independent. Then Bonilla promptly destroys this with Darian’s subservience and stupidity. She’s a supernatural creature who has never in all her years at least explored the concept or the myths about other supernaturals? She’s so desperate to stay on top of modern day slang and yet she’s never heard of I Dream of Jeannie?? Why would Darian go to meet a client who set her up and not be prepared to fight? Why does she just roll over and meekly show up? She may have been paid to do a job, but it doesn’t mean she has to snap to and follow him around or do anything but the job. She’s the so-prepared assassin who constantly forgets the bottle of shadow repellant Raif prepares for her? Darian goes from useless to trained warrior in a few weeks? Bonilla writes of Darien’s supposed disrespect for the king and it’s all talk, no action.

God, she’s clueless. She kills the Lyhtan, the king bows his head in respect after saying “it has gone into the light”, and Darian actually thinks he’s bowing to her?!? Duh… Oh please, “By slow degrees I lost my drive…” She gave up the minute she woke up bound. Didn’t Bonilla have an editor?? She’s been a wuss for days, giving up with a few groans.

Yeah, I don’t buy any of it. Darian is so amazingly ignorant that I rather enjoy seeing her bested. How tacky is that?

Ooh, tricky maneuver to get around Darian’s aloofness using a contract to kill. Very clever.

We never get a good reason why the king ignored her existence (and Bonilla leads us to believe he knew of her) nor doe we get a reason why he continually withholds information. He just keeps playing her, and I don’t blame Darian for her anger. Then there’s Alexander with all his commands of “an order from your king!” Why does he think he has any right to command her allegiance when he left her hanging for eighty years?

How could the king possibly be likened to Darian’s grandfather?? It would make more sense if Azriel had said “father”!

The Story

Rescued a hundred years ago from her abusive husband, Darian has survived on her own as an assassin killing scum for the past eighty years. Abandoned by her rescuer after the first twenty years, Darian is lonely, but accepts what Azriel told her.

These days her only companion is her broker, Tyler.

This latest job? There’s something wrong about it. A set-up. A way to get around Darian’s pride. It’s a very specific job requiring intensive training, but then she’s attacked. Kidnapped. Betrayed on every level.

The Characters

Darian is a Shaede, able to blend and become one with the shadows, move through walls. Rescued from the verge of death by Azriel. Living and loving together for twenty years. And then he left.

Tyler is a problem-solver. he knows people who know people. You have a problem? Tyler can make it disappear. He pushes Darian’s boundaries every chance he gets and he’s in love with her. He’s also been lying to her for five years.

King Alexander is the ruler of the Shaede and Azriel’s father. Anya is a bitch with a bug up her ass. Now you know as much as I do. Raif is the king’s brother, guard, and Darian’s trainer.

Lyhtan are vicious, ugly, vengeful “creatures of the light” able to move unseen by day; their venom is deadly to the Shaede, their very opposite.

Xander Peck is Darian’s target. A very elusive target. Delilah is an Oracle and Tyler’s friend. Weak, thin blind. She’s supposed to watch for Lyhtan assassins and protect Darian. Levi is the human bartender at the Pit. Tyler recommends asking him for supernatural information, but it’ll cost. Levi is also the liaison between natural and supernatural worlds.

Enphigmalé seems to be a mixed organization that polices the supernatural. Moira and Reever are Sidhe who attend the summit. Reever is very intent on testing Darian, obviously a set-up for further into the series.

The Cover and Title

The cover is golds and browns with splashes of orange and black. Darian herself, in black leather pants and a deep brown duster stands, overlooking a swirling atmosphere over the city of Seattle. It’s damned windy up there as her duster swirls about her and her vivid orange hair stands on end — rather Bride of Frankenstein-ish as she pulls her katana from its sheath on her back.

The title is an introduction to a new being created in this story. One who can blend into the dark or the light, the Shaedes of Gray.