Shadow Heir (Early Review)

, by Kt Clapsadl

Shadow Heir by Richelle Mead
Dark Swan #4

Shaman-for-hire Eugenie Markham strives to keep the mortal realm safe from trespassing entities. But as the Thorn Land's prophecy-haunted queen, there's no refuge for her and her soon-to-be-born-children when a mysterious blight begins to devastate the Otherworld...

The spell-driven source of the blight isn't the only challenge to Eugenie's instincts. Fairy king Dorian is sacrificing everything to help, but Eugenie can't trust the synergy drawing them back together. The uneasy truce between her and her shape shifter ex-lover Kiyo is endangered by secrets he can't--or won't--reveal. And as a formidable force rises to also threaten the human world, Eugenie must use her own cursed fate as a weapon--and risk the ultimate sacrifice...

When Eugenie learned of her Otherworld heritage and the prophecy surrounding a future son who would destroy the human world, she knew she would do almost anything to prevent it from coming true. However all that changed when she discovered she was pregnant with twins, a boy and a girl. Now she is on the run in order to save her innocent children before they even have a chance at life. There are many who would destroy them, but nothing comes close to the children's father, Kiyo, a fox shifter. He will stop at nothing to end their lives, even killing Eugenie before she can give birth. Of course her other ex-lover (well somewhat ex) Dorian would, and has, done everything he can to keep Eugenie safe. However, he has his own agenda in wanting to further that prophecy. Or so Eugenie once thought. Now she isn't so sure whether he would give all that up for her. To make matters worse, a mysterious blight rips through the Otherworld, destroying everything and leaving the people in horrific conditions. She will have to embark on a journey that will open her eyes to who she can really trust and rely on, because she isn't just responsible for just herself anymore, but two entire kingdoms, and above it all, her unborn children.

I really loved Shadow Heir. Well, right up until the end that is, but I will get into that a little later. Eugenie had to make some really hard decisions throughout the book, and I think she did a whole lot of maturing. I know that a lot of other bloggers had "flogged" her for some of her bad choices, especially with the men, and to some extent I felt the same as well. However in Shadow Heir, I felt her take some big steps in the right direction as far as that was concerned. She finally started making good choices for the right reasons. What I was most impressed with was her ability to make the hard decisions, the ones that really have no good choices, only the lessor of evils. She seemed to finally accept that she really is a queen like it or not, and is duty bound to her people, no matter what it costs her.

Now onto my issue with the ending. There was one final, but HUGE decision at the very end that about ruined the rest of the book for me. It just left a sour taste in my mouth. To clarify, it isn't that I felt her romantic choices were wrong because I was rooting for the other team, etc. It is simply a bad judgement call that I do not think is acceptable. Also the other problem is that it left things up in the air too much for a final book. On a final book I want a complete resolution with all loose ends tied up. That just wasn't the case here. Now that I think back to the other two series she recently ended, neither of them had concrete endings, there was still at least one big unanswered question in both of those. Maybe that is just her style, to leave you wanting more, but to be honest I would still want more regardless, so I'd prefer everything to be completely settled in the end. 

To be honest, I waited several days before even attempting to review Shadow Heir because I knew it wouldn't have been a positive response until I had gained some space from it. It is just a shame because everything leading up to that point had been solid five start material, yet now I'm having a hard time rating it. Should I rate it a 5 based on the first 99% of the book, or dock it for the TERRIBLE ending? If I could rate it separate, the ending would only get a one or two, yet the rest a resounding five. If I just agree to disagree with her ending choice, then I can honestly say Shadow Heir was a stellar book, perhaps the best in the series.So in the end I have to say that I loved it, and the ending, when balanced out with the rest leave the book at just a little less than perfect. It truly was a roller coaster ride from start to finish that kept me utterly captivated.  Fans of the series will not want to miss this almost epic conclusion to the Dark Swan series.

(Received a copy from the Publisher)


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