Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Review: Shadow's End

SHADOW'S END
A Novel of the Elder Races #9
Thea Harrison
Paranormal Romance
320 pages
Berkley
Available December 1st
Source: ARC from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
For Beluviel, consort to the Elven High Lord, and Graydon, gryphon and First Sentinel of the Wyr, even the slightest desire for each other is forbidden. But two hundred years ago, after a desperate play to save Beluviel’s stepson left them indebted to the cruel Djinn Malphas, they found their fates inexorably linked together—and the hunger between them growing too strong to ignore…

Two centuries later, with their debt to Malphas coming due, Beluviel and Graydon realize that, if they are to stand any chance of saving their souls, they must once again work together—this time more closely than ever before. But every moment they spend with each other brings them nearer to losing something even more vital—their hearts…


MY THOUGHTS
For lovers of the Elder Races series like myself, the wait for Graydon's story has tested the boundaries of our patience as we've watched everyone around him pair off book after book. He won many a reader’s heart in the first book even when pitted against the sheer immensity of Dragos’s personality and his role as hero, and we’ve since waited and wondered when Ms. Harrison would gift us with his turn at leading man. One of the main concerns when cracking the spine of a romance like this that features a beloved secondary character finally granted their time in the spotlight is that their story won’t quite meet the absurdly high expectations a long wait creates, something that was sadly the case in this ninth installment.

The first third of Graydon and Bel’s story is told in one long flashback, sending us two hundred years into the past so that we may bear witness to the beginning of their courtship and the steps that led to their bargain with pariah Djinn, Malphas. Part of the problem with flashbacks (for me personally) is the feeling of missing out on something in the present, and while the events leading up to Gray and Bel’s deal with the devil are intrinsic to the story as a whole, their romance during that time feels rushed and lacking in the spark we’ve come to expect from Ms. Harrison’s couples. We then fast forward to the present and begin gearing up for the big showdown, but between one chapter and the next we've missed out on two hundred years of emotional fallout.

Because of their deal with Malphas, Gray and Bel have a forbidden relationship, one that was poised to give us all the feels as they struggled against Malphas’s invisible shackles, but the split timeline gives us the formation of a relationship at novella-length speed before breaking for two centuries and then resuming that love as though no time had passed. All the tension, need, and thwarted desire is left somewhere in the 200 years we missed out on, and their interactions in the present, while enjoyable, are missing the banter, antagonism, and–most of all–the heat that characterized the previous romances.

Ms. Harrison does pack an emotional wallop outside the romance at the end of this story, and it’s sure to be nothing short of ugly-cry inducing for Elder Races fans. That said however, Gray and Bel do get their happily ever after and we also get a sneak peek at some interesting things to come for Dragos, Pia and Liam. Though this was perhaps not the strongest installment despite Gray being an Elder Races favorite, this series is still one not to be missed.

Rating: 3.5/5

Find Thea:

This book was sent to me by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of a review
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.

21 comments:

  1. I have the 2 first books in the series but I haven't tried them yet. I should!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. YES YOU SHOULD! This series is a favorite of mine Melliane:)

      Delete
  2. Awww, yeah I kinda figured this one wouldn't live up to expectations when I read the blurb on the back. While I love Gray, the premise of his book doesn't thrill me. Sorry this one was just ok.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think I just built this one up too much in my head, I wanted so much to love this story and I just didn't feel the connection between Gray and Bel the way I wanted to:(

      Delete
  3. I hate when the romance you are looking towards the most doesn't live up to the expectations. There's nothing worse than a lack luster romance. It makes me feel bad for the character and believe they've been cheated out on a great HEA unlike the other characters.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was really bummed Rummanah! I think if I wasn't so madly in love with Gray this would have been a perfectly great installment, but it just didn't quite do him justice in my opinion.

      Delete
  4. Ahh forbidden romance! You know how much I love that. That's a bummer though that the couple's chemistry and interactions didn't live up to the previous couples, Jenny. Still, I'm glad you enjoyed it overall.
    Lovely review!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't know Nick, I'm weird about flashbacks. I really don't like them unless their short, so 100+ pages of flashback to start things off was not what I'd hoped for. It just split their romance up in a weird way for me and I felt like I was missing out.

      Delete
  5. I absolutely LOVE (should be underlined a million times along with exclamation points) the Elder Races series and have awaited Graydon's story for what seems like forever. Can't wait to read this and thanks for sharing your thoughts Jenny.
    Pam

    ReplyDelete
  6. Replies
    1. Right? I was surprised when I saw that number too:)

      Delete
  7. I cant' believe there are already nine books, it seems like yesterday you were telling me to read this series. Will I ever catch up on all that I want to read? Have a Happy Thanksgiving, Jenny.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know! You finally got on the Ilona Andrews train so maybe you can hop on this one soon too:)

      Delete
  8. Sorry this was lacking in many ways but I am glad you at least finally got a book for him and his love. I can't believe I haven't started this series yet!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope you give it a try Ali, I have so much fun with these books even when one isn't quite as strong as I'd have liked.

      Delete
  9. It's always a bummer when a story doesn't live up to our expectations.
    And I agree with you, flashbacks can work, but not always. I usually prefer when we get alternate present time and flashbacks, because I feel we're not missing as much!
    Great review Jenny!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly! I think if we'd been mostly in the present with a few flashbacks to highlight important moments I would have been fine, but the extended flashback was a challenge for me. I kept flipping ahead to see how much longer until we were back to the present.

      Delete
  10. I've been watching your reviews of this series for YEARS! And even got the first but still haven't read it. One of these days...

    ReplyDelete
  11. Oh no ugly crying. This series is one I have debated starting Jenny..thanks for the insight :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. I don't know why I never did pick up these books. It sounds like a great series!

    ReplyDelete