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I Belong


Review: Shadow’s End by Thea Harrison

Title: Shadow’s End

Author: Thea Harrison

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Series: Elder Races (Book #9)

Publication Date: December 1, 2015

Format: Paperback, 294 Pages

ISBN-10: 042527439X (Penguin/Berkley)

ISBN-13: 978-0425274392 (Penguin/Berkley)

Reviewed by: Stephanie

Synopsis:

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…

Quick & Dirty: A slow first third of the book makes this one a hard story to love in the long running Elder Races series.

Opening Sentence: With one blunt forefinger, Graydon tapped out a text on his smartphone.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

200 years ago, sentinel and gryphon Graydon agreed to help Elf Consort Beluviel find her stepson. In the course of the following nights, they fell in love. When they find Ferion in the clutches of pariah Djinn Malphas, they are forced to make a bargain: they will never make love again or reveal their relationship, and Malphas will not force Ferion to do anything against his will. 200 years later, Graydon finally has enough evidence against Malphas to bring to the tribunal, who will hopefully agree to help defeat the Djinn. As the stakes ramp up, though, it becomes apparent that not everyone is going to survive the coming fight. Will Beluviel and Graydon ever be able to act on their love for each other, or will they be destined to pine for each other from afar?

This series has been very up and down for me throughout its run. I really enjoyed the previous installment though, and I’ve always loved Graydon, so my hopes were high. Unfortunately, the romance really fell flat, and in a romance novel, that’s definitely a bad thing. I have never been a fan of insta-love stories, and this one is no exception. I was rolling my eyes when Graydon started mentioning the “l” word after just one night with Beluviel. It just makes a story unbelievable for me and takes me right out of the action. I will say, though, that Beluviel and Graydon definitely have chemistry. Their scenes together are great, but I just couldn’t believe the love part of it so quickly.

Due to that factor, the story really drags on until around the 35 percent mark, which is when Malphas finally shows up. Once he’s present, everything really ramps up and becomes exciting. There were even times as the book neared the final battle that I had a very hard time putting the book down. The final battle is very satisfying and exciting, but then the pace falls back off once it’s over. The flow of the book was just very choppy at times.

We do get to see a handful of past main characters, including Dragos and Pia, which was nice. I love being able to revisit former heroes and heroines in series and see how their lives are going. It was great getting to see some old favorites again. What’s sad is they really overshadowed this book’s hero and heroine in their scenes together.

All in all, this one was a disappointment to me. The exciting bits could never fully make up for that extremely slow first third of the book. As much as I wanted to love it, I just didn’t. This book really makes me wonder if it’s perhaps time for the series to start winding up. I’m in it for the long haul, but I won’t be as excited to read the next one.

Notable Scene:

Just when she had convinced herself they were alone, something invisible brushed her cheek, carrying with it a sense of ill will.

A figure solidified in front of her. It took on the appearance of a handsome man, with a face like an angel, with golden hair and eyes that shone like sparkling diamonds, but the appearance was a lie. He was no physical man, but a Djinn.

Fear crawled through her body. Normally, when the Djinn appeared, they did so in a whirl of Power like a tornado. This Djinn had masked his Power to creep up on them like a predator stalking its prey.

Movement blurred at the corner of her vision as, with a gigantic spring, Graydon leaped to her side.

“What an interesting scenario I have stumbled upon,” said the Djinn. “One of the Wyr sentinels having a tender moment with an Elven lady who is not his.” He gave them both a glittering, hard smile that vanished in the next moment. “If I am not mistaken, it is the very same sentinel and lady who visited my establishment late last night. An establishment, I might add, that I had grown quite fond of, and that, as of this morning, is no longer in existence. Coincidence? I do wonder.”

“You’re Malphas,” Graydon growled. He stood so close to her, their shoulders touched, and his energy bristled with protectiveness and aggression.

“Indeed, I am,” said Malphas. “I believe I’m in possession of something you want.”

She bit out, “Where is my son?”

The look he gave them was so hostile and full of rage, Bel controlled an entirely useless impulse to lunge for her sword.

Swords were useless in a battle against the Djinn. “He is at the manor, but then you already knew that, or you wouldn’t be here. He’s had a rough night, and he’s sleeping it off.”

Rage washed over her, obliterating the fear. As she lunged forward, Graydon’s arm snaked around her waist, and he held her back. She cried, “What did you do to him?”

“You’ll have to come see for yourself,” said Malphas.

“No doubt you can find your own way up the hill to the manor. Don’t expect breakfast, and be prepared to beg when you arrive.”

The Djinn vanished.

Elder Races:

1. Dragon Bound

2. Storm’s Heart

3. Serpent’s Kiss

3.5 True Colors

4. Oracle’s Moon

4.5 Natural Evil

4.6 Devil’s Gate

4.7 Hunter’s Season

5. Lord’s Fall

5.5 The Wicked

6. Kinked

6.5 Dragos Takes a Holiday

6.6 Pia Saves the Day

6.7 Peanut Goes to School

7. Night’s Honor

8. Midnight’s Kiss

8.5 Dragos Goes to Washington

8.6 Pia Takes Hollywood

9. Shadow’s End

9.5 Liam Takes Manhattan

9.6 Dragos Meets Stinkpot

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FTC Advisory: Penguin/Berkley provided me with a copy of Shadow’s End. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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