Saturday, December 31, 2011

Shadow Heir, by Richelle Mead

Release date: December 27th 2011
Published by: Zebra
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Rating: 2/5 stars

This review has spoilers of Shadow Heir. If you have not read this book and don't wish to know anything before doing it, please don't continue reading this. 

#1 New York Times bestselling author Richelle Mead returns to the Otherworld, a mystic land inextricably linked to our own--and balanced precariously on one woman's desperate courage...

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.

My thoughts:

I can’t believe I’m giving 2 stars to one of my favorite series (and favorite author). Richelle Mead’s previous series, Georgina Kincaid, and Vampire Academy, were fantastic, but just like this one, the final book let me down. The only difference, though, is the level of disappointment. I was so angry, frustrated and sad at the end of this book that I almost cried.

Eugenie Markham, after 4 books and plenty of adventures, fights, etc etc, still managed to act like a teenager sometimes. And yes, I get it that Richelle Mead wanted her main character to feel and act like a human, and have flaws, but to me, she just looked immature. Most of the time, I don’t really bother with this particular characteristic of the main character, but oh, this got on my nerves as the book progressed.

To be quite honest, I didn’t notice much development in the characters throughout the series except, maybe, Jasmine and Dorian. They were awesome, especially in Shadow Heir. Dorian simply made his feelings and wishes pretty clear, putting aside his greed for power. I loved him for it.

But one huge disappointment is the plot itself. Or maybe I should ask, what plot? Shadow Heir didn’t feel like a final book. First, there’s a villain that didn’t add anything to the story, let alone help conclude it. It was obvious who this villain was since the beginning, and their whole journey to stop this evil, evil character was just unnecessary. There were so many other things that Richelle Mead could’ve explored in Shadow Heir, and a new issue with the seasons in the Otherworld is not one of them. The bigger things, like the Storm King’s prophecy and consequences in the human world, and her own fate regarding whether she’d choose one world or the other, was simply put aside.

Yes, Eugenie’s pregnancy did play a big role, and I enjoyed it, mostly because Eugenie’s feelings about her children were so raw and real, it was obvious the author was putting her own thoughts there, since she just had a baby. But after that was resolved, everything was so rushed I felt lost. If Shadow Heir were two books instead of one (and I know that at first, it was supposed to be), things could’ve get worked out a lot better. There were so many things thrown at us just to finish the series and wrap everything up, that it all felt convenient.

I was particularly anxious to see how the Storm King’s prophecy would be dealt with. And, big surprise, there was a hell of a twist in the end, that just solved the problem for Eugenie. But that’s not all. Another big discovery in the very end, and the paternity problem was also resolved. A little convenient, it seemed.

Like I said, there was so much in this book going on, and in the end, I had the feeling nothing had changed at all. Prophecy, a new villain, the babies, personal issues, the romance developing, character growth… it’s too much for just, what, 350 pages? And when I finished Shadow Heir, I just sat there, on my bed, at 3 o’clock in the morning, thinking, what?

By all of this, my frustration is perfectly justified, right?

No, it’s not, because the part that actually bothered me and drove me over to the edge was the ending. Even now, I can feel my blood boiling in anger. How, oh GOD, did my favorite series came down to this? One of the big discoveries in the end left me so happy I almost began to cry in joy. And then, in the next chapter, I couldn’t believe what I was reading.

Eugenie, my dear, you find out that the bloody fox was actually lying about being the father of your children, and reveal that, actually, Dorian is Ivy and Isaac’s dad, and you decide not to tell him that? You decide to hide this from him, because, according to you, it’s safer for the kids if they don’t live in the Otherworld?

Oh, please, please, don’t do this. This decision, this particular and peculiar decision, angered me so much I almost stopped reading right there. Not two chapters ago, Eugenie was thinking about how her relationship with Dorian could be rebuilt, how she wanted to trust him, and base the aforementioned relationship on love and trust… and then she does this? It’s hypocrite, it’s ridiculous!

First of all, she made this decision alone, because she thought that telling Dorian he had kids would result in a very protective father trying to stay with his children in the Otherworld. And, even though Dorian would lift a city and do anything to protect Ivy and Isaac, it’d still be dangerous for them. Of course he would want to protect his own children! This is the man whose biggest dream is being a father and, let’s not forget, with Eugenie at his side. And yet, she hides this from him?

Again I say, hypocrite! This is the world’s worst decision ever made. It couldn’t disappoint me more. I remember I almost burst in tears when that old woman revealed Eugenie’s pregnancy in Dorian’s castle, and Dorian couldn’t even breathe, thinking her children was his. And how, over and over, he said to her that it would mean the world to him if Eugenie was the mother of his children. And then, in Shadow Heir, Eugenie just decides to hide it from him?

Dorian deserved to know. He deserved to have these kids, to be a father, because he gave everything to Eugenie, and in return, she kept Ivy and Isaac from him. After everything he endured for her, after their talk about trust and love, she still made this decision alone. Dorian had the right to know, he had the right to decide along with her if Ivy and Isaac were better off in the Otherworld or in the human world. And let me be honest here: With two monarchs as powerful as Dorian and Eugenie, and three kingdoms, I think Ivy and Isaac would have a lot of protection. And oh, it would've been so beautiful, so heart-warming if Dorian knew. Can you imagine his reaction to this revelation? Knowing that his biggest dream has become true? I can, and again, I want to cry for this not happening.

The fact that one of my favorite characters ever came down to this broke my heart, along with the fact that Dorian was kept in the dark, and the ones who deserved to die, or at least get their asses kicked (ahem, the fox and the bitchy queen) just went away, without a single hair out of place.

Richelle Mead has disappointed and frustrated me before. But never like this. And I’ve never felt this awful after reading one of her novels. Even now, I want to cry and scream my frustration. I just can’t believe Dark Swan’s final book was such a disappointment. I think a lot of people will love this book, but I just didn't. All I have now is the hope that Bloodlines won’t be as messed up as this series. 

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