Book Review – Shadow’s End

Shadow's End (Elder Races, #9)Shadow’s End by Thea Harrison

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I’m grinding my teeth right now, so I’ll keep it brief. There are two reviews in here, the first is an objective overall view of the book, the second is an emotional rage rant. The latter is extremely spoilery, but is a pivotal reason towards my rating. So read at your own risk?

Generally, I have to admit I really only like the first book in the series. I loved Dragon Bound, genuinely. I’m quite fond of Oracle’s Moon and Kinked was interesting because I was surprised by Aryal’s characterisation. None of the other books hold any charm for me. Even the one with Rune is boring, boring, boring. None of the other characters have ever captured me the way Pia, Dragos and Liam have – they could all just tan on the beach and I’d read it. So, I wasn’t really surprised when this one turned out to be a general bore as well. I adore Graydon, yes, but this series seems to plagued by the same thing that happened to Lisa Kleypas’ series – the secondary characters lose all their charm in their own books (Aryal being the exception). Sure, it’s got a high stakes plot, but this isn’t supported by an equivalent chemistry between the leads. There’s nothing wrong with a non-rollercoaster romance, but who wants to read it? These guys could have been summed in a page or two. Cameos are great, but Ms. Harrison’s talent really lies in writing humorous, light-hearted interactions which don’t happen here. The world-building’s rules seem to get more arbitrary over time and I, for one, am not a fan. Which is quite sad, because I was so enthused when I read the first book and I thought I had stumbled a gold mine like Ilona Andrews.

Now for the SPOILERY stuff.

The one time perked up during my extensive yawning was when Constantine, one of the elusive sentinels, made an appearance. He was, in just a page, one of the most intriguing characters in the series. Why was he so cynical and driven? Why was he always hungover? What would it be like if he found his mate? What made him different from the others? I was buzzing with all these thoughts and he turned out to be a sharp person as well, so I had high hopes. AND THEN HE FREAKING DIED.

I was totally speechless. just – WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY?

I still cannot think of one justifiable reason why a writer, who otherwise with a penchant for HEAs and vaguely waving away issues, would write in this particular scenario. Wait, I just figured it out. It was for the most insidious reason ever – to set up a situation for a following novella. A perfectly good, full length novel with the potential for interesting characterisation was killed off for a franchise trimming. The way I see it, Constantine died because there needed to be some reason for Liam to go to college.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Liam and I’m excited for him to develop. But now my rating for the novella is going to be lower because I’ve gotten the impression that this has entirely turned into a mass manufactured enterprise. I understand that authors have to make a living and so on, but I didn’t expect this from someone who wrote such a warm hearted first book. I currently console myself saying that this way I don’t have to worry about Constantine being boring in his own book.

So if I do keep reading this series (which seems unlikely), it will be when the stories exclusively focus on the Cuelebre family. Anything else and I set myself up for disappointment.

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