28 December 2011

Review: Shadow Heir by Richelle Mead (Plus Dark Swan Giveaway Winner!)

The Book:

Eugenie Markham will do everything she can to protect her unborn children, but knows that it is getting harder and harder to avert the forces striving to make sure the Storm King's prophecy goes unfulfilled. As she struggles to make sure that both the mortal realm and the Otherworld lands stay safe, she faces the ultimate challenge when a blight strikes her Thorn Land and many more in the Otherworld. Eugenie realizes that only she will have the courage to find the way to protect all those she loves, whatever the cost.



The Yarn:

It was so hard to believe this is the last of the Dark Swan series. Eugenie has faced a long road becoming Queen of the Thorn and Rowan Lands, yet stay connected to her shamanic heritage in the mortal realm. As she works to protect the children that many are trying to destroy, another force brings a horrible blight upon her lands. In usual Eugenie headstrong fashion, she heads off to the place where the trouble originates, not knowing that this will be only one stop along a trail of trouble.

I have thoroughly enjoyed this series since the beginning. Many difficult topics are faced during these books, especially revolving around the prophecy of the Storm King's first grandson. Eugenie is headstrong as always but still vulnerable, having to fight against many who would either kill or use her not-yet-born child. Her relationships with both Dorian and Kiyo are addressed on different levels, as Eugenie must make decisions that not only affect her and her children, but those who live on both sides of the Gate between the two worlds.

Eugenie has had to face a lot of tough challenges through the series (no spoilers this time!), and faced disagreement with those she loved because of them. I will say there was disagreement in this reader with some of the choices she has made, however there has not been one that I did not respect, even if I did not agree. I believe that this actually made this fantasy more "real", as you can see definite parallels with choices that Eugenie makes with those faced by others during life. To me, that makes a believable protagonist in a story. When I start thinking "Would I have done what she did?", then I know that I not only empathize with the character, but I have been pulled wholeheartedly into the story. I can see that some of the sequences may not please every reader, and I felt a lot of "But what is going to happen now?" at the end of Shadow Heir.

Mead did not skimp on the emotional turmoil of her protagonist, but it is these feelings that connected me to Eugenie through all of the books. Mead has successfully built an intricate world with the Otherlands, and I will definitely miss it.

The Ink:

Title: Shadow Heir (Dark Swan, #4)
Author: Richelle Mead
Publisher: Zebra
Date: December 27, 2011
Read: ARC Provided by Publisher

DARK SWAN GIVEAWAY WINNER!

Congratulations go out to SKYLA11377. Skyla11377, you have won the first three books of the Dark Swan series (Storm Born, Thorn Queen, Iron Crowned)! I will send you an email shortly to verify your information, then send that on to the publisher to mail your books out. Thanks again to Kensington Books for supporting this giveaway.

Happy Reading!