Shadow Heir is the culminating book in the Dark Swan series by Richelle Mead. It does not follow the young adult genre as some of her more popular series portray. These novels are most definitely adult in nature, filled with sexual content and referenced violence and themes that may not necessarily be suitable for the younger reader.
But what would I know? Kids are getting pregnant at thirteen these days and are experienced by twenty, so this could just be light reading for some.
Jokes aside, this series follows the story of Eugenie Markham, born and raised in Tuscon, she has been trained to protect the mortal realm from the supernatural elements intent on crossing over from the land of faerie. A shaman-for-hire under the teachings of her adoptive father, Rolland, she has since discovered that her natural connection to the other realm is just a strong as her human interests. Curiosity, love, and fate drive Eugenie back into the land of Faerie to uncover her true origins and her natural connection to the land that she has fought so hard to avoid for the most part of her adult life.
Now knowing that she is the legendary Storm Kings daughter and that her powers over the weather were not merely coincidental, she has since accepted the blood that runs within, taken her place among her faerie brethren, claimed two kingdoms as her own, and tried to change the prophecy that has plagued her family for years.
Shadow Heir concludes this small series of four. Eugenie finally begins to respect the natures of both her worlds, her current and previous lovers, as well as her role as the Queen to both lands established via her powers. With acceptance comes a great deal of responsibility, and without ruining the plot line, there is a lot of personal sacrifice on her part. However, with great power, enemies also flourish, and despite strong alliances with other kingdoms and her never ending quest to protect the ones she loves, the push of the prophecy unveils evil potential in others, leading to a somewhat expected but nevertheless entirely satisfying ending.
Richelle Mead's writing style is as always ... flawless. I'm never jarred by her conversations and her flow of description is elegant and easy to read. With plenty of action, sex, consistent plot and characters, it was easy to get involved in the story. However, there were moments when I wanted to reach into the pages and kill some of the characters myself, but this was through no error of the author. I was merely engaged in the descriptive text and character creation - a great example of a successful story telling.
This series was not the best series I have ever read. Although the story did enthrall me, a lot of the outcomes through every book were not unexpected. I was not left guessing or wondering about anything. The writer consistently wrapped everything in a tidy bow. Perhaps this is my only criticism. I'm going to give this book three out of five stars - I liked it, but I liked some of the other books in this series more.
Synopsis: 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. Faerie 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 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 ...