Title: Radiant Shadows
Author: Melissa Marr
Page Count: 352 pages
Genre: young adult, urban fantasy
50 words or less: Ani is a half-human, half-Hound who needs to feed on touch and emotion to survive. Devlin is an assassin who toes a thin line between reason and war. Even though staying apart seems like the right thing to do, sometimes, love is the only solution to an impossible problem.
Ye be warned: here there may be spoilers, either for this book or for previous books in the series (more likely the latter.)
Well, hot damn. There's nothing quite as satisfying as experiencing a book that totally lived up to my expectations. I've enjoyed all of the books in this series so far, but Radiant Shadows was where the setting, characters, plots, and details really started to come together in a way that definitely stokes my interest in the next (last?) volume.
The story picks up the reins where Fragile Eternity left off- Seth made his deal with Sorcha of the High Court for Sight, in order to facilitate him competing with Keenan of the Summer Court for Aislinn's affections. Ani, Gabriel's daughter, of the Dark Court, is becoming more Houndly every day, although it's getting harder and harder for her to maintain strength since she feeds off not only touch, as all Hounds do, but emotion as well. And when your dad is the leader of the Wild Hunt and won't let you date anyone who can't best him in battle, that means you're on a pretty short leash, which irritates Ani to no end.
Devlin, who is equal parts reason and war and serves as assassin for Sorcha, never thought he'd have the opportunity to really have a life of his own, and for the most part that was true, until one fated decision years ago meant that his life was entwined with Ani's, for better or worse.
This is definitely a series to start reading from the beginning, because there are definitely important things in each book that support involvement of later installments, but this book is definitely about the ancillary characters and what their role in the ultimate resolution of the story will be. I really enjoyed that Devlin and Ani never really try to fight their attraction to each other; instead, they focus on figuring out how to overcome the crazy obstacles against them, which served to advance the plot at a good clip. It's a pretty common pitfall in books about faeries that the politics and schemes and trivial details can sometimes unite to overpower the plot and slow the pace of the story down to a crawl; I'm eternally thankful that that never happened here.
My favorite character in the book: Ani's Steed, Barry. No contest. Watching Ani come into her own as a Hound was excellent, and made the ultimate resolution of the conflicts in the story especially satisfying.
The blogosphere is chock full of positive reviews of this book, so all I'll say in closing is this. If you've given thought to reading this series, do yourself a favor and don't start here. Go back to the start of the series (Wicked Lovely) and read the series in order to get the full effect. When you get to this story, it'll be all the more enjoyable.
Overall Grade: A
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