Reading level: Adult
Mass market paperback: 313 pages
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release date: July 3, 2012
Series: Shaede Assassin #2
Reviewed by: Stéphanie
She needed a bargaining chip and this was it. Raif’s daughter’s life for hers. And he knew damn good and well I was right. Just like he’d assured me the night I’d killed Azriel, this was far from over. His daughter was alive. I knew it. And I was going to find her.
For months, Darian and her Shaede guardian, Raif, have searched for the Oracle who attempted to overthrow the Shaede Nation–and kill Darian in the bargain. But now that they’ve finally found the half-crazed Oracle, they are granted a possibility too painful for Raif to imagine and too enticing for Darian to ignore.
Darian is determined to reunite Raif and the daughter he thought was dead, but her mission quickly proves dangerous when her lover, Tyler, is almost killed. And when a brooding and mysterious Fae warrior offers his guidance–at an extraordinary price–Darian finds herself willing to risk everything. As her single-minded hunt turns into an obsession, and she and Tyler grow further apart, Darian finds herself caught between the man she loves like a brother and the man whose love she can’t live without…
If Amanda Bonilla caught my attention with SHAEDES OF GRAY, book one of the Shaede Assassin novels, she’s made me a fan of the series with BLOOD BEFORE SUNRISE. While I enjoyed the first of the series a little more, this sequel exceeded my expectations. For some reason, I was expecting a sequel slump but I think I was able to enjoy it so much because we learn so much more about this wonderful paranormal world Bonilla has created. Although, I do agree with the main character Darian when she says, “Why do you all wait until the last f**king second to tell anyone anything?” (p. 249) While I understand keeping characters in the dark about certain things, sometimes revealing a little can help a lot with the flow of the story. I think, in this case, too much was revealed right at the end, but I’m not a writer so I won’t complain too much! I’m sure the lack of information is what kept me reading.
Darian is such a wonderful character and obviously she’s the back bone of this series. As a shaede, not only can she become one with the shadows and disappear from human eyes during the night, her new powers enable her to do the same with light during the daylight hours, marking her as the perfect assassin. Her depressing history as a physically and mentally abused woman really makes you understand where her tough girl attitude comes from. Obviously, she never wants to feel powerless again, and I think her antagonist in this book is one of her worst enemies because he has the capacity to control and make her do things she doesn’t remember or doesn’t want to do. Her shortcomings against this enemy makes her feel weak but eventually she draws her strength from those who love her, to get out of some tricky situations.
As the story progress, we learn more and more about Darian’s new role as a “Guardian.” Confounding riddles makes her desperate for more information and she even stoops to thieving and paranormal law-breaking to find out more about her current situation. Old enemies resurface as she battles an unknown enemy who’s trying to hurt her and making her lover Tyler ill with jealousy and overprotectiveness. And through all this, she’s trying to find her mentor’s long lost daughter because for some odd reason, Darian decided she must be alive. Even with all this going on, the author took the time to expand on Darian and Tyler’s relationship. I like the way Bonilla expanded without taking things too far. Obviously, she leaving that part of the story unfinished in order to keep things fresh in future books. There’s nothing worse than having the same love story told over and over again in, every book of a series.
Readers, especially women, will draw strength from the Darian character. Her ability to overcome harsh situations really makes her the perfect paranormal heroine. This is an urban fantasy world you’ll definitely want to delve into because of its cleverness and its originality. Book three of the series is coming out March 5th, 2013 and I’ve already marked the date on my calendar! I’m actually glad that it took me a while to pick up this book because now I won’t have to wait too long for the next one!