Title: SHADOW'S END
Series: Elder Races Series #9
Author: Thea Harrison
Format: Mass Market Paperback, 304 Pages
Published: Berkley (December 1, 2015)
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 Wine Glasses
The author of Lord’s Fall and Midnight’s Kiss returns with an enchanting and sizzling new tale about debts that cannot be repaid and hunger that cannot be satisfied…
For Beluviel, consort to the Elven High Lord, and Graydon, gryphon and First Sentinel of the Wyr, even the slightest desire for each other is forbidden. But two hundred years ago, after a desperate play to save Beluviel’s stepson left them indebted to the cruel Djinn Malphas, they found their fates inexorably linked together—and the hunger between them growing too strong to ignore…
Two centuries later, with their debt to Malphas coming due, Beluviel and Graydon realize that, if they are to stand any chance of saving their souls, they must once again work together—this time more closely than ever before. But every moment they spend with each other brings them nearer to losing something even more vital—their hearts…
“He closed his eyes. Swiftly like a predator, the vision of his death struck. This time it would not be denied.
The white ground, black rocks, and red drops of his heart's blood growing on the ground like blooming roses. He lost himself in the sensation of liquid warmth flowing between his fingers.
When he could finally see again, he found himself kneeling on the floor, shoulders hunched. That damned scene hung like an albatross around his neck, until he almost wished it would go ahead and happen, just so that he could get it the fuck over with.
He had carried that albatross for almost two hundred damn years - exactly from the moment when he had responded to a damsel in distress and had embroiled himself in another man's curse.”
SHADOW'S END by Thea Harrison is the ninth installment in the author's Elder Races series. The author has posted that this book should be read before reading LIAM TAKES MANHATTAN. LIAM TAKES MANHATTAN takes place immediately after the Masque of the Gods as chronicled in SHADOW'S END. If you read these books out of order, the author warns that there will be huge spoilers and it might take the reader a while to figure out what's going on. Actually, I believe that this whole series is best read in order.
I would not recommend that SHADOW'S END be read as a standalone The author's word-building through-out the series has been extensive and intricate plot details from previous books are integral to the full enjoyment of this story. SHADOW'S END is the heartbreaking story of Beluviel, consort to the Elven High Lord, and Graydon, gryphon and First Sentinel of the Wyr. Their fates have been inexorably tied to each other for two extremely long centuries. They are forbidden even the slightest desire for each other, but their hearts do not always listen to what is taboo.
I'm a huge fan of this series. SHADOW'S END was a good story, and my heart wept for the terrible burden that Graydon has carried for two hundred years. Graydon has always been one of my favorite stalwart characters in the book as Dragos' right-hand man. That said, I have to admit that the first part of this book dragged for me as the author went back in time telling how the noose had been effectively tightened around Graydon's neck long ago. The flashbacks seemed overly drawn out and were quite sad. From there, thankfully, the story picked up pace and I couldn't put the book down until I'd finished it. This book is required reading for fans of the series as there are some highly emotional, dramatic moments that will have major ripples in the demesne for a long time to come. Fate dealt Graydon a cruel hand and Graydon handled it more than honorably. I don't believe he could have made any another choice and stayed true to himself. All I can is wow.
Following please find a few of my favorite quotes from this read:
“Almost as if speaking to herself, she continued, I would love to fly. I've always wondered what it be like to have that sense of freedom.
A wistful note in her voice tugged at something deep inside him. He replied. I couldn't conceive of living without it. I can't imagine being forever grounded.”
“She paused and unexpectedly stroked her fingers down the feathers of his neck.
He froze. She couldn't know how intimate that seemed, or how sensitive he was to her touch even through the sleek covering of eagle feathers. Pleasure at being petted ran down his spine.
He should say something or step away. He did neither. Instead, ever so slightly, he leaned into her touch. It was wrong of him, but his wrong button seemed to be broken, and he didn't care.”
“Giving him a grateful nod, Graydon turned away.
A heavy hand fell on his shoulder, causing him to stop in his tracks. Dragos' grip clenched, almost to the point of pain. Normally, Dragos was not demonstrative with anyone other than Pia and Liam. Moved, Graydon angled his face away. After a moment, he reached up to grip the other man's hand in return. Only then did Dragos' hold ease and allow him to continue on his way.”
After reading this book, I hope to keep a wide berth from vile Djinns in the future. Malphas was heartless and despicable. I sincerely hope there's no more of villains like him in this series. Graydon is a true hero. Expect to have your heart broken. This book was heart-wrenchingly raw and not my favorite of the series, but I'm glad I've read it. I get so vested in these characters... and I admit to shedding some tears with this read. I recommend this series to anyone who enjoys riveting paranormal urban fantasies.
Suggested Reading Order:
Dragon Bound (Elder Races, #1)