Monday, February 6, 2012

Review (Urban Fantasy) | Shadow City by Diana Pharaoh Francis

BOOK DESCRIPTION:
The world is falling apart. The magical apocalypse has come. Now is the time to guard the covenstead against both raiders and refugees. But Max has been stolen by a powerful demi-god who is determined to force her to find a way to use a magical power she never knew she had—even if it kills her. Meanwhile, back in Horngate, a Fury is birthing. When the creature breaks free of the fragile bonds that enclose her, her rage will scour the covenstead from the earth. 

Max finds herself in the Shadow City, a place of mysteries and magic, where she must battle for her freedom or become a slave to creatures of dreadful greed and power. Back in Horngate, Alexander must swallow his anger and pride if he hopes to defeat the Fury, a creature that no one has ever successfully fought before. 

In the end, it will be courage, friendship, faith and loyalty that win the day. Or else so one will live to see tomorrow.

MY VIEW:
Just recently released, Shadow City is the third book in the Horngate Witches urban fantasy series and continues its successful formula of non-stop action and appealing supernatural characters. As with many series novels, Shadow City keys off of events from the preceding book, Crimson City. Max has been dealt away by Giselle the head witch and she is now separated from her fellow Shadowblade and lover Alexander. This creates a gripping and pervasive tension throughout the book as each wonders if they will ever be reunited.

Suspense is added to this tension as both main characters are placed in significant peril. There are two stories being told; Alexander and the covenstead try to save themselves from the devastation of a birthing Fury and Max embarks on a seemingly suicidal quest with the demi-god in the fabled magical Shadow City. No matter how desperate the situation becomes, the camaraderie of the Horngate characters shines through creating an empathy and desire to know them. And of course to mourn their loss. The stakes have been raised in the series and you realize that anyone could be lost at any moment. The result - a much edgier urban fantasy than the genre usual.

The saying, "What doesn't kill you , makes you stronger" certainly applies to Shadow City with Alexander, Max and Giselle all emerging with personal epiphanies as well as changing relationships among the secondary players. Love, loyalty and the nature of friendship are constant themes.

On a world-building note, new and original supernatural creatures are introduced in both stories keeping things fresh and interesting. In some cases these new "characters" are here to stay and attach themselves to members of the Horngate family.

No particular cliff-hangers are introduced although there is some unfinished business and foreshadowing which I am sure will play out in future installments. If you are looking for high energy adventure in your urban fantasy with characters you can care about, then this is your ticket. The author has raised the bar on this series and I very much look forward to what is yet to come.

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781451613858
  • Publisher: Pocket Books
  • Publication date: 12/27/2011
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 384
  • Series: Horngate Witches #3

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