Source: From author for review
She never asked for the undying loyalty of a necromancer.
1913. Austria-Hungary. Ardis knows better than to save a man on the battlefield. Even if he manages to be a charming bastard while bleeding out in the snow. She hasn't survived this long as a mercenary without some common sense.
When she rescues Wendel, it isn't because he's devilishly handsome, but because he's a necromancer. His touch can revive the dead, and Ardis worries he will return from the grave to hunt her down. Besides, a necromancer can be useful in this world on the brink of war.
A gentleman of questionable morals, Wendel drops to one knee and pledges his undying loyalty to Ardis. She resists falling for him, no matter how hot the tension smolders between them. Especially when she discovers Wendel's scars run much deeper than his skin, and it might be too late to truly save him from himself.AimeeKay's Thoughts:
I really enjoyed Shadows. The characters were fun and interesting, the story was intriguing and the world building was well done. However, there were a few points that bothered me. These points are the reason I'm giving it 4 out of 5 stars instead of a full 5. However that missing star I really don't think should stop you from giving this first book in the series a chance.
Let's start with what I did like.
I loved Ardis and Wendel! I know, they are the main characters, so obviously I'm going to hopefully like them right? But really I enjoyed everything about them. They are funny and addicting. I loved watching their verbal sparring. It was just plain fun. I also enjoyed the other characters as well. The supporting characters, like Konstantin, were interesting as well. I also really liked how all the characters just worked together and with the rest of the people in the world that Kincy has built. Sometimes in a novel a lot of the interactions between main characters and the rest of the characters in the world just seems stilted or padding, but the author really fit them in well. If anything at all, I wish that maybe I could have gotten to know some of the extra characters a bit more. But considering that this is the first book in the series, I'm gonna assume that I will get the chance in future installments.
I loved the story! I read A LOT of books and sometimes I find it easy to predict what is going to happen. Some things I did expect, but there were a few things that I didn't. Which was nice. For example, and I don't want to give anything away, but I did think one thing was going to happen in the romance department and it soooo didn't. It was a REALLY nice surprise. I'm not going to say what, like I said I don't want to spoil the story and the romance is a big part of it. I also really liked that while it is a romance, it isn't JUST a romance. There is lots of other stuff going on. There's action, adventure, mystery.
The world! I like the alternate history that Kincy has created. Interesting to see a world that doesn't use guns not because it doesn't have them, but because it can't anymore. I can't wait to see more of the world in the next books.
What I had issues with. Ok. So maybe some of these are just me. And yes, I know that a few might seem a bit petty. But they bothered me. Just to get it out of the way let's start with the pettiest. The cover. I liked the cover when we first saw it, I still do. However I don't think that the description given of Ardis in the book, matches the woman on the cover in one main way. Her hair. In the book it says she has "tawny lion-colored hair". But on the cover the woman's hair is black. I know this shouldn't bother me so much. But in the book Ardis's appearance is important. Her mixed heritage is constantly something that people notice. Especially the contrast between her hair color and the shape of her eyes. I pictured her with the lighter hair. So seeing a character with an obviously different hair color on the cover, well, it just bugs me. Like I said it's the pettiest reason, which is why I just wanted to get it out of the way. I know, I know, don't judge a book by its cover, and if the cover difference was the only issue I wouldn't have taken the star, I would have mentioned it since the cover is one of the main things that attracted me to the book in the first place, but I wouldn't have taken a star.
Ok on to my other issues. There are two. There are some spoilers here, so I apologize, but these things really bugged me.
The first is the insta-love/lust between Ardis and Wendel. The first few chapters really pushes the fact that Wendel being a necromancer is considered one of the worst things possible in the world Kincy has created. There is even a point where Ardis refuses to help Wendel up simply because he is one and she doesn't want to touch him. Yet, then she turns around and is attracted to him. I'm not saying that as a character she can't grow and overcome a prejudice. I understand it's needed to move the romantic part of the storyline along, however it just seems to happen REALLY quickly. So sorry it bugged me.
The second is the ending. I have a love/hate thing going on with it so please forgive any spoilers as I try to explain my view. Ok. Loved it because I love Ardis and Wendel. Things happen at the end to them and I'm glad they did. I also understand that the reason it ends the way it does is because it is the first book in a series. Honestly I think it is left in such a way to set it up for another book to happen. However. The ending just seemed rushed. After everything that had happened so far everything that happened at the end was just squished into the final pages. Again, personal opinion.
There those are my reasons good and bad for giving Shadows 4 out of 5 stars. I think overall it is a solid book. The ending prevents it from being a completely stand alone novel, too many strings left hanging and all that. But the characters are fun and the story is just great. I would definitely recommend this one. I will put in a disclaimer that this book isn't for kiddies though. Only recommending to 18+. Reason? Sex scenes. Well written and fun sex scenes, but still sex scenes. So please don't buy it for your kids. But definitely buy it for yourself!