(Shaede Assassin #1)
Release: December 6, 2011
When Darian's next mark turns out to be Xander Peck, King of the Shaede Nation, her whole worldview is thrown into question. Darian begins to wonder if she's taken on more than her conscience will allow. But a good assassin never leaves a job unfinished...
"I am a killer and I answer to no one. I am my own woman, my own kingdom, and I am afraid of nothing."Shaedes of Gray is a fast-paced and unique urban fantasy and Amanda Bonilla is an author I'll be keeping my eye on!
The synopsis for this really just tells you how the story begins. Darian has been alone for years. She was created (meaning turned from a regular human into a Shaede) roughly 100 years ago by her lover. Unfortunately, he only stuck around a few years before abandoning her. Even worse, he didn't really explain to her what it means to be a Shaede and he convinced her she was the last of her kind. Darian can pass into the shadows at night and almost float between them like she is invisible. During the daytime Darian is unable to leave her body and become a shadow. The opposite of the Shaedes are the Lyhtans, disgusting creatures that look like monsters instead of humans. They can become almost invisible during the daytime, passing into sunlight. These supernatural creatures, the Shaedes and the Lyhtans, that author Amanda Bonilla created are very original and a nice change from all the vampires and werewolves roaming around lately.
Darian eventually became an assassin since the profession fits so well with her ability to pass into the night and become virtually invisible. A few years before the start of the novel, she began working through assassination middle man Tyler. Darian and Tyler have a strained relationship when the book starts. It is clear they are attracted to each other, but Darian keeps Tyler at arm's length and doesn't want to get involved with him since they work together.
"I didn't know if I loved Tyler. At the moment, I didn't even know if I liked him. Aside from his constant proclamation of I'm yours, I had no clue whatsoever to his true feelings. What the hell was that supposed to mean anyway? I'm yours. My what? My slave, my guardian, my own personal pain in the ass? Of course he cared about me. . . But what was this between us? I knew about as much about tender feelings as I did my own Shaede nature. Would I even recognized love if it slapped me in the face?"I didn't really like the point in their relationship that the author chose to start us at. I felt a little confused. . . Was I supposed to like Tyler? Would he become the love interest? I kind of wish I could have seen their interest in each other build instead of being thrown into them already kind of liking each other but not really sure.
Tyler did eventually grow on me. He's annoyingly overprotective of Darian and while I can understand his reasoning I also wanted him to just let her be sometimes. She is a trained assassin who can disappear at night time after all. But Tyler's unwavering feelings for Darian (and his tousled golden hair) eventually won me over. By the end of the story I was definitely on Team Tyler.
"He lifted his head and a lopsided grin made a welcome appearance.You might be wondering, if there's a Team Tyler, what's the other team? Well, it's not so much a Team as a gathering. Xander is the King of the Shaedes (although much is left to our imagination about his "kingdom" and where all these other Shaedes are). Xander is arrogant and mysterious and keeps a lot from Darian. I was immediately intrigued by him and thought at first that I would be rooting for a relationship between him and Darian. Eventually, however, my lust for King Xander died out a bit as it became clear that he was simply interested in Darian because of what she is. In order for this to be a stronger love triangle we would have needed to see some more passion on Xander's end. With all that said, however, he does still interest me and I'm curious what his role will be in the sequel.
'I meant what I said. You don't have to love me back. But you will eventually.'"
"Jesus. What had I done to deserve this kind of attention? I wasn't charming by any standards, and my sarcastic quips couldn't possibly be that attractive. I did not have time for these ridiculous, dramatic, soap-opera moments."Darian is the main character and the book is told from her first person POV. When the story starts she is tough, apathetic, and a loner who has no problem taking money to kill bad guys. She believes she is the only Shaede in the world and is still not over being abandoned by her love and maker. Darian's tough exterior unravels a bit when she is faced with several truths presented to her throughout the story. She is a good heroine, strong but with feelings hiding below her cold surface, but sometimes she made some dumb decisions.
There is a trick authors sometimes employ that irks me. . . it's the, "Here is something obvious but we're going to have the character ignore it" game and I never enjoy it. Darian was often a smart character, thinking about all the details before stepping into "battle", but just as often she was a total idiot! First, her maker walks off one night and leaves her and she simply assumes he is dead and everything he told her is still true. Second, she ignores obvious detail after obvious detail about Tyler, right up until the story's ending battle. Third, Darian is given something to combat and kill Lyhtan and simply forgets it at home time and time again!
I did actually like Darian, in fact I really loved this book. I'm being overly critical of it because I loved it so much and I hope the rest of the series will smooth out these little details. I look forward to reading the next in the series, Blood Before Sunrise, which I already have sitting on my shelf. Shaedes of Gray is creative and distinct and I think fans of urban fantasy will find an appealing read with this one. Look past the minor issues for the great story underneath.
Recommended for fans of: urban fantasy, unique paranormal creatures, and up and coming authors.