Author: Karen Chance
Release: July 31st 2018
I received a copy of Shadow’s Bane from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Shadow’s Bane is the fourth installment in the Dorina Basarab series. It’s set in the same world as the Cassandra Palmer series, which I love (the more series in the same world = more world development for me, yay!). I’ve been a fan of this series for a while; I love the complex systems and politics that are in play. There’s vampire politics, mage politics, fae politics, and of course the politics of dealing with all of those people at once. While I would hate to have to deal with it personally, I really love seeing the main characters of this series sort it out.
For the record, I’m a huge dhampir snob. As far as I’m concerned, there are only two dhampir characters that don’t make me want to yank my hair out due to frustration; Blade (because who could possibly hate Blade), and Dorina. Both have specific and well-argued reasons for be able to exist, and both deal with the consequences of their existence. I love these two characters because rather than having their dhampir nature make their lives perfect and easy (a cheap way around vampirism, really), it actually makes things harder, on the whole. Especially for Dory.
What Dory goes through in these stories is actually so human it’s painful. All she’s ever wanted deep down is to find a family and be accepted. But being two natured, by being neither vampire nor human, she found herself ostracized by both societies she wanted into. That’s something a lot of readers can probably sympathize with, as trying to find a spot in the world to belong in is really a core part of human nature. It’s one of the many reasons I love Dory and this series.
The other reason I love this series is the absurdity and chaos that is inherent to the plot. Karen Chance is no afraid of showing us the less clean elements of magic and supernaturals. Sometimes that means that things get gory, sometimes that means a magical artifact will suddenly decide it no longer wants to follow orders and go rogue. You just never know. Because magic.
I’m so happy that Shadow’s Bane is finally here, I’m having trouble finding the words to express it (seriously, I rewrote this simple sentence at least four times until I was happy with it, which is pretty sad). The last novel was so epic but also left me with a lot of questions. Those questions have been multiplying as I waited for the next installment, so my head was basically a buzzing when I sat down to read this.
And I have this to say; it was totally worth it. While Shadow’s Bane didn’t answer all of my questions (it could have been a twelve hundred page book and not answered every question I have) it handled a huge chunk of them. And it may have added a couple to the list, but I’m okay with that trade off.
As a reminder, there’s a ton of stuff happening in the world right now. The mages and vampires are on the brink of war, the fae are creating mayhem, and don’t even get my started on the internal issues going on inside all three races (multiple factions inside each one can cause problems, I suppose).
And somehow Dory managed to plant her butt right in the middle of it, as per usual. In the last novel it was announced that she was going to be put on the Vampire Senate; this position was clearly stated as being temporary (lasting only the length of the war), but still. It’s not like she doesn’t have a ton on her plate as it is.
Unfortunately the pile of stuff Dory has to deal with in this novel doesn’t stop there; I swear at times it felt like every chapter was designed to come up with more problems and complications for her. I don’t know how she manages to not crumble under all of the stress (I know I would), but somehow she does it.
There are so many twists and turns in this novel it’s impossible to predict what’s going to happen next, let alone how it will end. I loved this – there certainly was never a boring moment to be found. The introduction of half a dozen new characters helped to create depth to the world and problems at hand (a very real and new one cropped up during the course of this book, and it was pretty horrifying once it all unfolded), and obviously that also added to the chaos as well.
I think I’m probably going to have to sit down and reread Shadow’s Bane, but that’s a good thing in this case. There’s so much going on it’s hard to keep it all straight, and I find it very important to have a good grasp on everything before I move on to the next novel (which is sadly a fair bit away. What a shame).
I’m assuming the next novel we see will be a Cassandra Palmer novel, which I’m more than fine with, but I’m very much looking forward to the next installment for Dory. Thankfully I’m also really curious about the world wide events that are going on, so I’m not going to be picky about which series gets the next book, I just want more.