Book Review: Shadow Heir (Dark Swan #4) by Richelle Mead

Shaman-for-hire Eugenie Markham strives to keep the mortal realm safe from trespassing entities. But as the Thorn Land's prophecy-haunted queen, there's no refuge for her and her soon-to-be-born-children when a mysterious blight begins to devastate the Otherworld...

The spell-driven source of the blight isn't the only challenge to Eugenie's instincts. Fairy king Dorian is sacrificing everything to help, but Eugenie can't trust the synergy drawing them back together. The uneasy truce between her and her shape shifter ex-lover Kiyo is endangered by secrets he can't--or won't--reveal. And as a formidable force rises to also threaten the human world, Eugenie must use her own cursed fate as a weapon--and risk the ultimate sacrifice...

Release Date: December 27, 2011
Age Group: Adult
Publisher: Bantam
Source: Purchased
Other Books in the Series: Storm Born, Thorn Queen, Iron Crowned

On the whole, I have loved this series!  I don't think anything can live up to Mead's Vampire Academy series, but the Dark Swan series comes pretty darn close.

Overall this was my least favorite book in the series for one huge reason---which I will not reveal to keep from spoiling the book for you. 

I don't like the heroine, Eugenie, personally, but I care about her as a character.  Something has always kept me from truly identifying with her, though.  And now I am finally able to put my finger on what that something is.  I've never really agreed with Eugenie's decisions regarding her personal life, and her behavior in Shadow Heir was no exception.  Eugenie's decision regarding her children ruined the book for me.  As a new mother, I just could not understand her decision---it was infuriating and a constant source of bafflement for me throughout the book.  

I liked how Eugenie's romantic life is resolved but did not think the relationship was healthy the way she kept so many secrets.  When you keep secrets like that, and never fully open yourself up to your partner, the relationship is doomed, in my opinion.

What I did like was the fast-moving pace, the intricate plot twists, and the well-developed minor characters.  These are all things Mead does excellently, and they really saved the book for me.

In the end, I would recommend this series.  I just did not agree with the blase way Eugenie handled her major life decisions.  It showed a lack of character growth, which really cheapens a book for me.

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