Thursday, March 7, 2013

Review: Shadow Blade (Shadowchasers, #1)

Shadow Blade (Shadowchasers, #1)Author: Seressia Glass
Series: Shadowchasers, #1
Release date: January 26th 2010
Publisher: Pocket Books
Paperback, 344 pages
Buy: The Book Depository

I’m not used to my urban fantasies being written in third person. I realize this is an odd thing to start a review with, but it’s the first thing that really stood out for me. Shadow Blade is told in third person from two perspectives: that of Kira and the Nubian warrior Khefar, and the transitions between them aren't neat or clearly marked, but rather random and (occasionally) messy. This is the second time I’ve come across something similar lately and I enjoyed it both times, although I’m not the biggest fan of third person narrative in general.

For the most part, Kira Solomon was an admirable heroine. She was strong, decisive and competent, not very trusting, but with good reason. Psychometry is only one of her gifts, but it’s the one that marked her more than all the others combined; it made her weary of people and their secrets. While I liked her, I can't say I really cared about her as much as I should have, and I needed to think about it for a while before I finally figured out the reason. I think my failure to form a proper connection with Kira was mostly due to her story being told in third person, even though, as I already pointed out, it had its advantages. It changed things for me – while I knew what was going on inside her head, I still wanted to see things through her eyes. It’s a subtle difference, but it’s a difference nevertheless.

As far as worldbuilding goes, Shadow Blade is one of the good ones. Rich and imaginative, if a little rough around the edges, Kira’s world of Shadows, Avatars and Chasers pulled me right in. There were many details I needed to remember if I was to follow the story properly, but the abundance of information I had to absorb never weighed on me. I just figured things out as I went and I liked it that way. The worldbuilding was mostly based on the Egyptian myths, and I really loved how it was done. I know very little about ancient Egyptian deities, but urban fantasy in general has already taught me so much, I’ll undoubtedly catch up soon enough.

Ohh, but the love interest was truly something. A four thousand year old Nubian, ancient warrior, worshiper of Isis and accompanied by a demigod on his road to redemption. He only needed to save two more people to earn his place in the afterlife, and Kira Solomon was one of them. She didn’t make it easy, of course, and things that mattered to both of them at the beginning didn’t matter as much by the end. The only thing I didn’t like was that Khefar happened to be the only one in the world able to touch Kira without consequences. Due to her psychometry, she was never able to touch another human being without hurting them in the process, but somehow, she is able to freely touch the Nubian. To me, this somehow belittled their romance. Would she have liked him so much if she had other options?

She laughed, a true laugh of unadorned delight that shook her entire frame. Khefar wasn’t prepared for it – the laugh, the bright mood, his reaction to it. It made him careless.

This is a series I’ll gladly continue. It’s been a long time since I truly enjoyed urban fantasy and I’m so happy I finally found one worth reading. Although by no means perfect, Shadow Blade is a decent enough read that left me eager to find out more about the world and our two heroes.


  1. You're right! Now that I think about it, we're usually right up in each UF character's head. It's nice to have a little distance sometimes, especially when the gore is flying and bodies are dropping. Gonna have to check this out -- I love good worldbuilding!

  2. I tend to prefer stories in first person too.

    I dislike it when authors have a character with some sort of ability that affects their interactions with everybody but one person. And, then they get involved with that person. Some part of me always suspects it's because they're only with that person because of their limited options.

  3. I am glad the world building in this one is good, that is always important but I think the messy back and forth of the POVs would bug me after awhile.
    I think I may pass on this one.

    Great honest review though!

  4. I am like you with third person narrative, I always seem to not connect as much as I would like too and I think it's definitely because of the POV. This sounds good, I love that he has to kill her to earn his place but she is feisty and doesn't go down! Such a great concept. Happy that you enjoyed this one despite your few issues with it.

  5. Huh. Now you're making me think back to all the UF I've read lately and I realize they've all been in first person, so I can understand why third person would be initially a bit jarring! Glad that didn't stop you from enjoying this one though Maja, I'm always on the look out for a good UF series to start. Khefar sounds awesome, though you make an interesting point about her ability to touch him belittling their romance. Something to think about for sure:) Fabulously written review as usual!

  6. The world building sounds wonderful, I too am not a huge fan of third person narratives and I hate when the transition isn't clear and I need to stop and figure out who and what. Great review

  7. This book sounds really good and the third person narrative wouldn't bother me. I agree about the belittling of the romance, it doesn't feel the same when they're together because of their severely limited choice, this has turned me off series in the past. Wonderful review Maja :)

  8. I am by no means the UF guru that you and Mary are, but I've never read a 3rd person UF either. I can see how that could prevent you from connecting fully with Kira. But it sounds like there are advantages to mixing it up. I love Egyptian mythology, so any book that can work it into a believable fictional world is definitely of interest to me. Sounds like I need to meet this Khefar too. And the love interest being the one person who can touch the heroine is the same niggling question I've had with Shatter Me/Unravel Me. If these girls could touch everyone, would they really choose these guys? I don't know. Just like with those books, I'll probably have fun reading this without getting a satisfying answer. Oh well. :-) Great review!

  9. I will be starting Sealed with a Curse as soon as it shows up. I am really craving a good UF. I so hear you about third person. I am becoming as snobby as you are as far as narratives go and I am finding I enjoy dual first person narratives but only if the transitions are done well and there is no confusion between the voices which it seems this one failed a bit on. You know as well what a stickler I am about world building so at least that aspect shines!

  10. Third person narrative can work pretty well for me sometimes (The Raven Boys and Unspoken, for example), though I do have a preference for first person most of the time. I don't think I've read nearly enough UF to notice the trend though! This sounds pretty good, even though it wasn't entirely brilliant for you. I love Egyptian mythology, but don't get to experience it quite as much as I'd like to. This 4000-year-old love interest has my attention, too! Great review, Maja. :)

  11. This one sounds like it has a lot to offer. I like the sound of the basis on Egyptian Mythology as that always intrigues me.

    I am stacking up my UF recommendations from you since I usually don't read them.

    Fabulous review and quotes, Maja! :)

  12. I can see being as it is book one that a lot of information about the world and what is going on to be dumped on you. I loved that you described this to be a rich world, I think I will have to add this one to the wish list for this year, I have not read a UF in a while.

  13. I'm okay with both 3rd and 1st person narratives, as long as they are done well. I had bad experiences with both and great experiences with both. This sounds good, though. I'm craving more UF lately! So I love discovering new ones to try. Great review!

  14. Ooh, is this kind of like The Mummy movies? I somehow ended up watching three of them in a Vegas hotel room. And you know I love me some dual narrators, although 3rd person perspective will be interesting. Thanks for putting this on my radar, Maja!


  15. I am starting to realise that I'm not a fan of 3rd person too, in fact it's often the thing that leaves me feeling a bit disconnected to a book.

    But, it's great about the world building, it's so important for fantasies

  16. Third person? Hm... not a fan, but would still try it. However, the fact that it had Egyptian myths makes me curious. Oh I might have to try it just for the world building.

  17. I think I've seen this title around, but I don't know why I never looked more into it: there is so much about it that immediately catches my eye. I agree with you that third person, especially in UF, still unnerves me at first, and that my favorite UFs are in first-person (Kate Daniels series, WVMP Radio series). I'm also a little nervous about the book's treatment of Egyptian mythology and culture, as I learned so much about Nubian culture and Egypt when I went there earlier this year that I think I've absorbed a bit of my tour guide's pickiness when it comes to people's misunderstandings/misinterpretations of the legends and histories...

  18. You're right, UF is almost always 1st person so that's unusual. I don't mind different POVs but it needs to be very obvious to me or I get confused and then DNF.
    I don't think I have heard much about this series. It sounds interesting but I'm not quite convinced I should pick it up. (I'm WAY behind on the UF series I have started already anyway...)


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