19 January 2010

Royal Fantasy Challenge Review: Erica Hayes - Shadowfae

~purchse a copy here~
~author website~

Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; 1 edition (October 13, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0312578008
ISBN-13: 978-0312578008

Challenge: Royal Fantasy Challenge
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Main Characters: Jade and Rajahni
Book Origin; Personal Library

Cover Summary;
Steal souls.
Live in hell.
Never die.

In a city infested with psychotic fairies and run by sadistic vampire mafiosi, life as a soul-sucking succubus rarely involves lacy lingerie, hot guys or great sex.

Enslaved by a demon lord, Jade must spend her nights seducing vampire gangsters and shapeshifting thugs. After two hundred years as a succubus, she burns for freedom and longs to escape her brutal life as a trophy girl for hell's minions.

Then, she meets Rajah, an incubus who touches her heart and intoxicates her senses. Rajah shares the same bleak fate as she, and yearns just as desperately for freedom. But the only way for Jade to break her bonds is to betray Rajah—and doom the only man she's ever loved to a lifetime in hell.

Melbourne is the home of Fae creatures in all shapes and sizes, keeping their world a secret via fairy glamour. This secretive world includes a vampire mafia, mainly run by the rivaling Valentino and DiLuca family. And then there’s Kane a Demon lord who plays his own games and has Jade, a succubus, to his disposal. When faeries end up dead questions arise but when Jade and Rajahni find a way to freedom the search gets entangled with the schemes of many key players…

I was a bit restless how to start my 2010 reading year when I received word I won me an ARC of Shadowglass and in preparation for its arrival I took out SHADOWFAE to read. I don’t think my year could have started any steamier or erotically charged because this novel featured a pair of protagonists where one was an incubus and the other a succubus. Rajahni and Jade had this instantaneous magnetic attraction flaring to life and they drew me in to an alternative Melbourne where I had a great time as their story unfolds.

The questions of why the fairies die and how Jade and Rajahni were going to get free from the thrall were interesting, intriguing and subtle in its development throughout the story. The backdrop of an alternative Melbourne was refreshing and added its own sultry vibe to the whole but what really protrudes out of this story for me were the characters, the sexing and the ending. There were so many exhilarating characters to get to know, may it be main or supporting, friend or foe, it didn’t matter, Erica Hayes knew how to give each a distinctive voice that made them stand out.

Jade isn’t a hardcore, kick-ass, let me rid the world of all evil, character. She has to answer to Kane, whatever he orders her to do, she has to do it. Does this make her a spineless twit? Most definitely not. Does she like to follow orders; no. Does she struggle with being a succubus; yes. Though her nature compels her to follow those orders and perform sexual acts it also gives way for inner struggles and dialogues that made me get to know Jade so much more. Her strengths, her flaws and her regrets. Her humor is sometimes dark and there’s still a side to her that is insecure, mainly about one man and his feelings.

At first I thought Rajahni was all about male vigorous passion, dangerous seduction and his own personal needs to gain freedom. However, as the story progresses I get to see both the dangerous as a vulnerable, compassionate side of him, and the complete package was one that made him a hero worthy of the title. I reveled in how he could alternate those sides and be all in the face of a DiLuca one minute and the next be all gentle care for Jade. He really understood Jade on a level no one else did and it strengthened their emotional bond. Even though with all the sexing going on as their succubus and incubus nature demands, it made the love angle credible on a very personal side of their personality.

In many chronicles, series etc, I have a character that instantly has my heart and it was Kane in SHADOWFAE. He is all manipulative, power-play-hungry and at moments blunt and inconsiderate that made me wonder why on earth he appealed to me so. There are perhaps two or three times where he lowers his emotional walls and captured me with such heartfelt emotions I could only wonder what his story is. Kane doesn’t have an overly big part physically in the story but somehow the effect of his persona and the ties he has with Jade and Rajahni is felt through the chapters read.

Kane might not be a knight in shining armor but Dante DiLuca or Angelo Valentino were really creeping me out with their bloodsucking needs, selfishness and behavior. The bite is a painful one, with saliva and all, they seem to thrive on pain, on domineering and though they have power, they always needed more. So they scheme and plot away, and it felt like their bulldozer personalities would get away with anything. Of course, as it turns out, they’re going to meet their match…

I just mentioned the core cast of characters; various more add their voice of friendship, happiness, sadness, hate and together they provide for a well-drawn supporting cast. Each character is empowered by the imaginative and crisp writing style of Erica Hayes. The emphasis of Jade and Rajahni’s relationship might be on the erotically side but when the focus shifts to the emotions, Erica Hayes knows how to deliver it in a single frame of mind or heart and expand from that. I wouldn’t have minded to get much more of that. They also see the person behind the thrall, understand the difference between choosing to have sex rather than doing what is ordered. It is a fine line between the former and the latter and I’m glad because with that knowledge I could surrender to their burgeoning romance. I can honestly say that the sexual desires heightened the heat level in SHADOWFAE.

When the plotting and the scheming is done, when everything comes to a conclusion there is a twist in the HEA that I did not see coming and my initial reaction was one of shocked surprise. How was it going to work was my thought but with an epilogue the author shows me that it does. It might not be my kind of HEA but it most certainly was Jade and Rajahni’s, true to their characters to the very end and they made me feel and believe it from first till last page.

Erica Hayes has a unique voice in the Urban Fantasy genre that will instantly hook you to her characters, her world and the story to be told. She is a keeper on my shelves for sure.

Quote Jade:

Out of sight, over the horizon, rocketing into orbit better. More nourishing than stealing souls, more intoxicating than any fairy’s eery drug. It was like…

Like the difference between fucking and making love.

Oh, hell.

4 stars
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  1. A twist to the HEA? Shock? Don't leave me hanging :)

    I have read in another review that the sex and erotic parts were too much..but it sounds like in your opinion they were just right. This is definitely a series I keep saying I am going to start. Looking forward to your review of Shadowglass as well!!

  2. I have this one to review as well. It sounds as though it's a great read, my only reservation is the 'erotic' part. I'm not comfortable with too much detail in the sex department, but I don't mind it if it's subtle, but it doesn't sound subtle from your review. Hmm, I will just have to read it myself to see. Thanks for the review Leontine! :)

  3. I like the HEA also! When sex was dark and forced are the areas I didn't really like but I get it was part of being a succubi under thrall to Kane. The rest I loved.

    Great review Leontine.

  4. @Mandi - The erotic parts were different from an average UF novel but due to the Succubus and Incubus nature of Jade and Rajahni it fitted the story IMO. I so would be spoiling if I reveal the twist. Should I send you a survival package so you can hang a little longer where you are? *wink*

    @Book Chick City - I can honestly say that the erotic part isn't subtle but I think everyone has his/her confortzone in it. For me it was more the bloodsucking that gave me the shivers.

    @Donna - I had no troubles with the erotic tone in this novel :) Especially when Jade comes to realize the difference of what she is feeling/experiencing with Rajahni and what she is ordered to do. When i was reading the first few chapters of SHADOWFAE said to myself: "Leontine, you're no longer in Kansas anymore." I loved the backdrop of Hayes Melbourne.

  5. Hi hon! I'm so sorry I'm just now making it to my blog hopping eek... I didn't make it much anywhere last week. *hangs head in shame* I was buried under a mountain o work but I hope to catch up now and stay that way if I can *I'm being to think this could be a losing battle lol* Great review!!! This one sounds interesting! Big hugs to you my dear and talk to you soon!

  6. And you say that I tease, a twist to a HEA...oh no, my I must know side is really taking over!

  7. This sounds like a winner! You really got my attention with a twist on the HEA. I'm very curious!

  8. Great review.I got this book last week.i can't wait to read it.

  9. This sounds really good! You made me very curious about this series! And I want to find out myself what's up with the twist to the HEA! Looking forward to your review of the second book too :)

  10. @JennJ - You know I always enjoy having you stop by but work and RL comes first :)

    @Blodeuedd - The twist in the HEA was one that I just didn;t see coming, not after what jade and Rajahni have been fighting for ;)

  11. @Fiction Vixen - That twist has got many intrigued so it seems LOL

    @Elaing8 - YAY, enjoy the story!

    @Janna - I'm going to read SHADOWGLASS ASAP. This novel is even longer then SHADOWFAE...like 60 pages longer *woohoo*

  12. I want to know what happens now!!!!! I really like the premiss and well, you know, I heart the erotic aspect. Feel free to you know, email me any spoilers :)

  13. I bought this book based on your rec, and I cannot wait to read it! I'm keeping an open mind, and I think you and I have very similar reading tastes, so I'm sure I'll like it.

  14. Awesome review! This book is definitely going to be rushed to the top of my TBR

  15. I loved the quote.

  16. @Smokinhotbooks - I know your erotic wicked tendencies towards your reading habits *grin*

    @Stacy - It's good to keep an open mind and you'll do okay!

  17. @Grrlit - Oh I hope you do and enjoy all that is going on in this novel. I really had a blast and keep a fan nearby, you're going to need it.

    @carolsnotebook - I really liked the quote too, the whole scene was an epiphany for Jade and made the romance work even more for me.

  18. I have this one coming in the mail and can't wait to read it! I get more excited after each review I read.

  19. I've got to get this, I've heard so much about it I'm smoking with eagerness!


  20. @A Buckeye Girl Reads - woohoo, so glad you're going to read this one too...eventually ;) Enjoy it!

    @Sassy-Brit - There's a short pre-quell up on Erica Hayes her website called HELLCURSED, that sample got me very eager and a taste of what is to come :)


I love to hear all your voices and opinions so thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.