Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; 1 edition (March 2, 2010)
Genre; Urban Fantasy
Series: book #2 in SHADOWFAE CHRONICLES
Main Characters: Ice, Indigo, Kane, Blaze & Azure
Book origin: Book won at authors blog.
A seductive magic mirror lies hidden deep in a demon’s lair, with a simple warning: don’t stare at the glass…
Ice is a thief and a scammer — a troubled fairy trying her best to eke out a meager living in the squalid underworld of the Shadowfae. When she spends a hot night with a demon lord, she discovers a powerful magic mirror in his lair — and pilfers it, knowing it’s the key to escaping her bleak life as a two-bit con artist. But Ice soon discovers that its power comes with a price…madness, which is slowly overtaking her...
Indigo oozes darkness, danger and tempting sensuality. He’s been sent to destroy Ice and bring the mirror back to its rightful owner. A mission that, if he fails, will cost him his life. But when he meets Ice, he faces an even greater challenge: an insatiable sexual hunger that neither of them can deny, and dark passions that threaten to claim them both forever. The trouble is, the longer he stays within the mirror’s reach, the greater its hold on his sanity—and his determination to save Ice…
My Review: In Erica Hayes’ SHADOWGLASS the fae are not your typical bedtime fairytale fairies. The start is one of wild abandonment that reigns in the Unseelie Court, which is a bar where many fae hang out. There, all desires can be fulfilled, the air is saturated with a carefree vibe and the fae live in the moment. Ice, a waterfae, Blaze, a firefae and Azure, an airfae are all con-artists. They steal and deceive to gather the money for protecting from the big and the bad out there in an alternate Melbourne. They just hit it big and ready to spend some cash at the Unseelie Court.
When Ice ends up sharing the night with demon lord Kane she can’t resist to take the shiny squidgy thing she finds in his pocket. What she doesn’t know at that time is that the shadowglass infects those around it and enhances all the selfish, destructive and negative emotions. Quickly Ice, Blaze and Azure turn on each other and find out the squidgy needs to go, but more people are after it and so power struggles and chases begin.
The plot is pretty basic, an object that magnifies the destructive behaviors gets stolen various times and each one needs to deal with the ramifications of having it in his or her possession. What Erica Hayes did is intricately show how it infects the individual characters and how they react and interact together. I was gradually pulled in to a story that got more violent, grimmer and Ice, joined by Indigo, struggled together to get the shadowglass back and return it to its owner. What balanced the darker side of this story were two things. One is Ice. She stands out as a geeky girl, average looking, a con artist and sometimes socially inept. She spends her money with no care for tomorrow yet she loves her friends and would do a lot for them. Her thoughts, given to me in first person narration, are funny, quirky, with a bit of self mocking and mischief. The way she deals with dire situations doesn’t scream tough heroine but she’s no spineless girl either.
The second thing that opposites the grim side is the ever present pleasure-seeking vibe. This is not a story where you get a virgin girl, meets boy, going through some issues, having some good sex and a HEA. Oh no, this is a story that gets to a very carnal and provocative level but yet I completely accepted it within this world and with these characters. The voice of Erica Hayes is blunt, raw and at times even has a lyrical tone with descriptions of moods that serve the characters well. It gives a distinct quality to the story that allows it to rise above the average Urban Fantasy novel. I do however also believe that this kind of writing style may not be for everyone, even I need this storytelling in a certain dosage.
Of course there are more characters then Ice. If there is one fae who had me at his introduction then it is Indigo. He seems aloof, arrogant, driven, he is a hero with a twist and I slowly got to discover what that twist was all about. I was thrown off at first, not connecting the dots, I knew something was off with Indigo but couldn’t grasp it. That made the impact of finding out all the better. The complexity of him; he’s distant yet caring, tender but also cruel, selfish though altruistic too, created a very unpredictable character I loved to unravel. The duality in him kept me on a razors edge what his next move or action would be. Both Ice and Indigo are remarkable leading characters who have an attraction going on that goes from ravenous desires to poignant and fearful.
SHADOWGLASS didn’t hold a kind of traditional romance where my emotions are so involved that it made my heart soar in response. I felt Indigo and Ice together were more exploring their undeniable chemistry together and finding a way out of their current troubles to see if they could have something worthwhile. They both, separately as well as together, fascinated me in their exploration, how they dealt with their growing feelings and in the end a solution to both plot and HEA was found that was different. It may not have given me that all-time high but Erica Hayes stays true to her characters and I really admire her for that.
Blaze, Azure, Akash, Indra, Kane, Delilah, Princess of Hell, each play a part in this story and each stood out in their own way. I liked Blaze in a charming man-whore kind of way. Azure being the pretty girl but with a certain depth. Akash who strives for every sensation known to man and Indra who is right beside him. Many of them get affected by the shadowglass, each of them needs, wants, and all scheme to get possession of the shadowglass again. The ending brings them all together and once again Kane stirred my intrigue for him. I so would love to get under his skin and find out what makes him tick!
Though I need to be in a certain mood to pick up a novel in the SHADOWFAE CHRONICLES I know I’m in for a wild ride from first till last page. The characters are unusual with each his or her own norms and values, hopes and dreams, fears and challenges to overcome. They take me on a dark journey that explores their desires, the grey areas of good and bad, right and wrong and thereby expand my horizon as a reader. I will always enjoy an author who can do this for me and Erica Hayes is one of them!
SHADOWGLASS is not your run-of-the-mill Urban Fantasy, via a colorful cast of characters it tells a tale that seeks the boundaries of the genre! Erica Hayes is quickly becoming a brand name!
Calm, Ice. He’s touching you. You’ve practically got your face in his lap. Say something really cool and seductive.
“Oh. Um. Hi, Indigo. It’s me.”
Yeah. That so wasn’t it.
For a fairy of my dreams, he sure was a condescending asshole.
Quote Ice to Kane:
Hang on. What did you say? Belated shock spiked me, and I broke off, my nipples tweaking hard. “You don’t mean the Kane? As in, demon-lord-more-money-than-god-send-my-skanky-ass-to-hell-if-I-piss-you-off Kane?” He sniffed my breast, his tongue hungry on my wet top. “Changed your mind, strawberry girl?”