02 March 2010

ARC Review: Erica Hayes - Shadowglass

~purchase a copy here~
~website author~

Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; 1 edition (March 2, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0312578016
ISBN-13: 978-0312578015

Genre; Urban Fantasy
Main Characters: Ice, Indigo, Kane, Blaze & Azure
Book origin: Book won at authors blog.

Cover Summary:
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!

Quote Ice:
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.
Quote Ice:
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?”

4 stars

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  1. This sounds like one hellva ride hon! Love your review and love the quotes you used. Just on those alone... I will be checking this book out! I mean come on... "As in, demon-lord-more-money-than-god-send-my-skanky-ass-to-hell-if-I-piss-you-off Kane?" if that quote did not grab you, nothing will!!!!! Thanks for the great heads up. And this is book one.... so there is more strawberry girl to come (haa haa)!
    Hope all is well today honey...

  2. Great review! The world sounds so seductive and hot! I need to get out and buy these books - I've been lazy since the books aren't available for my ereader.

  3. That Heather (Darklyreading) she is so lazy. Kidding. Just kidding. I haven't read this series (either). I've read that Shadowfae is really (really) dark and since it's been sorta glommy in California...I'm waiting for a sunny day.

    Great Review Leontine.

  4. Hmm..I would like a sunny and warm day..comfy chair..and some sensual dark chocolate to begin my reading adventure..and maybe a sinful tasty beverage...

  5. Great review Leontine!
    Sounds like a hot book, with some wicked fey

  6. @Cecile - Actually hon, this is book #2, SHADOWFAE is book #1. And that quote was so typical Ice and so funny I had to add it :)

    @Heather - I recently experienced the instant gratification of e-book buying with PoaDP of Kresley Cole. I hope you get around to some physical book buying because this is really a series one needs to experience :)

    @Smokinghotbooks - Perhaps we can give her some kind of incentive to crank it up a notch *wink* And yes, this series does have a dark tone but really incredible characters *sigh* And the smut level is of the chart ;)

    @Blodeuedd - Oh yes, hot and wicked it definitely is LOL

  7. Hi Leontine,

    Great review and I love the cover!

    Sounds like a hot series and one I would love to check out (more hot fae)!

  8. *ah* I'm sooo glad I just got my copy of Shadowfae - now I can't wait to start reading and I will immediately order that one!
    thanks for your review!!
    greetings, Ina

  9. I LOVE your blog, and I am passing on a blog award! Details here: http://www.theunreadreader.com/

  10. Love your review Leontine! I really want to start this series loved the prequel but I've already been in a dark mood so I may wait a bit more.

  11. Love your review, sounds like you reall enjoyed it!

  12. I have heard mixed things about this series...mostly good, but a few iffy's and dislikes. Your review makes me want to run out and get them all..LOL. The books sound so full and intricate...great review!!

  13. Hey hon, amazing review! You already know my feelings on the first book, but if I haven't read it, this review would definitely convince me that I needed to.

    Man, I wish I could write a review like this (so jealous!)

  14. I just received my copy in the mail today. I agree Hayes's book are mood books, but I like the dark turns in her writing. Great review as always. :)

  15. Great review, Leontine! I so want this book! I keep discovering all these awesome books at your blog. Might have to stay away to keep myself in the black. LOL

  16. Great review. Makes me want to hurry up and read the first while I wait for this one to get here.

  17. I haven't read this series. Looks really good!

  18. @Razlover - Oh yes, hot fae in Shadowglass present :)

    @Ina - Let me know what you think of Shadowfae! I need to talk some Kane :)

    @S.Meadows - Awh, thanks for the award!!

    @Tricia - Pick it up when you're in the mood for hot, extraordinary characters and story, it will satisfy your cravings for sure!

    @Marissa - Don't think it will be your cup of tea but yeah, you know me, love me some intense, out of the ordinary, dark and twisty characters and storyline.

    @Mandi - These Shadowfae Chronicles are definitely stepping out of certain peeps comfort zones, that's for sure!

    @Stacy - It was incredible how you explained exactly what didn't work for you, it was all so clear to me - Re: Shadowfae. I don't know how else to write a review, sometimes I wish I could be more to the point like various other reader reviewers :)

    @Donna - I can't wait to talk Indigo with you, he's such an amazing hero!! I hope you enjoy this one as much as the first.

    @Silver - LOL I've got the same issues with your, and many other blogs, it such a hazard for the CC to bloghop *wink*

    @Elaing8 - Oh I so hope you'll like Shadowfae!!

    @Fiction Vixen - Hope you get to discover Hayes' world and characters for yourself :)

  19. 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!

    Well said hon - I am a huge mood reader and I love when an author puts that little something extra in his/her work that make me go back for more...

    Wonderful summary of this book...


  20. @EH - Erica Hayes just has that unique vibe in her storytelling and characters, so you're right, I will come back for more with this author :)


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