Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Berkley Trade Pub (1 Jun 2008)
Main Characters: Lee Ross and Kalen
Connected to upcoming release VEIL OF SHADOWS
Book Origin: Personal Library
Found wandering in a field as a child, Lee Ross was given a name by the state and placed in a foster home–without anyone realizing she wasn’t entirely human.
All her life, she’s tried to dismiss the odd dreams that have plagued her, dreams of monsters creeping through the night and a man, fighting demons by her side. But the bruises she wakes up with are all too real to ignore
Then the man from dreams appears in the flesh. His name is Kalen and he insists that her destiny lies in his world, the world of her dreams.
To save their people, he must convince Lee to give everything she knows, follow her heart and cross into the Under Realm, even though once she does, she’ll never be able to return.
My Review: I feel that whatever genre Shiloh Walker tackles she delivers a story where great characters can be found. THROUGH THE VEIL introduced me, not only to a new world, but also to a magnetic and attention grabbing pair. Most of the times when I begin a new paranormal series it takes a bit of time for me to make the world my own and get comfortable with the terms. As a reader that makes me thankful when a glossary of terms is included like the one I found in Through The Veil, so I’m not going in completely blind. However, it doesn’t take much to get completely intrigued by the set-up though because the moment I met Lee was the moment secrets and mysteries introduced its self.
Lee is a woman who emanates vulnerability but at the core is a warrior. She is courage meshed with doubts, power wedded to femininity and she needs it all on the road of self discovery. I love the kind of heroine Lee is, she has backbone but at the same time has fears that balance her powerful she-warrior side. The questions she has are the questions I had, and she took me on a journey to another world that was bleak in comparison to Earth. What I think is also exceptionally well done is the gradual understanding of the new world Lee was thrust in opposed to instant acceptance. Doubts along with certain instincts and realizations made her emotions revolving her personal issues all the more believable.
Kalen Brenner is the male lead and from the introduction he had me. He is the weary leader of the resistance against the Warlords and the Sirvani but it is his never wavering passion to save his people that burns bright inside him and first catches the attention. From his looks to his warrior code, everything screams he is a skilled man; in charge, dangerous, feral but it is all encompassed by a compassionate and loyal heart. Add my personal lingual g-spot, a hint of an Irish brogue, and I was more than a little interested in him.
The back story of Lee and Kalen was incredibly woven in to the current storyline and they are two formidable characters. But bring them together and magic happens; the dialogues are bold and crisp, almost a back and forth parry of strong wills and the body chemistry was tantalizing good. The inner monologues are alive with all they feel, totally connecting me with their emotional state and trail of thoughts. What also added to their chemistry as a pair was the craving the felt for each other, it was almost a ravenous attraction humming with an electrifying crackle between them. Though the sensuality wasn’t the focus between them it flared in the cadence of their emotional state, never letting me doubt what they had between them was intense and real.
Shiloh Walker created some dense world building and I needed my time to absorb all details and nuances in her storytelling. The set up where the warlords of Anqar created gates to Ishtan and how they wreaked their devastation there created a grim war-torn setting where little joy was to be found. The gruesome acts of the Warlords upon the Ishtan inhabitants made them not very redeem worthy yet it was necessary for a chain reaction where the spirit and resilience of certain people shined like a beacon that made me root for all of them. The mystery of the gates, of Lee herself, and the ongoing war kept me guessing with certain characters where their loyalties lied. Still, there were one or two plot points that made it very easy to guess where the story was headed.
Kalen and Lee worked very hard to make sense of it all, feeling a pending doom looming over them and they were supported by a range of characters, still the cast still had a very intimate feel. Morne Ramire, the healer. Eira, the witch. Dais, Kalen’s weapon lieutenant, were just some of them. There were more character on their side but these few really added a voice of their own to it. On the other side, in Anqar, I witnessed their way of life which on some issues revolted me. The High Lord and his diabolical deeds got the instant ‘throttle the SOB’ reaction from me, which for a fiend is only a compliment. There was also Raichar Taise who wasn’t completely bad but not completely good either, in the end I felt a bit for him though. With the opposite point of views from the Ishtan and Anqar characters I got a total picture of the why – what and how. All the storylines culminated in the end to a conclusion that baffled me. A few things I suspected but the grand finale had my eyes riveted to the pages. Whatever pace was lacking a bit in the beginning was all made up in the ending.
When everything stands against you there are those few that will arise to the challenge, Kalen and Lee took me on an emotion fraught and challenging journey! THROUGH THE VEIL is a story where chapter by chapter I was drawn further in to a gritty world, led by an amazing romantic pair and a cast of characters that contained a force all on its own. Shiloh Walker added another series to my shelves where I want more of!
My review of VEIL OF SHADOWS will be posted next monday on September 6th 2010.
… - Lee felt like she had fallen into some kind of comic book but the artist had neglected to give her a decent superpower. She didn’t belong here. They knew how to fight, and if they were scared, didn’t show it. Lee, however, was pretty sure she had a huge, neon-lit sign over her head flashing letters that read, I’m scared and I can’t handle this. Please send me back home.
His hands stroked down her sides, cupped her ass and pulled her tight against him. “I want you safe,” he muttered, his voice harsh, guttural. “Look at me, Lee.”
Her lids were so damned heavy, it was an effort just to open her eyes, but she couldn’t resist that harsh, guttural command. Tipping her head back, she stared at him. “Kalen…” her lashes started to flutter back down over her eyes, and Kalen growled. “Look at me,” he repeated, his voice still harsh and demanding. “Watch me…”
A slow, seductive smile curved her lips. “I’m looking. I am watching you, Kalen. You’re all I see – even when I thought you were just a figment of my imagination.”
Hunger twined with the gut-deep need for her, a need that went beyond love, beyond lust, beyond anything and everything he’d ever known. Kalen straightened away from the tree and pivoted “I want a real bed with pillows and silk sheets.” She smiled at him. I don’t need a bed. Just make love to me.”