In the shadows of the night, Darian has lived alone for almost a century. Made and abandoned by her former love, Darian is the last of her kind-an immortal Shaede who can slip into darkness as easily as breathing. With no one else to rely on, she has taught herself how to survive, using her unique skills to become a deadly assassin.
When Darian’s next mark turns out to be Xander Peck, King of the Shaede Nation, her whole worldview is thrown into question. Darian begins to wonder if she’s taken on more than her conscience will allow. But a good assassin never leaves a job unfinished..
Shaedes of Gray was such a pleasant surprise! Everything about this book looked great, but you never know what to expect when trying out a new author. Turns out I had nothing to fear. Darian is a Shaede, able to shift into shadow and has spent her life working as an assassin, until her maker, Azriel, leaves her with no hint at whether he is dead or alive. She has continued her work as an assassin (it’s all she knows), and when she is hired by the King of the Shaede Nation (who she’s first hired to assassinate), Alexander, to take out an unknown victim, the you-know-what really hits the fan. Darian didn’t even know there was a King of Shaedes, much less anyone else like her, so the forthcoming events prove to be extremely eye opening for our heroine.
Speaking of our heroine, Darian isn’t your typical kick-ass, leather clad¸ urban fantasy star. Yes, she does kick-ass, but only up to a point. Her only training is as an assassin, and what does an assassin do? Preferably, they sneak up on their mark and kill them quietly, without ever engaging them in battle. Until about halfway through the book, Darian really isn’t up to any serious fighting, but that’s ok, because training from Raif (a fellow Shaede) takes care of that neatly. She begins to learn that not only is she not the only Shaede in existence, but there are all kinds of “others” running around, and her employer, Tyler, who she’s known for 5 years and wants her as more than a friend, may also be more than he seems. The sparks are undeniable between Darian and Tyler, but she’s very reluctant to draw anyone close that can be hurt because of her. It doesn’t help that Alexander is sniffing around too. Shaedes of Gray is told from Darian’s point of view, and I had great fun following her as she discovers her origins and as a whole new world opens in front of her. There’s also a diabolical evil at work that thinks Darian might be even more than she thinks she is, and is willing to do anything for that power. There’s lots of twists and turns in this one and while there is much emotional push and pull between Darian and Tyler, it’s not too heavy on the romance. For me, it was just right. Darian’s story is fascinating and I like her matter-of-fact attitude, although she does eventually soften just a smidge. But just. My only complaint (and it’s not really a complaint), is that I would have loved to explore Darian’s past just a bit more (she’s over 100 years old, after all), but a little birdy told me there’s a novella coming up that will do just that, so I’m looking forward to it. Shaedes of Gray is chock full of supernatural goodness and I love the unique world the author has created! Urban fantasy fans will love this one, and I’ll be anxiously awaiting the next book in the series!