Shadow Heir (Dark Swan #4) by Richelle Mead
Publisher: Kensington/Jan. 2012
Dark Swan series
Kind thanks to Kensington for providing a review copy
Shaman-for-hire Eugenie Markham strives to keep the mortal realm safe from trespassing entities. But as the Thorn Land’s prophecy-haunted queen, there’s no refuge for her and her soon-to-be-born-children when a mysterious blight begins to devastate the Otherworld. . .
The spell-driven source of the blight isn’t the only challenge to Eugenie’s instincts. Fairy king Dorian is sacrificing everything to help, but Eugenie can’t trust the synergy drawing them back together. The uneasy truce between her and her shape shifter ex-lover Kiyo is endangered by secrets he can’t—or won’t—reveal. And as a formidable force rises to also threaten the human world, Eugenie must use her own cursed fate as a weapon—and risk the ultimate sacrifice. . .
Shadow Heir picks up soon after Iron Crowned left off, with Eugenie pregnant with twins and doing her best to keep away from Kiyo and Maiwenn’s assassins, who are convinced her son will fulfill a dark prophecy of his grandfather, the Storm King. She’s still smarting from Dorian’s betrayal with the Iron Crown, and in spite of his insistence that he’s there for her, it’s hard for her to trust him again. When her twins finally come, she’s forced to make a hard decision that will keep them safe. When she discovers a blight has been magically cast on many of the lands in the Otherworld, including her own, she knows she must do something to help, or risk possibly losing everything dear to her.
Shadow Heir is the final book in the Dark Swan series. The tension that made Eugenie and Dorian’s relationship so much fun is still there (he really is trying to win back her trust), and Ms. Read’s writing is top notch, as usual. Court intrigue and action abound, and I always love Eugenie’s voice. However, some of Eugenie’s decision making in this one stumped me, and there were a few things that I saw coming (and a couple that I didn’t). But, I suppose that’s one thing readers (including me) love most about Eugenie. She’s very much her own woman and strong willed enough to handle just about anything that comes her way. Aside from all that, there’s no doubt I enjoyed Shadow Heir, and while the conclusion is a little more “open” than I’d like, well, life is like that, right? Sometimes it’s fun to daydream about what’s next for our heroine, and of course, wish her and all of our other fave characters a happily ever after. I’ll miss Eugenie, but I’ll definitely look forward to what Richelle Mead has in store for us next.