Reading Level: Adult
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Size: 384 pages
Release Date: August 1st, 2011
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the Dark Swan series
Source: Audiobook from Audible.com
Rating: 3/5 stars
This is the first book in the Dark Swan series by Richelle Mead. There are four book in this series: Thorn Queen, Iron Crowned and Shadow Heir. It was an okay read but neither the characters nor the world really grabbed my attention much.
I listened to this on audiobook and the audiobook quality was very good. The narrator wass pleasant to listen to and distinguished between different character voices well.
Eugenie Markham is a powerful Shaman who makes a living banishing spirits and fey. When she takes a case to recover a girl that has been stolen by the Fey she is forced to journey into the Other World. There she discovers startling things about her past and a prophecy that says that her first born will rule the Fey. Suddenly every Fey is interested in being the one to sire a child on her.
I usually love books about the Fey, I love the mythology behind it and the interesting world built around it. Unfortunately this book wasn’t as much about Fey as it was about sex. Every Fey thing is trying to rape and/or have sex with Eugenie for a good portion of the book. Seriously there is a lot of sex in this book…so yeah…I guess just be aware of that.
Eugenie is a pretty one dimensional character. In the beginning she dislikes Fey and can’t remember her past. We never really learn why she can’t remember her past just that eventually she starts to. It would have been nice to have this better explained. The other things we learn about Eugenie are that she likes rough sex and bondage sex. Believe me the sex thing is a major part of her character.
There are two males that feature in this story. The first is Kiyo a gorgeous shapeshifter that Eugenie is very attracted to. He falls in love with Eugenie very quickly and for reasons that aren’t really ever explained. The second is Dorian, a fairy king with a taste for bondage. Eugenie is willing to have sex with Dorian in exchange for favors that will help her case to rescue a human girl from Fey hands.
I didn’t really like any of the characters all that much. They were just so 2D and so very driven by sex. I don’t mind sex in my books, but none of these sex scenes were even all that good. The whole thing was just kind of ho-hum.
There are some positives to this book as well, the book does have some awesome action scenes. I also really enjoyed watching Eugenie learn to use her storm magic. The world is an interesting one and I wish we had got to spend more time learning about that than reading about Eugenies luke-warm sex life. I also wish we had gotten to see more different types of Fey, there are some interesting races introduced in this book…but they are talked about so briefly.
This is by far the worst of Mead’s books. The book is easy to read, but the characters were hard to engage with and the story was predictable and lacked something to really drive the story forward.
Overall a very mediocre urban fantasy. I love fey urban fantasies, but can’t really recommend this one. If you want to read an excellent fey urban fantasy series check out Seanan McGuire’s October Daye series…it is an absolutely stunning series featuring Fey. I won’t be reading any more books in this series.