Shadow Kin (The Half-Light City, book 1) by M.J. Scott
Welcome to the Half-Light City.
Imagine a city divided. On one side, the Night World, ruled by the Blood Lords and the Beast Kind. On the other, the elusive Fae and the humans, protected by their steadfast mages. A city held together by nothing more than a treaty-and even then, just barely...
I was born of a Fae mother, but I had no place amongst her kind. They called me "soulless." An abomination. Perhaps they're right...I'm a wraith, a shadow who slips between worlds. I was given into the service of a Blood Lord who raised me to be his most feared assassin. Still, I'm nothing more than a slave to my master, and to the need that only he can fulfill...
Then he orders me to kill Simon DuCaine, a powerful sunmage. In the blaze of his magic, my own disappears. Instead of seeking revenge, Simon shows me mercy. He wants to free me. But that's one thing my master and his kind will never allow.
And even if I thought I could trust Simon, stepping from the shadow into the light isn't as simple as it sounds...
This was the perfect book to get me out of my stupid female lead syndrome. Shadow was everything I wanted her to be (I won't use her name just incase you haven't read the synopsis. That way it will be a treat/surprise). A wraith assassin! A half breed of the Fae sold to an evil vampire named Damon. She's lived in darkness her entire life.
So when her job to kill a Sunmage clearly turns into the setup of a romance I wasn't bummed. Because Simon was actually a cool character. Not to mention it felt like the setup for Kate and Curran from the Kate Daniel's verse. In fact this is the perfect blend of epic fantasy, some steampunk flavors, and urban fantasy genre meld. Not to mention that when Shadow meets Simon she tells him she doesn't need a “white knight”. Yes, she's her own hero.
The world and politics are awesome. I love the idea of the Blood (vampires), Fae, Beast (animal shifters) and humans residing in world that is fully aware. The politics and history that make them coincide together. There's intrigue, violence, sexy times, a fantastic world, and wonderful characters.
Sadly Scott did a lot to make her amazing female lead into a damsel. Don't get me wrong, Shadow is wonderfully realized. However, the reason for her change of heart will always be in question. Was she strong enough to do it? Or was it Simon taking the matter out of her hands? Not to mention that Shadow is supposed to me this great fighter.
But when she attacks Simon out of rage she loses, her second time losing to him. Then when she starts fighting Simon's brother, Guy a pretty awesome character, she can go toe to toe with him. Despite the fact that Guy is supposed to be the better fighter. Simon was always trying to beat Guy. I got the first time that Simon's Sunmage skills took her buy surprise and is basically the perfect weapon to defeating her powers. But this was sloppy. Not to mention she doesn't get to take out the villain. Because Shadow deserved to take out this particular villain. No matter what I would have been disappointed. The fact that Shadow was the bait and Simon was the hero. OK, what she did took guts. Maybe I'm being overly sensitive because I got done reading some stupid female leads prior.
All the questionable scenes were simply verified by Shadow saying at the end that she really did need a white knight to save her. Yuck. It didn't help that Simon demanded Shadow's trust but he threw her to the wolves. Oh, but he could still give a good #*%@*%&.
Overall I love the world. I want to know more about it, explore it. Not to mention that I really enjoy the cast of characters. Hopefully Simon and Shadow can reach a balance of equality in later books. You know, no more forced losing scenes or damsel scenes created to obviously have Simon be the hero. Either way I want to see Shadow create a life with Simon. And in general I just want to see how she lives her life with her new found freedom. This was a promising start and I truly love the dark gritty world Scott has created.
Sexual Content: Sexual humor, some dark themes, and sex scenes.
3/5- Adored it, just a few minor details held it back.
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Shadow Kin (1)