Reap the Shadows (Steel & Stone, book 4) by Annette Marie
Piper is feeling a bit overwhelmed. With Seiya and Lyre missing, Ash recovering from near fatal injuries, and the Gaians picking fights with daemons all over the city, a girl can’t help but think she might be in over her head. And this time, she’s on her own.
Before she even has a chance to investigate the Gaians’ new stockpile of mysterious, high-tech weaponry, an old enemy ambushes her: Samael’s henchman Raum. He wants Ash’s help and won’t take “get lost” for an answer. She doesn’t know if she can trust Raum, but even more than that, she can’t trust herself with Ash. Sooner or later he’ll catch up to her, and she fears she won’t be able to walk away from him a second time.
Despite her feelings, it will take their combined strength to face a frightening discovery about the Gaians. She and Ash begin to realize that the daemon war is coming to Earth, and they might be the only ones who can stop it — if it’s not already too late.
“You fear neither Ashtaroth nor your inner daemon, but you should fear both. All that remains is to wait.”
Holy cow! I loved it! But can I first grumble about how much time the characters, especially Piper spend getting kidnapped and then running away. Though to be honest it's all part of the thrills. Sure I wish that time could be spent doing other things and exploring other ideas. However, this series has always been about racing the clock. Kidnappings just up the ante and get things going even if it's an easy starting place.
“You’re a weak link that must be protected. But if you are strong enough to fight beside him, then you are no longer a liability.”
Piper has grown a lot as a character. True. But I also feel like in some ways she hasn't learned anything from prior events and now has confused some of her experiences into the wrong kind of street smarts. Many times I became frustrated with her and I had though she'd learned from the last book about how to handle situations. Piper has a thick skull which makes it hard for things to get through, but that's why I love her. She is still trying, and despite it all, she's only human. Mistakes are natural.
That was her problem: not that she was weak, but that she was willing to be weak when someone stronger was around to save her.
Other characters have grown indeed. Seiya, kind of. Though I think the growth was actually in the short story before this book. So I advice reading Feed the Flames first. I was super disappointed by how Lyre treated Piper. Piper truly thought Lyre was a friend, but he tells her off when she wants to know more about him. In fact, I think he pretty much states they're friends because of Ash. Through the series I thought Lyre was a true friend of Piper, but some of the conversations and actions tossed that all out the window.
Good news is Feed the Flames let us see into Lyre a bit more. Better news is that I don't think Lyre and Seiya will be a couple. Actually I thought maybe hints of Miysis and Seiya being something was teased. (Or was that my extreme dislike of Seiya coloring things?)
Piper's battle with using the Sahar is a freaking adrenaline rush. Let's be honest the battle is with Natania. Natania isn't some evil being though. I totally get where she is coming from and feel for her. Besides that she's been trapped in that stone for ages with the memories of the men she loves betraying her. She's cray-cray for vengeance. All that combined means she's now coo coo for male draconian daemon. Boy do I fear for Ash because Natania has focused the cray-cray and coo coo on him. It really makes me nervous. Piper isn't nervous enough.
“Just for tonight, I want to forget about it all and just be with you.”
Speaking of Ash and Piper: fans will be happy! Their romantic build up has been a true treat. Each book they've discovered more about each other and I'm totally invested in them. Thank you Annette Marie for giving me a romantic build up and sexual tension that spans more than a single book.
“Just for tonight,” he whispered, “and for as long as you want me.”
Another solid entry to one of my favorite series! I'm saddened that there is only one book left, but author Annette Marie is gonna give me at least one last wild ride! The huge plot twists with Piper's parent's seemed very off—as in predictable. Not to mention Piper's dad apparently acting out of character, which I didn't pick up on. That's all we've seen him be. Though the big ender shook me still. The final battle is coming! It's gonna be epic. Personally I'm on team destroy the Sahar and let Natania free. After all Natania deserves it and dead woman can't disturb (or hurt Ash) things.
Man the final book is gonna be a killer. Can't wait.
Content Warning: Killing and violence, noting to explicit and is the usual for the series. Sex scene that is not explicit and of course the usual sexual humor.
5/5- Fabulous, a beautiful obsession!
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