Review: Shaedes of Gray by Amanda Bonilla (Shaede Assassin #1)
December 6 2011
Mass Market Paperback
Received from publisher
Kick Ass Chick – Darian
From Goodreads –
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…
When you hear “debut author”, you sometimes cringe just a little bit. Don’t know why really. I mean, after reading amazing first-time books by authors like Carolyn Crane with Mind Games, Allison Pang with A Brush of Darkness and Jenn Bennett with Kindling the Moon, you would think that the stereotype surrounding debut authors would dissipate. But still, when I picked up Shaedes of Gray by Amanda Bonilla, I took a deep breath and crossed my fingers. Let me tell you, within two pages (and no, I am not exaggerating) my fingers were no longer crossed because I just KNEW I had started reading a great book by a really talented author.
Shaedes of Gray is the story of Darian, a Shaede (a being that can basically melt in with the shadows in the night time hours). She thinks she is totally alone. Her maker, Azriel, told her that they were the only two, and when he didn’t come home one night about eighty years ago, she assumed he was dead and that she was now the only Shaede in existence. She doesn’t dwell on that fact, which I liked about her. Darian knows she is strong and believes she can only be killed by a magical sword. She works for Tyler as an assassin. Really, it’s the perfect job for her seeing what her abilities are. But then, during one job, she finds out that nope, she is not so much the last Shaede. Not by a long shot.
I really felt for Darian and how she had been kept in the dark about pretty much everything for over a century. I found how she reacted to everything to be fitting to her character and probably what anyone in her position would do. Darian is my favorite kind of character. A kick ass chick who knows she’s good at what she does but is not so cocky about it that you want to smack her. She is snarky, funny, smart and slightly damaged. But she also has a vulnerable side that not only makes you feel for her but also makes her more relatable. Darian was really well written.
The side characters were also really solid. Tyler, yum. Xander, yum in a different way. Raif, yum in a different way still. Then there’s Anya. There has to be some story behind that one and I am looking forward to seeing her in future books to see what it is.
I mentioned that this book was incredibly unique. I really is! The supernatural beings that you encounter in Shaedes of Gray consist of Shaedes, a Jinn, an Oracle and Lyhtan. You see?! So different!
The Lyhtan’s are pretty much the villains in this book. Of course, there is a master mind behind everything but I won’t tell you who he is. You need to be as surprised as I was when I read it. Boy did I not see that one coming. But back to the Lyhtans for a moment…they are super gross and super creepy and they will quite possibly give me nightmares for a few says still. The many-voice thing and the clicking-clacking-like-bugs thing…*shudder*
Oh, and there is this super action sequence near the end of the book. It was great. So much fun to read. I just thought I would throw that out there.
All in all, this book was freaking awesome! Amanda has such a lovely writing style and her voice is just…lovely. Really, there isn’t a better word for it. I actually tweeted her to see if this was really her first book because it was so eloquently written! The thoughts and ideas were set well and the characters, the world, the story…all were remarkable. In a first book of an urban fantasy series, you expect tons of world building and scene setting. There was a lot of that in Shaedes of Gray, but it was written in a way that was really clever. This book is written from Darian’s point of view. Since she is pretty clueless about her heritage and her people, she learns about it throughout the entire book – and you are just tagging along for the ride in a smooth and painless manner. I loved that.
As you can tell, I was really impressed by this book and by this author. Urban fantasy fans really must pick this one up. And I believe paranormal romance readers will enjoy this one too since there are strong romantic elements to it. I cannot wait for the next book, Blood Before Sunrise, to be released July 3rd 2012. As for Shaedes of Gray, you will no doubt find it on my Favorites of 2011 list. Yes people, it was that good.
Giggle worthy quote
“’Darian, I wish you’d let me protect you.’
Good Lord, did he even know me?
And P.S. Pamela, you were SO right about this book!