by Erin Kellison
First book in the series was Shadow Bound, also reviewed by Superwench.
Deep in Twilight, in the forested realm where fey rule beneath the shadowed trees, a predator stalks the graceful mortal Annabella, hungry for her power. For Annabella’s talent with ballet is indeed magical, transcending the mortal realm until her dance calls Twilight near–and brings into her world both her wolf stalker and a man who appoints himself her guardian angel.
Custo Santovari was last seen in Erin Kellison’s Shadow Bound, where he passed through the Twilight Shadowlands to what lay beyond. Now he’s back in Shadow Fall, eager to continue his fight with the wraith, but more important, eager to banish Annabella’s stalker from the mortal world before Annabella, too, vanishes into Twilight–forever.
Since Shadow Bound didn’t give me enough of this very interesting Custo character, I was pleased to see him as the protagonist of Shadow Fall, and I wasn’t disappointed at that. Not only do Custo and Annabella have conflicts, but their conflicts feel real. So many times, I run across characters whose inner conflicts come across as staged, only present because that’s “the rule” for making complex characters. Not so here. These characters are realistic, a challenging task. And likeable, too, which still astonishes me, as urban fantasy so often disappoints on that front for me. No bitchy, kick-ass heroines or tough-guy jerks in sight. Custo and Annabella can hold their own without an attitude problem. This continues to be my favorite aspect of Kellison’s books.
Another thing I looked forward to in Shadow Fall was spending more time in Twilight, and her again I was pleased. The vehicle through which we get to Twilight in this book was such a perfect way to enter into the land’s macabre beauty. I have always been awed by ballet (perhaps because it’s a mystery to me how one can be so graceful, as I am the world’s clumsiest person). It’s so etheral almost, so strong and airy all at once, and its delicate grace is a perfect complement to the land of the fey. The concept of artistic mediums as a gateway to another world is another continuing aspect of this series that I love, and I’m really excited to see where that thread leads in later books.
As with Shadow Bound, I find it hard to find complaints about Shadow Fall. The one nitpicky detail that sticks out is that I didn’t think Custo’s own artistic talent (I won’t say what it is), which we learn about closer to the end of the book, was adequately set up. It seemed a bit sudden that he should have this interest and talent when it never appeared in his thoughts before. To reach that level of mastery, you must be consumed by it enough that not a day goes by when it doesn’t cross your mind. But that’s hardly any reason not to read this book. A nitpick, like I said.
With its ventures into the fey’s brooding and beautiful Twilight woods, the wolf stalking the lovely ballerina, and one man’s quest to save her, Shadow Fall reads like a New York fairy tale. As with its predecessor, Shadow Fall is part of Dorchester’s Guaranteed Read program, which means if you’re not satisfied, you can return it by September 27 for a full refund. But also like its predecessor, you may want to forget the refund and make room for it on your shelf. I know I have!
Reviewed by Superwench83.
Katie Lovett, better known around these parts as Superwench83, is an aspiring novelist and published short fiction author. She blogs about writing, books, and the fantasy genre at her website, www.katie-lovett.com.
Tia here. I wasn’t hooked until I read about the ballet. I just love when authors combine some art with magic. Now I’m thinking I need to read these.