I love authors who give me a totally different world to read. Nalini Singh. C.L. Wilson. And definitely Jacquelyn Frank. This Shadowdwellers series has been absolutely terrific to read. I’m hoping there are more books to come in this series, but it looks like fans will have to wait for any more. Ms. Frank is starting two new series and also working on the seventh book in her Nightwalkers series. Since I haven’t read the Nightwalkers yet, they’ll have to keep me busy waiting for the Shadowdwellers to continue. I don’t think that’s going to be a hardship at all.
Of course, one of the best things about these books is the world in which the Shadowdwellers live. Light of any kind, except moonlight, is dangerous and lethal to them. They live their days at night and can fade from Realscape to Dreamscape or Shadowscape in the blink of an eye. Each book gives the reader a thrilling ride through each ‘scape, usually Dreamscape being where the villain will concoct his/her evil deeds.
Next are the characters, all of which are superbly written. We get two stories in this book, Sagan and Valera and then Malaya and Guin. Each couple in this series has had to go through harrowing nightmares to get where they are and to get them to the place they need to be to find their mate, and what a ride the reader is given in each tale.
Sagan is a penance priest, one of few in the religious order of Sanctuary, and he metes out penance with a swift hand when it’s called for. At the end of Rapture, he is captured during a coup to take the reins of Sanctuary from the lead priest, Magus. His fate is left wide open, we know only that he’s been taken by the enemy, a villain to rival any out there. At the beginning of this book when we meet Valera, a natural born witch, she’s battening down for a cold spell on the Alaska ice when two men overtake her home, hauling in what can only be a body tightly wrapped and bound. She inadvertently kills the men by switching on the lights, thus leaving her and their other victim safe.
Very quickly Sagan knows Valera is a special person, despite the fact she’s a former necromancer, evil magic-doers that his people stay away from if possible. Their feelings rapidly grow, but eventually even Val knows that Sagan must return to his home and his duty. But both become stagnant in their lives without the other, and in talking to Magus about what has transpired, Sagan finds a way for Valera to be part of his life.
When we last saw Guin and Malaya, he had left his post as bodyguard for Malaya, the queen half of the twin rulers of the Shadowdwellers. He’s been in love with her for the fifty years he’s protected her, but she thinks of him as a brother. Not wanting to see her give in to the Senate demanding she marry for the good of the monarchy, he’d rather not be around when he learns Malaya is seriously considering their proposal. Suddenly she has a beast of bodyguard showing a different side of himself.
With evil still on a destructive path, intent on taking down the twins and Sanctuary any way possible, Guin is forced to leave his post again to now protect himself when Malaya tries to find a solution to the Senate’s demand that is still detrimental to her happiness. But when she realizes how Guin truly feels, she has to look deep within herself to find why she needs him now more than ever.
Ms. Frank has a way with emotion in her stories, and not just for her heroines where we all expect it. She does quite well conveying a range of emotion from her heroes. Guin goes from frustration to sensual heights to anger faster than he can fade into the shadows around him. And this time the author really got to me. I wondered after reading Sagan and Val’s story if we’d see them again with Guin and Malaya. I had nearly given up that we would when a sudden turn in the plot takes an unexpected turn and the second Sagan appeared in the scene, I knew where it was headed and the tears began to fall. It’s an emotionally packed scene that reaches deep to the romantic soul.
If you’re a paranormal fan and have not read this series, I highly recommend it. It’s very satisifying in all aspects for a reader. I’m keeping my hope alive that there will more additions to this series eventually.
As Chancellor of the Shadowdwellers, Malaya’s first duty is to her people. Her bodyguard, Guin, knows this only too well. For tradition’s sake, Malaya must marry, and the thought of this lush, vibrant, woman in a loveless union is impossible for him to bear. Guin loves Malaya—not as a subject loves his queen but as a man craves a woman. And even if he cannot keep her, he’ll show her everything she stands to lose…
Discipline. Penance. Order. A Sanctuary priest’s life revolves around such things. But when Sagan is taken captive and thrust into the Alaskan wilderness, he encounters a woman who challenges his faith and his self-control. Valera is a natural born witch who almost lost herself to the lure of dark magic. By rights, Sagan should shun her, but convention will count for nothing in the face of a passion that could change the realms of Shadowscape forever…
Read an excerpt.
Other books in this series: