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Review: Shadows at Midnight by Amanda Bonilla (Shaede Assassin #5)

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Shadows at Midnight by Amanda Bonilla // VBCShadows at Midnight (Shaede Assassin #5)
Amanda Bonilla
Published: Sept. 24, 2015 (NYLA)
Purchase: Amazon
Review source: copy provided by author in exchange for an honest review

Reviewed by: Margaret

Rating (out of 5): 4 stars

Note: While review will be spoiler free, it does make reference to previous books in the series. If you haven’t started yet, check out VBC’s review of Shaedes of Gray.

First of all, this is not the book to start with if you’re new to the series. The beginning is disorienting and disconcerting even when you know what’s going on. Darian has been captured by the queen of the Rakshasas and is tortured as punishment for killing the queen’s son. The physical aspects of that torture are gruesome enough, but it’s the mental aspect that really gets to Darian. Rakshasas are masters of illusion and feed on fear. Darian is haunted by visions of her loved ones expressing their disappointment and abandoning her.

Just when she’s at her lowest point, Tyler arrives to rescue her. She doesn’t discover until later that he traded Xander to the Rakshasas in order to secure her release. Darian then goes back to rescue Xander, as everyone knew she would. I loved the Temple of Doom aspects her rescue mission, navigating booby-trapped caverns and battling goblins in the dark. But that winds up being a pretty small part of the story. Once Darian and Xander are safe, they have a coup within the Shaede kingdom to deal with, as well as a threat from the Jinn Synod who are not happy with Tyler and Darian’s relationship.

I liked the addition of those goblins to the Shaede world, but I really loved the pixies. I also loved that the supporting cast of Shaede warriors like Myles and Liam gets to play a bigger role than usual. Fans of Tyler will be happy to know that he gets a lot of extra page time as well. Personally though, I’m kind of hoping that Team Asher becomes an option.

I think this book also assumes a preexisting emotional attachment to the characters. There’s not much summary of previous events or re-introduction of characters. I actually wished I’d done a re-read before starting because I felt a little bit disconnected. (It’s been sixteen months since the last book in the series released.) But I don’t think anyone would regret starting the series at the beginning, whether it’s for the first time or a re-read. Shaede Assassin is one of my favorite under appreciated series. Amanda Bonillas Shaedes are unlike any other creatures Ive found in urban fantasy.

Against the Dawn was one of my favorites of 2014, so I had some pretty high expectations going in to Shadows at Midnight. Maybe that’s why I didn’t love it as much as I wanted to. But I think the real reason is that it’s mostly about emotional tension rather than a physical threat, though it moves really quickly for a book so full of feels, and it got me thinking too much. I started questioning Darian’s feelings about the men in her life, especially Tyler. I wondered why Xander and Tyler seem to fall in love with her at first sight. And why, given Darian’s history of being used and manipulated by men, she was so trusting of either of them.

With all of that going on my head, the big twist at the end lost some of its impact for me. It also has me thinking again. I’m writing the next book in my head right now, trying to figure out what it means and what’s going to happen next. I hope I don’t have to wait so long to find out this time.

Sexual content: sex

One Response to “Review: Shadows at Midnight by Amanda Bonilla (Shaede Assassin #5)”

  1. This one will likely be one of my top 2015 books. This series is at its best when it goes dark, and I think that’s why this book worked so well for me. It went to heavy emotional places, which totally pushes my buttons.

    I’ve long been Team Xander, but I might have finally warmed up to Tyler for an HEA. LOL

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