Review: Shaedes of Gray by Amanda Bonilla (2011, #1 Shaede Assassin series)

Review: Shaedes of Gray by Amanda Bonilla (2011, #1 Shaede Assassin series)Author: Amanda Bonilla
Title: Shaedes of Gray
Series: Shaede Assassin #1
Publisher: Penguin
Pages: 336
Release Date: 2011-12-06
Genres: Urban Fantasy
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...
Format: Paperback
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four-half-stars

I received a copy of book four in this series from Netgalley. Instead of trying to start the series with that one, I decided I better read at least book one first so I could have an understanding of the world and characters. I’m glad I did! Shaedes of Gray is a great book!

Usually, I am put off by assassins in urban fantasy. Despite author’s efforts to make the assassin likable, I find myself having a hard time relating to someone who kills for a living.

In Shaedes of Gray, that wasn’t a problem. I immediately liked the main character Darian who kills because she doesn’t have any other skills or connections to the world. She is selective in who she will assassinate, which is a testament to her person because after everything she’s been through at the hand of some people, one would think she’d be less discretionary.

The Shaede who had taught her to be an assassin, who had told her there were no others of their kind, who had left her without a word, was the last man she loved.

She’s not bitter or hateful. She’s alone (mostly by choice) and focused on her work.

Darian is attracted to her boss Tyler, yet denies herself because she doesn’t feel she has the capacity for love or even a connection to someone else. It’s kind of like her heart died along the way.

This all changes when she meets Xander, the king of the Shaedes. She finds out she is not the only one of her kind. There is a whole supernatural world she was unaware of, and she’s not as immortal or bad-ass as she thought.

Throughout the book, though, she evolves and she ends up being truly one-of-a-kind. I think it’s cool how she started out thinking she was the only one, when she really wasn’t, and ended up actually being the only one.

It’s evident that a lot of thought went into this book to make it unique and cohesive. I didn’t notice any inconsistencies or problems with the logic.

I really liked how the abuse she endured as a human was the catalyst for turning into a shaede. She slipped away, literally, from human to shadow. I’m sure there are a lot of women out there who have done this, at least in a psychological sense.

I only had a few complaints about Shaedes of Gray. The first is that there is a pretty big information dump in Chapter Six. I understand that the reader needs this information to understand why she is so bothered by Xander, but it could have been trickled in rather than put in one big explanation.

Second, I didn’t like how love was played as the cure-all. It seemed a little corny. To explain this, I have to give a little spoiler, so please skip the next paragraph if you don’t want to know anything about the ending.

Darian saves Tyler with love and her blood. I think her blood was sufficient. It made sense logically because she can heal herself, plus her blood brought the gargoyles to life. It makes sense that her blood could heal someone else. To bring love into the equation was unnecessary. I’m not saying she shouldn’t love Tyler. I’m just saying it didn’t need to be part of the solution to his ailment. End Spoiler.

Those two complaints aren’t enough to really sway my overall opinion of Shaedes of Gray. It’s action-packed, but also has a lot of romance, especially toward the end. All the characters are awesome and well-developed. There’s lots of variety in the creatures and mythology. I enjoyed reading it, and I’d recommend it to others.

About Amanda Bonilla

Amanda Bonilla lives in rural Idaho with her husband and two kids. She’s a part-time pet wrangler, a full-time sun worshipper, and only goes out into the cold when coerced. When she’s not writing she’s either reading or talking about her favorite books.

(bio from Goodreads.com)

Jen Schaper

I am a mom of three kids, a wife, and a wannabe author. For Books That Hook, I review books, create features and discussions, design the website, and do all the administrative stuff.

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