Title: Shadow Blade
Author: Seressia Glass
Publisher: Juno Books
PublicationDate: January 26, 2010
Paperback: 352 pages (ebook version reviewed)
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Summary (Authors Website):
For Kira Solomon, normal was never an option.
Kira’s day job as an antiquities expert, but her true calling is as a Shadowchaser. Trained from youth to be one of the most lethal Chasers in existence, Kira serves the Gilead Commission dispatching the Fallen who sow discord and chaos. Of course, sometimes Gilead bureaucracy is as much a thorn in her side as anything the Fallen can muster against her. Right now, though, she’s got a bigger problem. Someone is turning the city of Atlanta upside-down in search of a four-millennia-old Egyptian dagger that just happens to have fallen into Kira’s hands.
Then there’s Khefar, the dagger’s true owner-a near-immortal 4000-year-old Nubian warrior who, Kira has to admit. looks pretty fine for his age. Joining forces is the only way to keep the weapon safe from the sinister Shadow force, but now Kira is in deep with someone who holds more secrets than she does, the one person who knows just how treacherous this fight is. Because every step closer to destroying the enemy is a step closer to losing herself to Shadow forever…
Shadow Blade is the first book in a new series by Seressia Glass, and the first book I have read by this author.
If I deconstructed this book, it would break down easily into an urban fantasy’s typical elements of a Good vs Evil plot and the possible beginning of a romance overlaid with bits and pieces of mythology.
There’s not much to the Good vs Evil plot. Shadows are obviously evil, and Shadowchasers chase after them and put out fires. It depresses me that yet another urban fantasy author is unable to break out of this box.
The typical ‘immortal’ male who has lived forever – or at least millennia – tends to be overly alpha and too ‘take charge’. Worse, they simply cannot understand the boundaries of modern life, and perhaps more importantly, the boundaries around a modern woman. Khefar, on the other hand, appears to be a sensitive kind of guy, with moments of manly display via kicking butt. He bears all the signs of the guy you hook up, is nearly perfect, then you fix him and make him perfect and you don’t want him any more. In the meantime, he’s cute and good to have around.
The worldbuilding, if not inspired, has clearly been thought through; Glass takes us through it when Kira does magic-related stuff in a way that almost, but never quite, breaks the barrier between show and tell.
Kira is the star of the show. The book starts out with her sad and tragic past, also known as ‘why Kira will never be normal’. She is rather low-key, though this might be because we read her thoughts filtered through a tight third-person point of view rather than first-person. But I fail to believe that Kira, with such a past, would act the way she does in Shadow Blade.
I don’t think Glass has done anything new, and to be frank, I don’t think she has done it stunningly well either. But Shadow Blade is a competently written urban fantasy, and who knows, it might work better for you than it did for me.
(Ebook from Emily’s personal library)