Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Shadow City by Diana P. Francis

Title: Shadow City
Author: Diana Pharaoh Francis
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Horngate Witches #3

Mass Market Paperback, 369 pages

Publication: December 27, 2011 by Pocket Books

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The world is falling apart. The magical apocalypse has come. Now is the time to guard the covenstead against both raiders and refugees. But Max has been stolen by a powerful demi-god who is determined to force her to find a way to use a magical power she never knew she had—even if it kills her. Meanwhile, back in Horngate, a Fury is birthing. When the creature breaks free of the fragile bonds that enclose her, her rage will scour the covenstead from the earth. Max finds herself in the Shadow City, a place of mysteries and magic, where she must battle for her freedom or become a slave to creatures of dreadful greed and power. Back in Horngate, Alexander must swallow his anger and pride if he hopes to defeat the Fury, a creature that no one has ever successfully fought before.


It is no secret that the Horngate Witches is one of my favorite urban fantasy series (see ‘favorite series’ tab) , it is by far the most imaginative, dark and gritty written urban fantasy out in the genre. Shadow City is the third book in the Horngate Witches series, which takes place a few weeks after the events in Crimson Wind.  Max, our protagonist was captured by the demi-god Scooter at the end of the last book, and finally readers learn the reason why in Shadow City. Scooter ‘Nayan’ is slowly dying, and he needs Max to go with him to Chadaré (shadow city) to retrieve his heart, horn, and silk that was stolen from him long ago. Chadaré is a city through the abyss full of unknown creatures and magic that Max has never seen before, she will have to battle the Korvads and win if she wants to save Scooter and get out alive.
Meanwhile, back at Horngate Alexander, Giselle and the other blades and spears are battling a problem of their own, a fury is being born that threatens the destruction of Horngate and it’s surrounding. Furies are born from the souls of women who have been brutally betrayed, the most powerful-disastrous force of the embodiment of all suffering women.  Time is running out as Max searches for Scooter’s missing part and as Alexander and the gang try to keep Horngate from another cataclysmic blow.   

This book had two stories going at once, one with Max and Scooter in Chadaré and the other with Alexanader and the entire coven stead at Horngate. The chapters jumps back and forth (sometimes two chapters at a time) between Max in Chadaré and Alexander in Horngate, I love both sides of their stories and how it came together towards the end of the book.  Readers are in for a real treat when Max arrives with Scooter in Chadaré, as we get a whole new play ground to explore. Chadaré is different at every turn, one minute you think you’re standing in Arabia, the next a futuristic blue crystal city or back in the renaissance era with medieval castles. I was also glad to learn more about Scooter, who before in the previous book was a total mystery...and underneath that disguise of a man lays a demi-god with scales, horn and talons. 

The world building is already top-notch and complex all on its own, but the characters is also another reason that makes this series a must read for all urban fantasy fans. While Max and Alexander were separated for most of the book, I still enjoyed the interactions they had with the rest of the cast of characters. Francis introduces a new ally demi-god, Ilanion that helps Max in Chadaré but not without motives of his own and readers also get to see Valery and Holt again from the previous book as they help Alexander with the Fury business. Oh almost forgot! There were also an animal/creature bonding going on which I found funny and fascinating in both worlds for Max and Alexander… a pack of grims, dog-like beast and a tagalong calopus. 

Another amazing addition to the series, readers get everything that they love in the previous books plus more. I can’t recommend this series enough, if you haven’t started this series yet…what are you waiting for?! Buy it now, and I highly suggest you read this series in order starting with Bitter Night, Crimson Wind, Shadow City and finally Blood Winter.  Superb writing, world and characters that will stay with you long after you finish a book, I can’t wait to read the next book in the series! 

FTC disclaimer: Pocket Books provided me with a copy of Shadow City , and in return I provide an honest review.

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