Shadow Kin by M. J. Scott, at first glance, seemed to be trying to establish itself as yet another foray into the “sexy” supernatural fantasy realm. Given that other authors have had stunning success in the genre it isn’t hard to understand why you would want to dip your toes into that stream.
Maybe that initial judgement came to me as I stared at the darkly sensual cover image of one of the novel’s two main characters, ‘Shadow’ herself. Usually when I see cover art such as this I tend to immediately place the book in the mental category of “Oh, my wife will probably love this” as I head towards covers bedecked with starships or bloody orcs.
Whatever my initial bias I am glad I did not dismiss Shadow Kin but instead decided to read it, which I did in a matter of days, during lunch breaks and small stolen moments in the afternoon once home from work.
While there were elements of the book that indeed tended towards books my wife tends to devour as (what she calls) brain junk-food, there was also a truly interesting story anchored on some very solid writing skills.
Brought up by a Blood Lord (think Vampire with power and an insane thirst for more of it), Lily (Shadow), a shadow wraith who can slip between worlds, is raised to be his assassin though she is little more than his slave. When Lily meets her match in her assigned target Simon DuCaine, a powerful SunMage, an unlikely bond develops between them that threatens to disrupt an already unstable peace in a city on the verge of being torn apart by those owing allegiance to both the light and dark.
It reads much better than my summary, by the way. Tons better.
If you are looking for a good solid fantasy book to read that is built on a bloody (pardon the pun) good plot and filled with great action and some fairly smoldering moments of, erm, ‘action’ between the two lead characters, I’ve got to say that I don’t know that I could recommend another book more highly than Shadow Kin.
Now I just need to hope that M. J. Scott is a fast writer so I can find out what happens next in this Novel of the Half-Light City series she’s begun with Shadow Kin, as well as to figure out just how many novels on my wife’s bookshelves are even half as entertaining as this one.