Review: Shadow’s Bane by Karen Chance

Reviewed by Jen

It’s been six years since the last book in this series was released. Six. Years. And yet, when I jumped back into the world of Dorina Basarab, I remembered right away why I always enjoyed it so much. That’s not to say I remembered everything that was going on. To say that would be a lie, so if you’re wondering if you should do a re-read of the series, I would not advise against it. And why not? Those books were awesome. And so is Dory herself.

As the story begins, Dory’s life is in a place she never expected it to be. She has been tapped to join the vampire Senate. She is in love with Louis Cesar. She has vampires she is responsible for, as well as trolls, her roommate’s baby and her own sort of adopted child, albeit one that is pretty far from human. The bottom line, she has family. People who love her and depend on her. She is not everyone’s enemy.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t folks who are looking to kill her. There are. It’s just one of several action threads that keep her jumping through hoops at breakneck speed. The manic pacing is a hallmark of these books and it is a mixed blessing. The action keeps you on the edge of your seat, but as with every other installment, I often found myself lost in the melee. And it’s not the only time I struggled to follow along. This book has alternating points of view between Dory, Dorina, and Mircea. The author does a really good job of making sure I knew whose head I was in. The Mircea portions were clearly labeled and in the third person. The Dorina points of view were in italics. And Dory was our main narrator. But where I struggled the most was in the fact that Dorina could take over the bodies of others. In her POV‘s, especially, I couldn’t always follow her thought process or what she was seeing. Especially since it so often jumped right out of an action sequence of Dory’s.

Also, as much as I like Mircea in this series over his character in the Cassie Palmer books, the scenes from his life in flashback were not nearly as riveting as what was happening in the present day. Yes, I know the flashbacks were there for a reason, but there were too many of them and they were too long… and if I’m being honest, I just did not care about them.

I cared plenty about Dory trying to ferret out and shut down slave traders. I cared about how she was coming to terms with her other half and how she and Dorina each viewed the other. I found myself sympathizing so much with Dorina as Dory really began to understand her. I cared about best friend, Claire, and her struggle to coexist with her dragon and to protect her baby. And the whole mystery of who the bad seed was among the fae. I just wish all of this great stuff had not been quite so bogged down with the flashbacks and that maybe the action scenes were a little more abridged.

And what review of this book would be complete without at least a mention of the romance? By no means is it the biggest thread of the story. Goodness knows, there are a million threads going on and plots to keep up with. But I love Louis Cesare as a hero. It is clear that he loves Dory so much and it pulled on my heartstrings to see how she struggled with whether to show her love by staying with him or setting him free. Really good stuff there.

If you have never read from this series, you do not want to start here. Go back to the beginning. It is a great series. This particular installment was a little unbalanced, but I was very glad to have a chance to revisit these characters and continue with them on their journey. In many ways, this felt like an end to the series, but also a beginning. Dory could go anywhere from here.

*ARC provided by publisher

Click to purchase: Amazon

Shadow’s Bane
by Karen Chance
Release Date: July 31, 2018
Publisher: Berkley


  1. I always heard this was a good series. I started the first book maybe 5 years ago or more and just didn’t get into it. Maybe I’ll try again. You make it sound great. Anne – Books of My Heat

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