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Shadowspell - Jenna Black Genre: Urban Fantasy YA


With this latest entry into the world of the Faeriewalker series, I can say Black is making a solid come back from the slightly disappointing 3/5 rating I gave her. Her YA books are such a treat because there are some teen issues to deal with, but it’s not all about saving the world and then finding a date for prom. That’s way I’ve been practically bouncing for joy for this series to continue. The plot has the depth that most adult Urban Fantasy books have, which I greatly appreciate. Lately too many YA books have been coming off too shallow for my tastes. Of course, that’s not saying there aren’t a few things that I still don’t like.

Black not only takes the “Return of the Evil Aunt” plot line to its own playing field she introduces a new evil, the Erlking. Let me take the words from the back of the book, “The smoldering, sexy Erlking.” There’s clearly a lot of potential with him, he makes even the Queens of both faerie courts quiver in fear. Black makes sure that the reader understands that the Erlking is in the category of dangerous evil. The Erlking likes to hunt people and chop their heads off, and he wants full rein to do so on the human population. This being one of Black’s books there is still more hidden depth to the Erlking. Events in the book leave you thinking there might be a good side to our bad guy, but then you have to second guess yourself after he barters for Dana’s virginity. Just like Dana you’re going to find your head spinning over our latest yummy man.

Speaking of yummy men, let us go back to our boys Ethan and Keane. Certain plot twists leave your guts quivering in worry for Ethan, but I still can’t find Ethan redeemable. The magic date rape and manipulations from the first book have not been forgotten. Even Dana tries to convince herself that Ethan is bad news for her, it’s too bad that those darn teenage hormones just seem to scream louder. Still I have faith that Black will give us a little more character development for Ethan in the next book, though I doubt I’ll ever approve of him for Dana.

The progress with Keane is nice. He gets more page time then the last book, leading to a nice buildup of emotions between him and Dana. Slowly other sides of Keane are clicking in place, adding a bit of meat to our rebellious bad boy. This was definitely a good book for his character to grow and I still want more! My only complaint is that Dana controls her emotions around him and can say no. He might have a bit of a bad mouth and temper, but he’s still clearly a nice guy. Apparently his mean demeanor is too hard for her to overlook, but Ethan’s magic date rape is only a small thing to overcome.

While Dana’s poor choice in men may irk me, she’s still the same capable girl I’ve grown to like. Dana handles things much better than adults—of course she still has her adolescent moments. Like sneaking out for a party with poor protection when assassins are lurking everywhere. That’s the fun of her character, even though she’s had to take care of herself for most of her life she still has a few teenage moments. Dana also gets the pleasure of knowing what a true friend is after being friendless for so long, it’s really touching. Also the maturity of Dana’s view towards her mom and alcoholism has changed rapidly. Black hits the denial of alcohol on the nose.

Bottom Line: This is a series for readers who are sick and tired of the YA angst fluff that seems to be coloring the genre. Prepare for a unique world and a worthy plot to go with it. Dana is one of the more likeable characters in the genre and you shouldn’t pass her up. Plus, you can indulge your fan girl side with all of the hotties available here. The Faeriewalker series is cemented as one of my favorite YA UF reads, especially YA fairy books.

Sexual Content:

The Erlking is super old and he’s trying to seduce a 16/17 year old, some readers may have a problem with this even if he looks no older than his early 20s. Also contains a pretty graphic "almost" rape scene. For a YA book this is pretty mature.

Rating: 4/5- Great! Really enjoyed it