Wendy Darling's Reviews > Shadow Heir

Shadow Heir by Richelle Mead
Rate this book
Clear rating

3.5 stars Oh Eugenie, Eugenie, Eugenie. Throughout all four of the Dark Swan books, I feel like you could have used a good girlfriend you could call whenever you had the urge to do something silly. Unfortunately, you didn't have my number, and as much as I've enjoyed your company, I still have to fight the urge to shake some sense into you, even after all this time.

In Shadow Heir, Eugenie Markham has her twin babies but hides them away in fear of their safety. She returns to the faery world to find that a disaster has fallen on her land, and she must work together with both allies and enemies in order to save the Otherworld that she's come to love. Eugenie's story has always been a lot of fun from the very beginning, when we first learned she was a half-human, half-fae shaman for hire who learns that she's destined to be part of a prophecy that will wreak havoc upon the mortal world. I've really enjoyed her learning to harness her powers (she can control water elements!), uncovering the truth behind her past, and watching her become a more powerful, more dedicated Queen in the faery kingdom. All of the battle scenes are really fun, and if some of the plot points are a bit on the predictable side, that hasn't mattered as much to me because the characters are all nuanced and interesting, the dialogue is snappy and humorous, and the overall story lines are fast-paced and entertaining.

What's been much less enjoyable has been watching Eugenie bounce back and forth between her two love interests, the half-Japanese, half-fox shapeshifter Kiyo, and the madly flirtatious, deadly ambitious King Dorian. While both men were equally attractive in the beginning, the love triangle dragged out interminably, with pretty bad behaviors from everyone concerned. Both men have their own agendas and secrets that they keep from Eugenie, but in the last book Iron Crowned, one of them made a horribly treacherous and unforgivable move, and I went into this book absolutely gunning for blood. (view spoiler) One really funny thing about this last installment is that pretty much everyone else in the book hates him, too! Different characters kept bringing up the idea of killing the traitor again and again, to my great satisfaction.

I did very much enjoy reading this story and I was happy that many of the threads that were left hanging in the last book were concluded--but I'm not sure I'm happy about the way they were resolved. Eugenie makes some pretty awful tactical errors, seems deliberately obtuse throughout much of the story, and in the end sets upon a course that made my blood pressure go up a few notches. There is just no reason that she shouldn't have learned by now that dishonesty and deception are never going to pay off. Her decisions at the end were illogical, poorly conceived, and completely unfair to everyone concerned. Also...(view spoiler)

Richelle Mead's heroines are always strong, dominant women, which is part of what I like about them--but after producing three series which manage to entertain and frustrate readers in nearly equal measure, it's pretty clear to me that the biggest issue is that in trying to make her main character flawed, she so often makes the main character stupid as well. Or at least irrational and thoughtless, which is so frustrating when our heroine usually otherwise behaves with a great deal of courage and integrity and common sense. That's not to say that obstacles shouldn't be thrown in the main character's way or that she shouldn't make mistakes, since that's what keeps things interesting. But there should be solid reasons given for withholding information/not taking action/etc, etc., other than just to extend the story. We can't root for the heroine if we're suddenly rolling our eyes at her all the time.

So this is, once again, a mixed conclusion to a Richelle Mead series. I still enjoy her books quite a lot because they're so darned entertaining--but things never seem to end with my having as much respect for the heroine as I did in the beginning. It is so very disappointing when it appears that readers believe in the characters' self-worth and honor more than their author does.

**My thanks go out to the lovely Flannery for knowing how much I was dying to read this book and being kind enough to share her ARC.**

158 likes · Likeflag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Shadow Heir.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

11/29/2011 page 16
4.0% "Hah, Dorian refers to Ohio as "Ohoho."" 2 comments
11/29/2011 page 189
48.0% "I still hate this freaking fox. DIE DIE DIE." 22 comments

Comments (showing 51-100 of 144) (144 new)

message 51: by mrsj (new) - rated it 4 stars

mrsj Thanks, Wendy! :)

Wendy Darling You're welcome! I'm not going to read it, since we're just a month away. I'll wait and celebrate or gnash my teeth then. :) Fingers crossed this is good.

message 53: by AH (new) - rated it 3 stars

AH Wendy Darling wrote: "You're welcome! I'm not going to read it, since we're just a month away. I'll wait and celebrate or gnash my teeth then. :) Fingers crossed this is good."

I don't read excerpts. Then I get confused and think I've read the book already.

Katie - had to laugh when you said I hope this isn't a what to expect when you're expecting book....

Katie I know, right! (view spoiler)

Wendy Darling Hah hah, Katie. Don't worry, she's still pregnant in the beginning but it's not all nappies and breastfeeding. ;)

message 56: by Lani (new)

Lani Woodland Wendy. I need to know. Did she pick the right guy?

message 57: by Sashana (new)

Sashana I really, really need to find the time to read book 3. Not enough hours in a day.

message 59: by Lani (new)

Lani Woodland YAy! Because I think we were both rooting for the same right guy. *wink*

Wendy Darling I would have been really, really angry if it had turned out any other way.

message 61: by [deleted user] (new)

WHOA. WHOA! You got to read this?! How? :O

Wendy Darling My friend very generously loaned me her ARC. :)

message 63: by [deleted user] (new)

You are so lucky O.O If there's one series I fangirl over, it's this one!

Wendy Darling I know, I am tremendously grateful! The funny thing is, I initially said "no, that's okay" when she offered because I thought it was out December 6! But nope, not until 12/27. Silly me.

message 65: by mrsj (new) - rated it 4 stars

mrsj So... how's the book? No rating? *bites nails*

Wendy Darling I liked it, Mrs. J... I'm just trying to decide how much I liked it, as there are some things I wish had been done a little better. And I'm not sure how I feel about some of the choices at the end.

Shauna See I like that you've said the word choices though. My recent reading of 'The Reckoning' has left me pathetically thankful Mead can make-and stick to-a decision, whether it's what I would have chosen or not.

Wendy Darling Ugh, DO NOT SPEAK TO ME of that book, Shauna! Ugh, that book! I read it a month ago and I'm still not over what happened.

Yes, Eug definitely makes a choice. I mean, she still makes some stupid decisions along the way, but I don't want to gouge my eyes out or anything.

message 69: by Kt (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kt I just finished my ARC copy. I agree with you Wendy about the choices at the end. I kind of think they were terrible. Also it just feels unfinished. Too many questions and things left open. I'm going to have to let it "simmer" for a while before I review it.

Wendy Darling I'm so glad you agree, Kt! Real spoilers below, so please don't click if you haven't read the book yet.

(view spoiler)

I'm about to write my review--I will be very curious to see yours, too.

message 71: by Kt (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kt Wendy Darling wrote: "I'm so glad you agree, Kt! Real spoilers below, so please don't click if you haven't read the book yet."

Spoilers coming so be warned :)

(view spoiler)

Wendy Darling Yes, I agree. It's so weird to me that the heroine in her YA series behaves more conscientiously (okay, except for book 6) than her adult series. I've had moments of frustration with Eug, but never as much as I did in this one, probably because it's the end...and by now she should know better.

(view spoiler)

message 73: by Limonessa (new)

Limonessa Ops I started reading and then I stopped Wendy. (view spoiler)

Wendy Darling Sorry, Lisa. I normally write fairly spoiler-free reviews, but since that information is in the book's blurb and it's a major plot point, I went ahead and included it here. Figured it's fair game for a series...

message 75: by Limonessa (last edited Dec 06, 2011 12:25AM) (new)

Limonessa Well I guess it's normal something would be disclosed, but I'll read your review later on. I had a heart attack when I read that line. I already half followed that "kill the fox" campaign and it was fun. My interest has definitely increased.

Wendy Darling Catch up, Lisa, so you can join that campaign too! ;)

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja) I totally agree with you about this book giving me high blood pressure. I absolutely hated what she did at the end.

message 78: by K. (last edited Dec 06, 2011 05:16AM) (new)

K. Agreed on your point about Mead's heroines. Granted, I've only read (and intend to read) one series by her, but VA never caught on for me. I disliked Rose much of the time...Lissa, Christian and Adrian were the only reasons I even bothered to kinda sorta finish the series.

message 79: by AH (new) - rated it 3 stars

AH From your review, it sounds like she is setting up a young adult story (view spoiler)

message 80: by Tatiana (last edited Dec 06, 2011 06:04AM) (new)

Tatiana The biggest issue is that in trying to make her main character flawed, she so often makes the main character stupid as well.

I still enjoy her books quite a lot because they're so darned entertaining--but things never seem to end with my having as much respect for the heroine as I did in the beginning. It is so very disappointing when it appears that readers believe in the characters' self-worth and honor more than their author does.

Well said, Wendy. I feel like Richelle constantly sabotages her characters, in the end making them very unlikable. I like flawed characters, but for some reason, Mead's character finish their journeys without learning to be better people.

I take it, (view spoiler)?

Beatriz  Lins Great review, Wendy, but now I'm worried about who Eugenie will choose in the end O.O Why doesn't she just kill the fox? It would make life so easier.
I can't wait for this book to come out. ANd I've had the same issues with Mead's characters. In the beggining, they're logical, strong and brave, and that's what usually draws me into the series. But then, small actions and decisions start to bother me, and by the time the last book is out, I really want to get into the story and yell at her.
I hoped that, with Eugenie, it'd be different. =(

Ps: The russian cover for Thorn Queen is HILARIOUS.

Samina ~ Escapism~ I agree Beatriz, they start off so well which hooks you to the series and as the series goes on, the main character kinda gets lost and becomes this really annoying person whom you want nothing to do with.

message 83: by Wendy Darling (last edited Dec 06, 2011 08:39AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Wendy Darling Lady Danielle, I'm really looking forward to reading your review. I had moments of frustration throughout the book, but it wasn't until the end that I got really annoyed.

That's so funny, K., because I actually liked Rose quite a lot, and I felt as though she was believably flawed for a 16-year-old. The last VA book was disappointing to me because I felt like she acted out of character. I did like Christian and Adrian too--but Lissa drove me up the wall, hah. I deleted a whole paragraph from this review about how all the Mead heroines need better supporting female characters.

AH, I wouldn't be surprised to see (view spoiler) My spoilers in the review aren't really that bad, though the spoilers in the comments are real! I can't believe you read them, hah.

Exactly, Tatiana. I wish she could figure out a way to write flaws that doesn't sabotage the main character, as we shouldn't have less respect for the heroine the more we get to know her. It's different when the girl is annoying and unexceptional to begin with; Mead's characters are usually really kickass and try to behave with some integrity...except when it comes to the middle/latter part of their relationships. Then all of the sudden they start to behave selfishly or stupidly for very little good reason. (view spoiler)

Thanks Beatriz. Don't worry too much, though, just try to read the book with an open mind! I am usually a little ambiguous (and perhaps a little deliberately misleading) when it comes to writing reviews like this. ;) You'll enjoy the fact that everyone else pretty much keeps telling Eug to kill the fox, too--or casually offering to do it for her.

I'm glad you and Samina agree about these Mead heroines. I wish she'd take a look at The Shadow Reader to see how a love triangle could be handled with dignity, as well as how a heroine can keep her integrity--and our respect for her--intact. I still like Eugenie; unfortunately, I just found her less and less smart with each subsequent book.

message 84: by Steph (new)

Steph Sinclair One of these days I'll get around to reading this series.

Wendy Darling Well...she might drive you up the wall, Stephanie.

message 86: by Steph (new)

Steph Sinclair Wendy Darling wrote: "Well...she might drive you up the wall, Stephanie."

Oh, no! Worse than Bloodlines and the conclusion to the Succubus series?

Wendy Darling Nothing is as bad as Bloodlines, hah. And I have always liked Dark Swan better than Succubus, so...maybe it won't be so bad for you after all. You're accustomed to the Mead formula at least!

message 88: by K. (last edited Dec 06, 2011 10:21AM) (new)

K. Haha, well Lissa was a bit dull but compared to how Rose was sometimes, I well preferred her. And its good to be flawed, I wasn't looking for Rose to be perfect but I think there's something wrong when virtually every decision the main character made made me want to stab myself in the eye --- but, of course, to each her own. Don't worry, this doesn't change my opinion of you! ;)

Although, I was surprised you liked the books. I just wouldn't have guessed...Because even the writing itself, I found quite pedestrian.

Wendy Darling Well, if you weren't a fan of Rose, I can see how it'd be hard to like the books. Vampire Academy is actually one of my favorite YA series, though--I liked the characters, the unusual choice to tell it from the non-princess point of view, the action, the humor, and the overall story. So basically, just about everything except Lissa and some of the crazy stuff that happens with Dimitri and Adrian in books 5 and 6.

Don't worry, I won't jump all over you for not liking VA either!

Katie There was a point where I thought that RM could do no wrong...but I was the one in the wrong! She totally dogged (view spoiler) IMO. The thing that puzzled me the most about the Succubus series ender (view spoiler) This is basically PNR, right? Where is the romance? (view spoiler) Poor Dorian!

Wendy Darling I agree, Katie. (view spoiler)

This is more UF than PNR, I think, but (view spoiler)

Elena Lovely review as usual, Wendy!

My decision whether to read this book or not rested entirely upon finding out who Eug ends up with. I am satisfied with what I hear, ladies, and my hands itch for this novel already!

However, I can't help but worry about how the story is going to turn out and those rotten Eugenie's decisions you mention. I fear conclusion to this series is going to leave me dissapointed just like other Mead's series. I mean I wasn't able to get through more than a few Succubus books because I just felt so sorry for Georgie and her lifestyle left me somewhat unsettled. And VA... It was such a shame that after loving the series and Rose for so long I couldn't pick up Last Sacrifice because I knew I would die with disappointment. If this is going to be the case with Shadow Heir I'm afraid I'm gonna have to give up on this author entirely :(

And by the way, there are 6 books planned out for Bloodlines? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? :(

message 93: by Meg ♥ (new) - added it

Meg ♥ "it's pretty clear to me that the biggest issue is that in trying to make her main character flawed, she so often makes the main character stupid as well."

That's so true. Thanks for reviewing this!

Wendy Darling Thanks Elena! I think you'll still enjoy it overall. You'll see what I mean about the ending, but it's probably not what you're worried about right now. I wasn't a huge fan of Georgina's lifestyle either, btw--the whole set up was just something that made me uncomfortable, something I didn't pinpoint until the fourth book Succubus Heat. I've always liked Eugenie's story much better, though, there's just more at stake with the kingdoms and the faery and human worlds. And her powers and supporting cast were more interesting to me, too.

And my pleasure, Meg. :)

message 95: by Mithrendiel (last edited Dec 06, 2011 04:14PM) (new)

Mithrendiel Fantastic review! I couldn't agree more with this:

I still enjoy her books quite a lot because they're so darned entertaining--but things never seem to end with my having as much respect for the heroine as I did in the beginning. It is so very disappointing when it appears that readers believe in the characters' self-worth and honor more than their author does.

Some basic sense of honor is a must for me if I’m going to love a protagonist. I don’t expect perfection, quite the contrary… I'm a huge fan of flawed characters. But nothing drives me more nuts than protagonists without some sort of moral compass, who repeatedly make the same mistakes, are willfully blind to the implications of their actions, or fail to grow enough through a series. For some reason I don’t fully understand Ms. Meade loves to throw infidelity into all of her stories, which instantly makes me loose a ton of respect for her characters. (view spoiler) I really don’t get why she feels the need to do this. I doubt she’s introducing this element to make her characters more flawed, and then give them room to grow, as she seems to throw in this element late in the series. Some of her characters even failed to recognize just how terrible their actions were. It’s a puzzle to me as the infidelity adds nothing to the story, and takes away so much respect.

On the topic of the Succubus series and Roman. I loved him as a character. He actually took the time to care about what was important to Georgina. (view spoiler) I sincerely hope we’ll get to see him in another series at some point.

message 96: by ♥Rachel♥ (new)

♥Rachel♥ Hmmmmm.....never read Richelle Mead's adult series. This review gives me pause. I hate it when characters make unbelievably stupid decisions. Ones that readers have a hard time buying. Great review Wendy. :)


Hell hath no fury like a Hayden scorned.

Wendy Darling Yes, there always does seem to be infidelity in RM books; and it's always unnecessary and wince-inducing. I wish she'd find another way to make her characters flawed, too Mithrendiel. I liked Roman a lot too, and I liked Adrian as well. If you're a fan of Adrian, btw, Dorian in this series is like the grown up version of him, without the smoking and alcohol. ;)

Rachel, I definitely like VA a lot better than RM's adult series. Both Georgina and Eugenie act pretty stupidly sometimes...though I still enjoyed reading them, despite their flaws. Maybe a decent library read when you're bored!

Aw, it'll be out in just 3 weeks, Hayden. Besides, you got to read Hallowed too!

message 99: by Hayden (last edited Dec 07, 2011 08:31AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Hayden On NetGalley . . . :(
How many pages was the ARC of this?

Wendy Darling Hah, why do you ask about the # of pages, Hayden? It's 390 pages, though, and is in mass market format. I'm still going to have to buy myself a copy of this when it comes out, too.

back to top