For Kira Solomon, normal was never an option.
Kira’s day job as an antiquities expert, but her true calling is as a Shadowchaser. Trained from youth to be one of the most lethal Chasers in existence, Kira serves the Gilead Commission dispatching the Fallen who sow discord and chaos. Of course, sometimes Gilead bureaucracy is as much a thorn in her side as anything the Fallen can muster against her. Right now, though, she’s got a bigger problem. Someone is turning the city of Atlanta upside-down in search of a four-millennia-old Egyptian dagger that just happens to have fallen into Kira’s hands.
Then there’s Khefar, the dagger’s true owner-a near-immortal 4000-year-old Nubian warrior who, Kira has to admit, looks pretty fine for his age. Joining forces is the only way to keep the weapon safe from the sinister Shadow force, but now Kira is in deep with someone who holds more secrets than she does, the one person who knows just how treacherous this fight is. Because every step closer to destroying the enemy is a step closer to losing herself to Shadow forever…
I heard about this series and author via a recommendation at Dear Author. We were discussing the way [some] authors and [most] publishers are really screwing with the sub-genre “Urban Fantasy.” Urban Fantasy started as basically Sword & Sorcery but in a modern format and urban location. Somehow someway…Urban Fantasy became Romances with angry, sword wielding women who dressed in strings and had sex with paranormal creatures.
This book…isn’t like that. I mean, it’s still an Urban Fantasy so it stays pretty close to the trope…but there is no emphasis on sex. The moment the heroine made a stupid decision…something bad happened to her. And there are POC characters!! Wow!
One of my favorite scenes in the book? When Khefar(hero) and Kira(heroine) are kissing and they stop. Because they have more important things to do…like planning for and killing the evil bad guy. 😀 There is no sex in this book.
This being an Urban Fantasy, Kira is the strongest Shadowchaser in quite a while. Kira is a bit of loner but it’s not because she’s angry with the world. She is gifted (or as she considers it, cursed) with a power that does not allow her to touch people. If she touched them she would severely hurt them and possibly kill them. That puts a damper on interpersonal relationships, I’d say. She does have some really good “normal” friends but only a few – those she can trust. There is a relationship brewing in this book but it is not the focus of the story. Kira is fascinated with Khefar…but a huge portion of that comes from the fact the he is the only human she can touch.
Another thing I really liked about the book was its ethnicity and different focus. Kira is African American and Khefar is Nubian. Both Kira and Khefer worship Egyptian deities (Kira worships Ma’at and Khefar worships Isis). Egyptology is a large focus of this book (and I’m assuming the series). I haven’t ran across many (if all) fantasy books with this focus so kudos to the author!
While Kira is presented as very powerful, she is faced with a villain she cannot fight alone. She has to grow and learn teamwork during the course of the book. I appreciated the fact that Kira was shown as fallible and I hope that she will be forced into additional growth during the series. I do have a small concern: will she become too powerful? That becomes boring.
There is some info dumping at the beginning of the novel. Some of the terms are not really explained and the author leaves the reader to figure it out via context clues. While I love (love!) the fact that the characters are either African or African American (so far), I had to admit that some of it felt a little…forced? From what I could tell all the characters were African American and that’s just as unrealistic as all Caucasian characters. One of the things I love about Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels series is the diversity of characters.
All in all, this is a fun book with great characters and a fresh background. I’m glad I ran across this author and I will be continuing this series. 4 stars!