Recommend by: Riley
Shadow Fires features Shielder Jenna dan Aron, who gives up the life she knows in order to help her own people. Four seasons ago, Jenna’s vision foretold Arion’s visit and the price he would ask for his services. A mate. Jenna agrees to become the mate of Comdar Arion of the Leors in order to help her fellow Shielders.
Jenna is different. Her abilities have set her apart from her people. The people of the Shielder community are afraid of her visions. The avoid her. They shun her. This has made Jenna a loner, avoiding contact with everyone. As a result, Jenna is NOT a smart-talking, butt-kicking heroine that doesn’t take crap from anyone. But it is the very nature of a shunned recluse that makes Jenna a true heroine.
Jenna is brave to come forward and agree to become Arion’s mate, when she has never met him before and it means leaving behind everything she ever knew. She is brave to travel to a new planet and agree to live in a desert climate and home that is not made for Shielder comfort. And she is brave to put up with Leor prejudice and resentment even though she has done nothing to cause it, all the while eschewing conflict with other Leors.
A heroine is someone who, when the need arises, willingly embraces the unknown. So yes, Jenna is an awesome heroine!
As the hero, Comdar Arion’s role in Shadow Fires was vexatious. Oh he is is strong and handsome and protective. But Arion is totally lacking in any relevant information about Humans. So while Jenna is quietly struggling to adapt to life among the Leors, Arion is slow to figure out what she needs to do so. Therefore drawing out the getting-to-know-you phase of the courtship. Sometimes humorous, sometime frustrating and sometimes heartwarming, the love story in Shadow Fires is always interesting.
I liked the setting in a Leor society on a desert planet. Ms. Spangler has imagined a marvelous world and culture. The Leor’s appear to live in primitive conditions, but their defensive technology is top-notch. They are a very spiritual society that embraces knowledge and enforces strict adherence to their laws. The rest of the universe views them as savage, primitive and even cruel warriors. Experiencing outsider Jenna getting to know the real Leors was enlightening.
If you have read any of the Shielder series, you know the political environment of the universe is rife with conflict and conspiracies and double-dealing bad guys. In Shadow Fires, there are hints of this throughout the book and towards the end, there is a focus on this political intrigue. It added insight to the big picture Controller problem and depth to the story. However, I felt this bit of the story was not so interesting because as I was reading it, I was anticipating the outcome. And I was pretty darn close.
Shadow Fires is the latest book in Catherine Spangler’s Shielder series. Like all books in the series, it stands on its own. The first book, Shielder, is still my favorite as it was my introduction to Ms. Spangler. But I think Jenna’s and Arion’s story is the most compelling of the series. I hope you will give Shadow Fires a try.
May joy be your shadow. — Shielder Blessing
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