Many thanks to the author for the review copy.
I like the cover image of this novel. There’s something tantalizing about it, something that keeps drawing my eye again and again. The font is cool, too. But what about the insides of this book?
Forsaken By Shadow is a gripping urban fantasy romance which follows Cade Shepherd as he wakes up injured and alone in a motel with no memory of who he is or how he got there. Making a life for himself as a champion boxer, Cade cannot shake the nagging sensation that something is missing from his life. Then Embry — a gorgeous, strangely familiar woman — turns up and gives Cade his old life back, bringing back his memories of the hidden paranormal world and his life as a Shadow Walker. But the memories come at a price, for Embry’s father has been kidnapped and Cade is her only hope to rescue him….
This story starts with a bang. Cade wakes up alone in a seedy motel, disoriented, panicked, his hands severely burned. There was someone he wanted to save, someone he was willing to die for, but who? Jump forward several years and Cade is walking onto the Ultimate Fighter arena — he may not remember who he is, but his body sure remembers how to fight. This is one tough protagonist who can kick ass and won’t let anything bring him down. He’s a survivor.
Embry is a survivor in a different way. She arrives on the scene set to seduce Cade and rope him into helping her father, and it soon becomes clear that for her young(er) age, she’s toughed up fast, although vestiges of her innocence remain. She’s determined to rescue her father from a high-security army base no matter the risk, even if the Counsel has specifically told her not to. A woman with spunk, then. (It certainly helps that she can produce flames at will.)
Illegality and physical danger aside, the situation is made even more difficult by the attraction between Cade and Embry, which amnesia and time did not manage to erase. The reluctance is more on Cade’s part than Embry’s, for Cade admires Embry’s father and thinks he should treat Embry as a little sister. But it’s impossible to deny his feelings, and things tend to get heated with a firestarter around (pun intended).
I don’t know whether this story simply came at the right time, but I really enjoyed it. The characters are believable, the romance isn’t overdone, and there are some wicked, well-written action scenes. The worldbuilding was equally intriguing, with a host of unusual magical talents and the feeling that much more lies beneath the surface — I can only hope Nolan comes out with a sequel soon.
Perhaps my only nitpick? I didn’t find Cade as sexy as I wanted him to be. I’m a pretty tough customer that way, but I much preferred amnesiac Cade to himself-with-memories — the devil-may-care attitude of the former was far more gripping than the duty-torn responsible version. Not to say he wasn’t sexy; I’m just picky. :-D
In sum, a suspensful, entertaining urban fantasy set in an intriguing world where the paranormal hides beneath the known. Worth checking out!
This book is one of my 100+ Reading Challenge!