1. Storm Born (January 12, 2010)
2. Thorn Queen (December 10, 2009) – 4 out of 5
3. Iron Crowned (February 22, 2011)
4. Shadow Heir (January, 2012)
Author: Richelle Mead
Narrator: Jennifer Van Dyck – 3.5 out of 5
Length: 11:07, available on audible here
FTC Disclosure: Audible Frontiers has graciously provided me with an audio version of this book for reviewing purposes. Aside from this courtesy copy, I have received no payment or services in exchange for this review.
In Storm Born, Eugenie Markham discovered that she was not just a powerful shaman who maked her living banishing other-worldly creatures out of the mortal realm. She found out that she is half fae. As the daughter of the late Storm King, it is prophecy that she will give birth to a son who will conquer the mortal realm for the fae. At the beginning of Thorn Queen, Eugenie is stuck between two worlds. In Arizona, Eugenie is still the shaman her mom and step-dad raised, living with her were-fox veterinarian boyfriend, Kiyo, who wants nothing more than for her to stay away from the Otherworld. But she can’t do that. Not after Dorian, the fae Oak King, tricked her into bonding with the land she conquered, and becoming its queen - the Thorn Queen. On her first trip back after months, she discovers that she's in charge of the health and happiness of the people she conquered and her reluctance to rule is causing starvation. With her crazy half-sister still on the lam, the Thorn Land’s economy dying, and gentry girls disappearing, Eugenie needs to choose. Choose between humans and fae, between the mortal world and the Otherworld, between Kiyo and Dorian. Something has to give.
Absolute power corrupts absolutely.
This is a typical Richelle Mead book. Meaning, it’s fantastic. If you’re not familiar with the author’s writing (such as the Georgina Kincaid or Vampire Academy series) then, to put it simply, the writing is dynamic and sexy. The characters’ motivations, loyalties, and appeal to the reader change from chapter-to-chapter but in a way that’s believable and credible to each character. For example, Eugenie in Storm Born hates the fae, kills them liberally, and is disgusted by non-human men, Even at the end of Storm Born, her feeling about her own heritage can best be described as self-loathing and fear. Loathing for who her real father, the Storm King, was and what he did to humans and gentry alike, and fear that her power, which she developed with some force, would turn her into him, make her more gentry, and take over her identity. In Thorn Queen, these feelings shift. Richelle Mead delves into what it means to be human – the good, the bad, and the ugly. She also discovers what it means to rule, to be responsible for others, and how far she's willing to go to protect them.
As always, the sex scenes are phenomenal. Between kinky bondage sex with Dorian and the rough, passionate instinct-driven sex with Kiyo, I enjoyed the emotion that came along with it. It causes a good deal of tension and drama. Here we really see Eugenie’s jealousy of Maiwenn, Kiyo’s ex-girlfriend and another fae queen, whose pregnancy has brought Kiyo so much joy and the insecurity this causes to Eugenie who knows she can never risk getting pregnant because of the prophecy.
Jennifer Van Dyck, who also narrates Rachel Vincent’s Shifters series, has a no-nonsense tone, that works well since Eugenie’s character is supposed to be tough, butt-kicking and over-all intimidating. Her voice for Dorian is proper - slightly British, very aristocratic, bored and self-involved – it is just as the man is described. I also enjoyed how the reading generally reflected the tone of what’s happening in the book. Not to give too much away, but there is a scene in this audiobook that concerns abduction, drugging, and sex assault. Jennifer Van Dyck’s voice slowed and becomes detached, which deepens the experience for the listener.