Thursday, June 30, 2016

ARC Review: Shadow Rider by Christine Feehan

Series:     Shadow #1
Pub. Date:June 28, 2016
Publisher:Berkley
Length:480 pages
Source:Publisher

Christine Feehan has created a captivating new series featuring a huge tight-knit Italian family with the supernatural ability to ride shadows. I am so glad I'm getting in on this new series from the front end because I STILL have not managed to catch up with the Carpathians.

So this awesome family has some very unique gifts. While it seems the series will focus on the shadow riders, other members have different abilities, like the ability to discern truth from lie. The vast family uses their various abilities to serve justice and protect people around the world. And the family is huuuge. I see lots of room for this series to grow and I am uber excited about it!

The series kicks off with a dynamic hero, Stefano Ferraro, who is the head of the Ferraro family. He is seriously wealthy, dominant and in control. But he genuinely cares about his family, community, and those innocent souls in need of protection. He doesn't believe he is a good man, and he is really not someone to cross, but I couldn't get enough of him. I loved everything about his stoic demeanor and sense of responsibility... and it certainly didn't hurt that he was, in all other respects, an Italian Stallion. Phew. Is it hot in here?

Our heroine is on the tortured side, running from a very bad man. Francesca Capello finds herself in Chicago living one day to the next the best way she can with no clothes, money and barely a roof over her head. She is down to her last friend, and trying to find her way up from rock bottom. Understandably, Francesca has some self-esteem issues, which were a little much for me at times. But overall she was a decent heroine and I commended her for not running (much) when it was clear that's what she wanted to do at every turn.

The romance itself is somewhat in the fated mates trope, so once our couple meet, things start moving very fast. There is a lot of steamrolling on Stefano's part and reluctance from Francesca. I don't usually mind the steamrolling... and with a hero as fantastic as Stefano, I found the reluctance ridiculous. But I guess the story would have been over too quickly if our heroine immediately succumbed and said "Take me, I'm yours!" (as I clearly would have done). I felt like there was a tad to much emphasis on Stefano's prolific past and Francesca's inadequacy issues. However I did like the couple together once they were on solid ground. I particularly liked that Francesca was such an outlet for Stefano... something of his very own and someone who would take care of him while he took care of everyone else.

This series will not require an abundance of world-building. We are mostly working in an urban environment with characters who have slight supernatural abilities. That being said, I find these abilities and the overall theme to be unique in the paranormal genre. I love the dangerous feel to the Ferraro family without them being bad guys. Feehan has provided a good base for the character development in this large family. We are introduced to a lot of people in this first book and she did a good job at making each character unique. While I loved Stefano, I was very drawn to Ricco and his darkness. I know his book will be much anticipated.

I received an advanced copy of this book from Berkley Publishing in exchange for an honest review.