Blood Shadow is a companion novel to the Eye of the Storm series and also acts as a PREQUEL to a brand new series to come. You don't have to read Eye of the Storm to enjoy this novel (some background is given). However, we always recommend you do in order to gain full understanding of how the characters have arrived at this point.
Five years after her life changed forever, Jennifer Warren has put her past firmly behind her - at least, she's tried. A few sweaty nightmares here and there are a small price to pay for the freedom she won. No longer a werewolf, but human, she works as an office manager for a health and beauty spa in York, and keeps herself to herself. It's barely enough to pay the bills, but it's quiet and safe, and the clique of the staff means she's left well enough alone - no one asks her questions; no one wants to get to know her better.
David, her tender, kind boyfriend of two years is all she needs ... and she doesn't really need him, which suits her just fine. Never mind the occasional guilt that she doesn't really love him; he'd never hurt her in a million years - that's worth its weight in gold.
But Jennifer's just received another note - one of those that her mysterious, anonymous 'friend' likes to leave her every now and then; warnings of things to come, people not to trust... Her elusive friend has saved her more than once the past five years.
Only this note has left her breathless; her chest tight. A Supermoon is coming - the first in thirty years - and with it, a total lunar eclipse.
Jennifer's disowned her past, but it hasn't disowned her. As the earth shadows the full moon, her own shadows threaten to turn on her.
Can you ever escape what you truly are?
Blood never lies.
This is a dark urban fantasy novel of approx. 70,000 words containing scenes of a sexual nature and some violence, which may disturb some readers.
This is the first book in a new companion novel to the Eye of the Storm series. I loved it! You don't have to read the Eye of the Storm series to read this book, but I recommend that you do, so you have a good grasp of where Selena has been and where Jennifer is heading.
Jennifer Warren (aka Selena Smith) is an extremely complex character. I felt for her as she hasn't had an easy life. This is a woman I loved to hate in the Eye of the Storm series, as she was a real *i*ch. Five years after being given a new name and a new life from her ordeal at the hands of the Tridents, she is trying to put her life back together as best she can. However, there's a bad moon rising (okay, it's a super blood moon, but you get the idea) and her saviour sends her an ominous warning. As the life she's tried to build slowly unravels, will she find her inner strength once more, or will the changes coming break her?
I have been eagerly awaiting the release of this book. Told through the eyes of several of the characters, we get to see their thoughts and feelings. Selena has had a really raw deal being a female wolf in a male dominated world; she has had to fight for what she wanted. Now as Jennifer, I found her to be slightly more tempered and, even though scarred mentally if not physically anymore, she has more vulnerability than Selena ever showed. This could be because being human, Jennifer cannot draw on her wolf's strength. However, her experiences have left her damaged emotionally and she struggles every day with nightmares. I do wish she had spoken to someone about her ordeal, but can understand her reluctance, as they would probably have committed her into an asylum when she told them she was a wolf.
Besides Jennifer, we are also introduced to several characters, such as David - Jennifer's boyfriend, Roman Dalton - Jennifer's saviour who has secrets of his own, Hai - Roman's surrogate father and mentor, and Prisha Patel - David's best friend and work colleague. I have mixed reactions to the various characters. I like David and think he's a wonderful man; Roman is still a bit of an enigma but I like him too. He's also not had an easy life growing up. There's a definite chemistry between him and Jennifer that fairly radiates off the page, so am interested to see where they, or the author, takes us as the series progresses. Hai is a character I love. He is full of Chinese proverbs and wise sayings that annoy Roman and confuse Jennifer, but I found him to be a loving man who took a scared boy under his wing and gave him much needed love and attention. Then there is Prisha. I found her to be similar in her attitude and characteristics as Selena. She may be another character that I may love to hate as the series progresses. Watch this space!
I don't want to give any spoilers and this book is so hard to describe without giving huge ones. Therefore, I will try to keep this as short as possible by saying: READ THIS BOOK! Blood Shadow is not always an easy read, especially if you or someone you know has gone through an abusive relationship, as the main character has gone through hell and it may cause a triggering event. Having said that, there is one scene between Jennifer and Roman that is serious but light at the same time. It's incredibly hard to blame Roman for something he did accidentally when he was trying to save her life and he's horrified about it, but it's still a violation of sorts. I'll leave it to you to decide for yourself if you'd be amused or horrified by his actions. There are also some rather touching scenes, so you may need a tissue or two.
At the end of the story, we get to meet a new character who will be one of the main characters in the next book in the companion series, Aftershock. Her name is Jasmine. However, if you've read Reign of the Wolf, the sixth book in the Eye of the Storm series, you would have been briefly introduced to her as a baby. I can't wait to get my hands on this book, but I'm dreading it too. This is because I know it'll be an emotional roller coaster ride and I'll end up feeling like I've been put through the wringer, just like this one - a book hangover in the making!
Dianna Hardy is one of my favourite romance authors (she writes both paranormal/urban fantasy and contemporary romance). She has a way of expressing so much emotion through her written words; ripping your heart out with them, but also filling you up with them too. I love her writing style, which is fast paced and exciting. The flow is fantastic too. Reading her books are a joy, and I will continue to read them for as long as she keeps writing them.
Unlike other books by this author, this book doesn't have any romantic scenes of explicit content. However, there are flashbacks from Jennifer/Selena's past that are explicit, as well as scenes containing some bad language and violence that may offend some readers, so I do not recommend this book for younger readers or those of a nervous disposition, or those who may have a triggered event by reading this book. Having said that, I highly recommend this book (and series) if you love contemporary or paranormal romances, dark fantasy and/or urban fantasy genres. - Lynn Worton