Lord of Shadows
I thought I was never going to finish this book. It took me ten days to read it, but it seemed more like twenty as I waded through the seemingly endless clunky prose. Add in a couple of uninteresting characters, very little romance, the paranormal staple of incomprehensible italicized names, and you have a recipe for sheer boredom.
Lady Sabrina Douglas has been living in a convent for the last seven years, ever since her father was killed, her mother died, and her brother Brenden ran away. This is a special convent, though, where the nuns use their magical gifts. Sabrina’s is healing.
This gift comes in handy when Lazurus washes up on the shore. He’s mostly dead and has no idea who he is, but he knows Sabrina’s face from somewhere. She helps him heal and the nuns call him Daigh McSomething, (It isn’t really McSomething, but let’s just say it wasn’t memorable, and I’m not going to search through the book looking for it). Sabrina feels a pull to Daigh too, and she begins experiencing memories from the distant past, when they were evidently lovers.
Once Daigh finally figures out who he is, he realizes he’d rather not know. He is in fact a demon of sorts, summoned from the dead and bound to the evil Maelodor, who wants to bring King Arthur back and turn him into a similar being. Now, this all sounds straightforward enough when I put it like that, but figuring out this information for yourself takes much of the book and feels like wading through mud, which is why I’ll just save you the trouble. There are all sorts of magical groups at work here, from the nuns, to the Others (I kept thinking of Lost, and you probably will too), to some sort of governing body involving magic that is mad at Sabrina’s missing brother Brenden. Again, this all takes forever to figure out and is assuredly not worth the effort.
For most of the book, Sabrina knows that she can’t be with Daigh, since he’s bound to Maelodor. For most of the book, she just wants to live in the convent. She even has some conversations about it with the head nun that reminded me of The Sound of Music (I did wonder whether she’d break into “Climb Every Mountain,” but no such luck). The point is that none of it seems very romantic.
Things get slightly more interesting when Sabrina meets her non-missing brother Aiden in Dublin. This brother and his new wife actually brought a little romance to the table. Or maybe I just hoped Aiden would succeed in killing Daigh after he slept with Sabrina, which really couldn’t happen, because Daigh was an unkillable demon.
The book drags on to its inevitable conclusion, making liberal use of sentence fragments galore (whole paragraphs of them), awkward transitions from scene to scene, and more names of magic people that I would have tried harder to remember if only I had cared. I did in fact finish the book, but never would have had I not been reading it for review. Unless you are a) reviewing this yourself, in which case I sympathize wholeheartedly or b) trapped under something heavy, and Lord of Shadows is the only book you can possibly reach, I would not pick this one up in the first place.