I WILL catch up eventually! Moving right along we come to Episode 124 of the GSMC Book Review Podcast and my interview with Susan K. Hamilton about her dark fantasy novel Shadow King.
In a world where humans and faeries must live and work together, Aohdan Collins has abandoned the Seelie Court and ruthlessly worked to become the Fae Patriarch of Boston’s criminal underworld. Ambitious and single-minded, Aohdan turns his attention to expanding his influence and power, but when he shares a shot of whiskey with the lovely Seireadan Moore, everything changes.Cursed with the Sight, Seireadan has been haunted since childhood by a vision of the Fae responsible for the death of her family, and who created The Desolation—the corrupt, dark spell that destroyed the Faerie Realm. Driven by revenge, Aohdan may hold the answers Seireadan seeks, but everyone knows that bad things happen to people who cross Aohdan Collins.Confronted by tragedy and betrayal, Aohdan and Seireadan find themselves squarely in the Seelie King’s sights, where Seireadan must confront the man who killed her father, and Aohdan is forced to choose between taking on a role that will fracture the Seelie Court forever, or watch everything he’s built—and everyone he loves—be destroyed. (Source)
I have to admit that I'd never heard of dark fantasy before this novel. I'd read some, but didn't know there was a specific genre. For as well read as I think I am, there is a LOT I don't know. I'm OK with this as it means I get to learn new stuff all of the time.
When I first started reading this book I wasn't sure I was going to like Aohdan much as a main character. I much preferred Seireadan. Aohdan does not come across as a nice person, especially at the beginning, but as the book went on Susan did a great job of developing him so the reader begins to see his character and how he holds to a strict moral code. As their relationship develops both Aohdan and Seireadan bring different aspects of themselves to it, which has an affect on the other.
One thing I really liked about this story is that the fantasy and normal world aren't separate. The fae are known to the mundane world and interact with them. This isn't terribly common in fantasy books, and I found it really interesting. Susan does a great job of exploring how the two worlds might interact and what happens when the faeries can't simply escape to their own realm or use magic to fix or change things in the human world. This affects how the two worlds interact and what happens to the characters in those interactions.
Susan's writing is engaging and layered, and her characters are nuanced. If you're a fan of dark fantasy you'll enjoy this book. If you've never read dark fantasy but like contemporary fantasy and romance then this is a great place to jump into the world of dark fantasy!
If you want to know more about Susan and her work you can find her in the following places:
Fiction and fantasy author Susan K. Hamilton began writing at an early age but rediscovered her passion while in college. Her first novel, "Darkstar Rising," was published through Xlibris in 2003. Her upcoming title, "Shadow King," was a Top Ten Finalist in the 2016 Launchpad Manuscript Competition and will be released later in 2017 through Inkshares. Susan lives outside of Boston, MA with her husband, cat, and horse. (Source)