Shadow King

Susan K. Hamilton
Quill Publishing (2018)
ISBN 9781947848986
Reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (12/18)

“Shadow King” by Susan K. Hamilton is a captivating, fantasy tale readers will have a hard time putting down! 

An evil spell explodes, resulting in the destruction of the Faerie realm. The surviving Fae escaped to the Human realm where they have co-existed for centuries. One of those Fae is the patriarch of a criminal underworld family in Boston – Aohdan Collins. Aohdan is a macho, sexy man-about-town, loved by the ladies, feared by all. Ambition to grow his empire has a firm grasp on Aohdan as the underworld grows darker in its corruptive forces. Who can be trusted? Who will betray the family? Aohdan meets his match in Seireadan Moore, a Fae Seer with a secret.  Haunted by the murder of her family, Seireadan is on a mission to avenge their deaths and nothing will stop her from finding the Fae responsible and exacting her own revenge. As Aohdan and Seireadan fall deeper into the intensity of their relationship, factions from every side test their love, loyalty, and motivations.

First of all, WOW – just, wow! Susan Hamilton has created a story I won’t soon forget.  Wrapping the Fae world into real-world Boston adds a layer that is authentic and believable, and I absolutely loved that element of the story. Some of the scenes are bloody and horrific, some hot and sexy – all are engrossing and well-written.  Hamilton’s descriptive writing creates imagery so vivid it is easy to picture the seedy, dark areas of town in stark contrast with the opulence of the nightclubs, the impeccable suits and the beautiful people uptown. She clearly encapsulates the very essence of the gangster lifestyle in her writing.

The characters are multidimensional, genuine, full of life. The speech, mannerisms, and the way they carry themselves make them familiar, yet distinctive.  One example is with Jimmy Boy, a young man who works for, and is under the protection of Aohdan. Jimmy Boy seems to lack motivation, easing along with as little effort on his part as possible. The picture of him I created in my mind was a skinny, awkward young adult with earbuds, a sloppy sweatshirt, and pants that are way too big for him.  When Jimmy Boy sees Seireadan at the nightclub one night his confidence explodes as he literally puffs-up with machismo, enough to send a drink down the bar to her.  She leaves the drink untouched and you can see Jimmy deflate right before your eyes on the pages. Can you picture him? Not only that, but haven’t you known someone just like him at some point in your life?  

The interaction between the characters draws the reader in as well. The bond inside the criminal families, the distrust amongst the different families and the discord between humans and Fae keep the reader engaged and invested.

From fantasy to thriller and intrigue to steamy romance, “Shadow King” weaves in and out of multiple genres making it an appealing read for a wide spectrum of fans. With a plot that holds the reader hostage until the very end and fascinating characters, I couldn’t get enough of this story and look forward to reading more works from Susan K. Hamilton.