Top positive review
One person found this helpful
Over-the-top attraction that I can't help but love!
on October 31, 2014
I went back and forth about whether to give this book 3 stars, or 4, but towards the end I found myself near to tears, and that was the deal breaker.
FYI, I can't help but look at romance in a practical, realist sense. I prefer the nitty gritty, the hard truths, and the tales that skim the Earth's soil, not Heaven's clouds. That's just something to keep in mind whilst reading this review. That shouldn't alarm you. This is the second lesbian fiction novel that I've read, and I greatly enjoyed it. Still, I'd like to be honest with this review...
So for the "bad" points first:
There were a few things about the book that had me rolling my eyes. For instance, the physical perfection of the protagonists. Even when they're disheveled, they're beautiful. EVERYbody either recognizes their beauty, or desires them. This book's cast consists of royalty and those who serve them, so maybe this was to be expected. The rich are commonly made to appear handsome and stunning in fiction. Steamy romance novels especially do all this, I know, but there's a reason I don't read those all that much anymore. Second, the constant high energy of desire between Darry and Jessa got to be a bit much here and there. Later they try to explain a reason for this, but even so, I half expected them to orgasm just from hearing the other sneeze. To see them resist their desires for so long had me thinking that the art of resisting temptation ought to be a damn Olympic sport! The song "Jizz In My Pants" comes to mind... I also got a little tired of hearing about Jessa's curves or Darry's dimple.
Moving away from the depiction of Jessa and Darry's growing love, I wanted the concepts of "majik" explored in more detail, and was disappointed when it wasn't given a bigger role, save to further their relationship. I wanted the antagonists to have a stronger presence throughout the story. Despite the political games going on, the real conflict seemed to rest between just Jessa and Darry finally coming together. That moment was certainly the climax, and the last 30% of the book (which I can say with some precision as I'd read a Kindle version) was all just falling action. There was no real dénouement, in my opinion, given all that was still left unresolved at the end.
And now for the good:
All of the above points were small irritations that pricked at first before being entirely ignored in the face of all else. I was just enjoying the story too much, and things like puffed up idealism became a humorous thing versus an unbearable trait of the story. The dialogue in Nightshade was great, even when Jessa and Darry started to get sappy with one another. Shea Godfrey has clear wit and insight, and more than once her beautiful depictions of the characters had me floored. They were people you couldn't help but love, couldn't help but pity, and some, could do nothing else but hate. She also knows how to set up a scene, lighting the characters environment in your mind so vividly as to make you think you were watching it at the theaters. Initially I wasn't impressed with her setting, because the world of Nightshade (while solid) was clearly taken from our world and just given a twist and new names. But further reading showed me greater depth as to the natures of Lyoness and Arravan culture, and it was very interesting (and perhaps why I was so disappointed that things like majik, or the world beyond the palaces, or the complex social games were playing second to the constant longing of the protagonists.)
Given the ending of Nightshade, I'm guessing that Shea Godfrey intends to continue the story. For all that I have said above, I cannot wait to read its sequel.