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Review: The Shadow Weave - Annette Marie

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The Shadow Weave by Annette Marie
My rating: {★★★★☆}

Adult Fantasy
Published January 12th 2018 by Dark Owl Fantasy Inc

Source: ARC received from Dark Owl Fantasy
Clio might be a nymph living in exile among humans. And she might possess the rare ability to mimic any magic she sees. And she might have just seriously ticked off the most powerful family of spell weavers in the Underworld.

But she is not in love with an incubus.

Lyre is the rebellious black sheep of said weaver family, and he's the only reason she survived her recent Underworld "vacation." He's also the sexiest thing she's ever seen. Together, they have to track down a catastrophically dangerous magic—a magic he created, she sort of stole, and they both lost—before his family gets their hands on it. And that means fighting alongside him in a desperate attempt to avert complete disaster.

But she is definitely not in love with him. At least, she's pretty sure she's not.

Mostly sure.
Maybe sure?
…Crap.

**Warning**
This book is extraordinarily addictive. It can cause failure to participate in many real life events and apathy towards anything outside of the book's world.

If ever there was an under hyped and under celebrated author, it's Annette Marie. Her books are ALWAYS a win for me - not a single one in publication has let me down to this date (for the record that's the publication date of this book). Now THAT'S impressive! And it obviously makes her one of my absolute favourite authors ever and one that I will try to force upon anyone who admits they know how to read words.

Shadow Weave is the second book in the Spell Weaver series which is actually a prequel series set in the Steel and Stone Universe. When I first picked up The Night Realm (book one of Spell Weaver) it was my first foray into this world and I was immediately hooked. Upon closing the last page of that ARC I opened Amazon and set about purchasing and reading every single book in the Steel and Stone Universe (including the companion novel) and now I can happily say that I'm up to date, in the know and in a state of bliss only ruined by the fact that I haven't got the yet unwritten third book in my hands AND that I cannot wait for Annette to begin work on the sequel series to Steel and Stone!

I absolutely cannot get enough of these gorgeous characters. Each one is so carefully built and nurtured and I love them all dearly.

Clio, our fairly naive and gentle nymph shows that she has a core of steel in this one, and while she can be resilient and tough, she is still being tempered and tested. She still displays all my favourite qualities of loyalty and bravery and determination and there's an added fierceness in this book that really made me fall even further in love with her and she's fast becoming one of my favourite book heroines.

Lyre, of course, is incredible. This beautiful incubus is amazingly complex in all of his motivations and actions and Annette Marie manages to convey his vulnerabilities without making him seem weak. As an incubus he's got all the caste qualities of being drop dead gorgeous and nearly irresistible (to anyone it may seem!) and while he doesn't have the sheer terrifying firepower of a stronger daemon caste, his cleverness and wits and learning get him through a lot of dangerous situations.

Ash was present yet again in this installment and I just love seeing different aspects to his character from both Clio and Lyre's viewpoints.

I was also super thrilled to see some flashes of a young Piper!!! Gosh am I so glad I read S&S now although you can really enjoy these series in any order - you don't have to have read Steel and Stone to thoroughly enjoy these books.

As with every other Annette Marie book I just love the world and all the detail and how far into it we go. There are different realms, various daemon castes and magical abilities, fighting power, spells and weaves - it's pretty incredible and the action scenes! Wow. Annette Marie writes the best fights including physical choreography AND magical attacks and she manages to blend everything seamlessly. The fight between Ash and Lyre was just.... Wow. Possibly one of my favourite action scenes of ever!

I also love that we (finally!) got to hear the full recount of the Ash and Lyre incident where we found out that even Draconian males are not immune to incubus aphrodisia!!

Annette Marie has a distinct ability to somehow take a character who should be weak in their world - a human surrounded by powerful daemons or a weaker caste in a world full of fighters - and she shows that brute force and having incredible abilities is not necessarily the key to strength and effectiveness. I think this is such an amazing message and I always love reading about incredible events from ordinary people (or daemons).

I was being extraordinarily picky when I went down to four stars for this one. The problem being that it wasn't quite as captivating as the first book, possibly a little middle book syndrome? However it was very fast paced and I loved every minute of it... There's just not many places to go when it's not quite as good as the previous book and I rated that one 5 stars!

I totally recommend this series to anyone who stands still long enough to listen and if it is even remotely something that interests you, you need to pick up ALL THE ANNETTE MARIE BOOKS.