Dark Swan Series #1
Eugenie Markham is a powerful shaman who does a brisk trade banishing spirits and fey who cross into the mortal world. Mercenary, yes, but a girl's got to eat. Her most recent case, however, is enough to ruin her appetite. Hired to find a teenager who has been taken to the Otherworld, Eugenie comes face to face with a startling prophecy--one that uncovers dark secrets about her past and claims that Eugenie's first-born will threaten the future of the world as she knows it.
Now Eugenie is a hot target for every ambitious demon and Otherworldy ne'er-do-well, and the ones who don't want to knock her up want her dead. Eugenie handles a Glock as smoothly as she wields a wand, but she needs some formidable allies for a job like this. She finds them in Dorian, a seductive fairy king with a taste for bondage, and Kiyo, a gorgeous shape-shifter who redefines animal attraction. But with enemies growing bolder and time running out, Eugenie realizes that the greatest danger is yet to come, and it lies in the dark powers that are stirring to life within her...
This is the third Richelle Mead series I've gotten into, so I'm clearly a fan. But one of the things that had me most excited about The Dark Swan series starter, Storm Born, was how much more "fantasy" this story is from any of her other pieces of work. The series is just as captivating with it's strong female lead, possibly tougher male characters demanding your attention, and a deliciously paced story, but the world in which the story is told is like nothing else of hers. My inner fantasy geek was happy happy.
The main character, Eugenie Markham, is full of life, spirit, and the right kind of fortitude. She handles the tough situations she's trust into just like you expect your superhero to. She sings of possibilities and triumphs, but is realistically pissed at her run of bad luck. Every creature in the Otherworld -the land of the fae- want her for her baby making skills, and that part of the story gets a little old after a time. But all of her adventures in the Otherworld and her relationships with Kiyo and Dorian are pure delight. She's just an easy heroine to root for.
I don't normally enjoy a love triangle, especially if it's introduced so early on in a book or a series. Sure they can be frustrating and fun, but usually it becomes the main focus. But Mead played the struggles between Eugenie, Kiyo, and Dorian perfectly. It didn't take the attention away from the story, or set a different pace, but it does give the readers an opportunity to bond with two other characters instead of just the heroine (since the story is told from her POV). It was just plain win. The fact that both characters are important to Eugenie's story, and the fact that neither character is an "easy" choice, is probably why it works so well. I know who I want Eugenie to end up with, but I won't plant that seed in your head.
There were a couple of characters that didn't really work for me in the story, mainly Eugenie's roommate and assistant, but their parts are small enough that they don't cause any real damage. In fact, other than the three main players, there aren't really a lot of secondary characters to round out the story just yet, but I see the possibility for a broader cast in the future. This first book is mainly about Eugenie's discovery of her place in history, her heritage, and her decisions about what's next. There are so many developments made throughout the book that you'll want to read-on, and quickly. And since the second and third books in the series are already available, you don't have to wait.
Bottom Line: A fantastic fantasy-driven funride for fans of Fae and fornication (sorry I get carried away)