Shadow City by Diana Pharoah Francis | Book Review

January 24, 2014 Reviews 5

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Shadow City by Diana Pharoah Francis | Book ReviewShadow City by Diana Pharaoh Francis
Series: Horngate Witches #3
Published by Simon and Schuster on December 27, 2011
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 384
Source: Purchased

The world is falling apart. The magical apocalypse has come. Now is the time to guard the covenstead against both raiders and refugees. But Max has been stolen by a powerful demi-god who is determined to force her to find a way to use a magical power she never knew she had—even if it kills her. Meanwhile, back in Horngate, a Fury is birthing. When the creature breaks free of the fragile bonds that enclose her, her rage will scour the covenstead from the earth. Max finds herself in the Shadow City, a place of mysteries and magic, where she must battle for her freedom or become a slave to creatures of dreadful greed and power. Back in Horngate, Alexander must swallow his anger and pride if he hopes to defeat the Fury, a creature that no one has ever successfully fought before. In the end, it will be courage, friendship, faith and loyalty that win the day. Or else so one will live to see tomorrow.

My Initial Reaction…

Diana Pharaoh Francis’s creativity continues to blow me away in Shadow City, the third book of the Horngate Witches Series.

The Characters…

I still adore Max. She’s not only marvelously complex, but she continues to grow and change with each book. One of my favorite parts about her is how loyal she is – even to a fault. She made a promise to Scooter, for example, and she’s going to live up to it, regardless of the cost to herself. We also get to see a lot more of her soft underbelly in Shadow City, since she’s forming new friendships (including one of the canine variety!) and is pulled away from her home and those she loves (whether she wants to admit it or not).

Alexander, on the other hand, I have mixed feelings about. Don’t get me wrong, he’s still loyal and tough as all get out. But he also has let love turn him into a bit of whinny baby. And I really hate when love turns my alpha characters into infants. Yes, love Max. Miss Max. But grow a pair and do what she asked of you. She’s not crying over you, because she’s knows there’s work to do and people to fight for, so why aren’t you? I spent way too long wondering if he would snap out of it and do what he needed to do and that frustrated me. In the end, I still like him and just hope he pulls his shit together and stays the strong character I know he can be.

The Story…

If you’re at all like me, you’ll launch into Shadow City desperately wanting to know what happened to Max after the cliffhanger conclusion to Crimson Wind. So, after rushing into the book even though it was the middle of the night already, I was disappointed when Shadow City began with Alexander’s point of view and all I learned about Max was that she’d been gone for a while. But that’s Francis’s brilliance; you understand Alexander’s agony because you’re experiencing it too. And he IS in agony! He doesn’t know what’s happened to her and does not want to fulfill her final order that he be made Prime in her absence. To him, accepting that position would not just be accepting that she was gone, but dooming her to never come back. But Horngate needs Alexander, because a Fury (another amazingly unique fantasy element from Francis!) is rising and the threat she poses to their community may be the greatest they’ve faced yet.

Meanwhile, Max is facing some extreme challenges of her own in her attempts to help Scooter, kidnapper turned friend and ally, recover some stolen possessions. Max gets even tougher (if that’s even possible) and continues battling with her feelings for Alexander and the rest of the coven, whom she’d always worked so hard to be distant from but are now her family. Oh and did I mention she continues to kick ass? I can’t rave enough about this series, the unique story, and the amazing characters!

Concluding Sentiments…

This book will not disappoint and is action packed, with some truly heart wrenching moments and even more exciting ones. Looking forward to Blood Winter!

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About Diana Pharaoh Francis

I was raised on a cattle ranch in Northern California (outside a town called Lincoln which is now part of an enormous sprawl). I taught myself to ride a horse at the age of six, as no one had the time to teach me—they were all busy learning how to irrigate, how to cajole an angry bull into another field, how to pull a calf… Afraid of heights, and absolutely sure I was going to die, I managed to scramble up on the back of a very patient and lazy strawberry roan destrier, and plod off into the sunset.

Thereafter, I spent much of my early life on horseback, or so far buried into a book that the rest of the world ceased to exist (much to the annoyance of my family—it took several attempts to get my attention). We all had very specific jobs on the ranch and mine was horses and cattle—out rounding up at dawn. And since I rode bareback, my standing request was to wake me up 5 minutes before everyone else headed for the barn—time enough to dress and eat my Wheaties, and no sleep time wasted on saddling.

After high school, I attended college after college, racking up a BA and MA in creative writing and a Ph.D. in literature and theory. My very patient and supportive husband traipsed across the Midwest and back to Montana for me (though my husband insists that he’s been running and hiding and I just keep finding him), where I now teach at the University of Montana-Western. We also a son Q-ball, who in our humbly unbiased opinions, is the most wonderful son ever produced, and a daughter, Princess Caesar, who is the most wonderful daughter ever produced.

I have a fascination for the Victorians, weather, geology, horses, plants and mythology, I like spicy food, chocolate and cheesecake, and I have an odd sense of humor. (Or so I’ve been told. Often.) Incidentally, the Pharaoh is in fact my real name, and oddly enough, is of British origin.

Some of my current favorite sf/f writers are Ilona Andrews, Carol Berg, C.E. Murphy, Patty Briggs, Lynn Flewelling, Rachel Caine, David Coe, and Anne Bishop.


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About Berls
Berls has been a book lover her whole life. She reads pretty much every genre and is currently working hard at making her childhood dream of becoming an author come true. She loves sharing her thoughts about books, blogging, and just random fun stuff. She's a challenge and read-a-thon junkie, so it's no wonder that she loves co-hosting the COYER reading challenge. Leave a comment, Berls is always happy to chat!

5 Responses to “Shadow City by Diana Pharoah Francis | Book Review”

  1. Pamela D

    I am glad to hear that you are enjoying this series. I have finished books with cliffhangers late at night and cursed my library when the e-book for the next book wasn’t available that moment. Books should have a warning label on them, if you are going to need the next book ASAP. 🙂
    Pamela D recently posted…Hang Wire by Adam Christopher: ReviewMy Profile

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