Review: Shady Lady

Posted April 7, 2011 by Jen in 3.5 stars, 4 stars, Rating A, Rating B, Urban Fantasy Tags: ,

Shady Lady
Author: Ann Aguirre 
Release Date: April 5, 2011
Publisher: Roc
ISBN: #978-0451463258
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Format(s): Paperback (336 pgs), e-book

We received a copy of this book from the PUBLISHER for the purposes of an honest review.
From the author’s website:
I’d spent my whole life settling, trying not to attract attention, and generally doing whatever it took to keep other people happy. I didn’t want to do that again. Not when I was finally comfortable in my own skin. Sure, there were certain challenges, like a drug lord who wanted me dead, and the fact that I owed a demon a debt that he could call due at any moment. But everybody’s got problems, right?
Whenever Corine Solomon touches an object, she immediately knows its history. But her own future concerns her more and more. Now back in Mexico, she’s running her pawnshop and trying to get a handle on her strange new powers, for she might need them. And soon.
Then former ally Kel Ferguson walks through her door. Heavily muscled and tattooed, Kel looks like a convict but calls himself a holy warrior. This time, he carries a warning for Corine: the Montoya cartel is coming for her—but they don’t just pack automatic weapons. The Montoyas use warlocks, shamans, voodoo priests—anything to terminate trouble. And Corine has become enemy number one…
What Gikany & Una are talking about:
First, we are back as a team on this book.  Yay!  
Secondly, I, Una, read this book as a standalone, because Twimom asked me to review it.  However, because Gikany is just as obsessive/compulsive as me (and had the time and money) read the first two books in the Corine Solomon Novels before reading Shady Lady.  It made a huge difference!  We both strongly recommend that you read this book after reading the first two.  It seems, as poor Una found out, much from (especially the first book) previous books are referenced, implied, alluded to, etc.  Goodness, poor Una got very confused and frustrated during the first half of this book because of carried over plot lines and romantic entanglements.
As Gikany filled in Una, there is quite a lot that takes place in Corine’s (for those, like Una, who didn’t the first book, her name rhymes with Doreen) life prior to the third book.  However to know any of it, you have to read the first two books.  So coming into this story without that basic background was profoundly annoying.  Una was grateful that Gikany read the previous books because she was able to glean the information from Gikany so that the book made more sense.  
Enough of Una’s whining…  
This is a very intriguing and fun series.  Corine is a complex and down to earth character.  She’s taken some hard licks in her life but continues to bounce back.  Corine also surrounds herself with gifted and genuinely good people as her distanced support group.  The world she lives in nuanced, there is no true black and white; good versus evil.  It is a world of varying shades of grey.  This aspect is most notably shown through Kel, the “hand of God.”  Corine, in order to defeat the greater evil, finds herself making deals with lesser evils.  Choices that she consciously knows she will have to live with and may come to regret.  
One element that we both greatly enjoyed in this novel that we have seen in other series (like the Allie Beckstrom series) is that magic has a price.  Nothing supernatural comes without exacting a price; maintaining a balance in the world.  This helps to anchor the characters and the story, giving the novels a foundation and realism necessary to keep the reader hooked.  The other element that we both found quite positive is the minor characters.  Corine’s supportive friends are the family she has created to replace the blooded family she lost long ago.  
The humor and the flow of the story are excellent.  The darker elements in the storytelling are balanced out by the clever wit of Corine and the funny banter between her and her friends.  That being said, we both were frustrated by the ending, as we say, beyond irritated.  As Gikany explained to Una, the first two books did not end with so much left unresolved nor with the feeling of uncharacteristic acceptance by Corine at how things were left.  Without giving away the ending, Corine seems to accept a loss that may not be demanded by the fates.  The ending was abrupt and somewhat contrived.  Corine deserves better and would not just “bend over and take it” (sorry, this is our best way to describe the feeling).  We feel cheated that she didn’t try to fight for what was lost.  Overall, we enjoyed Shady Lady and will read the next installment when it comes out next year. 
Gikany’s Rating (Someone who read the series): 
Really enjoyed – strongly recommend (A-)
Una’s Rating (Someone who didn’t read the series): 
Liked it a lot – recommend (B+)

6 responses to “Review: Shady Lady

  1. I love Ann Aguirre and this one looks really good. I’ll have to pick up the first two so I’m not lost (also because my OCD demands it, lol).

  2. Sounds like a great series! I’m often more curious and drawn to shades of gray rather then the absolutes. I’m going to search if my library has this series. Thanks for the review, ladies!

  3. Una

    I have to say, I am going to go back and read the first two books. I did really like the series, but you must NOT start in the middle.

    Hope you guys enjoy!!

  4. This was my FAVORITE of the series thus far!!!!!!!!!! I can’t believe we have to wait a full year before we find out what happens next *cries*