This book is, sadly, the final installment in the Regency-era Gardella Vampire Chronicles. As it is the fifth in the series, it is difficult to discuss the book without giving away some salient details that might spoil earlier books. So if you are interested in this series, I'd advise you to skip this review and take a look at The Rest Falls Away instead.
This book opens with Victoria navigating her "normal" life as a wealthy widow in London society. Increasingly she feels ill at ease there, where just a few years ago it was all she lived and breathed. Now she feels more at ease with a stake in her hand, chasing vampires through dark alleys in the worst parts of town.
When a new and increasingly dire danger presents itself, Victoria is ready to spring to action, organizing the other Venators with self-confidence and skill. The demons that are on the brink of invading the world in immeasurable numbers are not just a threat to humans; they are bent on destroying vampires as well. It seems that a temporary truce with the perfidious vampire queen, Lilith, is needed in order to procure the items necessary to seal the demon portal. But it is perfectly clear that the vampire cannot be trusted.
Victoria has come a long way since she first agreed to take up the responsibilities of leading the Venators, and her path has been long and arduous. This book sees her making her most difficult decisions yet, including a choice between the two men who have fought by her side for such a long time. As always, I enjoyed the creepy atmosphere and flashes of humor, as well as the taut pacing and character-driven action. Mysteries from earlier books are finally revealed in this one, including the true nature of the Venators' advisor, Wayren, which certainly came as a surprise to this reader. I have read that there may be future books written in the Gardella Chronicles world that feature other characters, but Colleen Gleason's next books, according to her website, are in a new and unrelated series that will be published in 2010. I am looking forward to reading them!
Books in the Gardella Vampire Chronicles:
1. The Rest Falls Away
2. Rises the Night
3. The Bleeding Dusk
4. When Twilight Burns
5. As Shadows Fade
As Shadows Fade (#5 in the Gardella Vampire Chronicles) by Colleen Gleason (Signet Eclipse, 2009)
Also reviewed at:
Bookfoolery and Babble: "Reading the book was every bit as fun as the rest of the series but this time Victoria chooses her man for good, we find out what the deal is with Wayren and her bag of tricks, and . . . well, I can't say much more without giving anything away..."
Literary Escapism: "The story is fabulous; Gleason leaves the reader wanting more without leaving them hanging; and all of the characters have fabulous personalities that fit so well into the story."
A Reader's Journal: "Although I've been waiting with white knuckles for this book, it seems like the whole trip went just way too fast."
Stuff as Dreams Are Made On: "I’m quite upset that the series is over and there are no more adventures with this amazing crew, but it ended in such a way that I’m satisfied as well."