Sins & Shadows: A Shadows Inquiries Novel Mass Market Paperback – 28 Apr 2009
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"Sins & Shadows pulls out all the stops."
"Full of big adventure, big action, and weird magic."
"Dark and fascinating...Lyn Benedict is definitely going to be a writer to watch for." -- Kat Richardson
About the Author
Lyn Benedict lives in Lawrence, KS.
Top Customer Reviews
I ummed and ahhed for a long time over buying this book. I've been burned far too many times by Paranormal Romances masquerading as Urban Fantasties -- usually claiming to be 'gritty' and 'dark' as well. Thankfully, this one is both of those things. There's very little romance and what there is is very incidental to the broader strokes of the story. It's written in third person (which was a relief to read), with tangible description. The central conflict of this story is very much within Sylvie herself. And this truly makes for the most interesting parts of the novel: those times when her inner voice is telling her one thing but her heart is telling her another. Sylvie isn't the most likeable of UF heroines. She's headstrong, rude and selfish. She is nothing if not well written, and most importantly, written with room to grow.
The worldbuilding is very good; with a slightly different take on the usual tropes. The novel is atmospheric and gritty. I enjoyed the contrast between the sun-filled Miami of Sylvies native city, to the noir supernatural underworld. The other characters in the book include, a witch, her friend Alex, and a rather scary Sphinx. The minor side characters were great fun and the writer certainly has a talent for writing likeable characters (even if she does kill them off two pages later, heh).Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I also recommend:
Blood Engines (Marla Mason, Book 1)
Succubus Dreams (Georgina Kincaid, Book 3)
Magic Strikes (Kate Daniels, Book 3)
Bloodring: A Rogue Mage Novel
Storm Born (Dark Swan, Book 1)
Definitely recommended for those who like urban fantasy, those who like fantasy in general, and those who like the conventions of popular thrillers.
Our heroine is Sylvie, the owner of a PI agency. She's about to close up shop and fire her one employee when Kevin Dunne, the God of Justice, walks into the shop and tells her he wants her to find his lost lover Brandon Wolf or else everyone she loves is going to suffer. This urban fantasy takes place in a world where the Gods of Rome are real and just as capricious as the mythos describes them to be.
There are several flaws in this book that detract from this reviewer's enjoyment. "Sins & Shadows" reads like the second book in a series. Terms such as Magicus Mundi, ISI (some kind of government agency), and events within the book are mentioned but not explained fully. If you like me are a character reader this may not be the book for you, Sylvie herself is more of an antihero than a sympathetic lead, so you will not bond with her.
The closing leads me to believe this is the first book in a continuing series for the Shadows. The concept is interesting enough for me to consider picking up the second book, but I would probably have to read a chapter or two in person before I actually made the purchase.
Rebecca Kyle, December 2009
Having said that, the book was refreshing because there are no vampires and no werewolves! There are however plently of Gods - Greek, Egyptian, Judeo-Christian. I enjoyed the world building. Our heroine, Sylvie is fairly typical of this genre- tough, scarred, angry, etc.
The action moves quickly. This is UF not Paranormal Romance. There is a relationship but with a surprising twist that caught me by surprise, and shows that the author is willing to take risks.
All in all, a good read, if a little uneven.I will definitely read the sequel.
Sins and Shadows introduces us to Sylvie Lightner, nicknamed "Shadows," who works as a sort of paranormal P.I. After a satanic cult kills one of her friends, Sylvie is about to call it quits. Just as she's firing her assistant and packing her office, she is approached by a god in need. Kevin Dunne is the Greek god of Justice, and he's shown up with his Furies in tow, wanting Sylvie to help him find his missing lover.
"Wait," you might say. "There's no male Greek god of Justice that the Furies answer to! And even if there were, he wouldn't be named Kevin!" Sylvie's reaction is much the same. How Kevin became a god is part of the central mystery Sylvie must unravel if she is to save the day.
I really loved the world-building here. Lyn Benedict immerses the reader in a complex setting filled with bureaucracy, gods of various pantheons, and competing agendas. The prose is great too. It's less ornate than the style she uses in Maledicte and Kings and Assassins, but the simpler style suits the gritty modern setting, and she's just as good at evoking beautiful or gory images with her words as she is when she's writing as Lane Robins. The scene that stands out most to me is the novel's (only) sex scene, in which Benedict twines together the romantic emotions with a very different kind of tension; there's a mysterious threat in the background that adds some creepiness to the scene. When I figured out why Sylvie was so affected by certain colors in her partner's room, I got chills.
The biggest sticking point in _Sins and Shadows_ is Sylvie herself. I had a lot of trouble liking her. She pushes people away. She uses people. She loses her temper at the worst possible moments. The good news is, Benedict writes Sylvie's nasty streak into the story in a realistic way. She doesn't just go around mouthing off with no consequences. She gets called on it all the time, and her attitude often lands her and her friends in mortal danger. And once in a while, it works in her favor. Best of all, as _Sins and Shadows_ ends, there is hope for a more-sympathetic Sylvie.
I'll be following the Shadows Inquiries series. The complex world-building, evocative prose, and layered plot are more than enough to make up for a heroine with a whole bag of chips on her shoulder. And as for her, well, I just need to keep in mind that I didn't like Ilona Andrews' Kate Daniels much at first, either, and now she's one of my favorite fantasy characters. I'm looking forward to seeing what Sylvie's character arc will be.
This is a very dark urban fantasy without a lot of comic relief, but there was one line that cracked me up; I think Benedict may be giving the subgenre a little affectionate ribbing:
"How many pretty women carry a big gun and an even bigger mouth?"