Book Critique - Shadow Warrior (The Shadow Series #4)

For review of all books in The Shadow Series: Go here.

Stars: 3.5 / 5

Recommendation: You believe in super powers, abilities and the good that one can do with it, then this is the series you should read. Of course it comes with loads of eroticism, strong women, and brave men.

Shadow Warrior is the fourth book in The Shadow Series by Christine Feehan published in June of 2019. The plot is again set in Chicago where the Ferraros have marked their territory and begins a few weeks after the previous book, Shadow Keeper.

This time the story is of the fourth sibling and brother - Vittorio Ferraro - and Grace Murphy - whom Giovanni saves from a botched kidnapping attempt. It was awarded Amazon Best of the Month Romance.

The Shadow Series is about the powerful Ferraro family who are revered with both admiration and fear. For they are famed to have powers and abilities that not a normal human can have and perhaps for the rumor that they are tied to mob; neither of which ever could be proved. But the neighborhood that the Ferraro family had hold on - Little Italy - has been crime-free, secure as well as a happy place for any of them to live. People are taken care of as their own until the line crosses where the punishment is severe and sometimes unforgivable. Everyone in the Ferraro family - Five bothers and one sister with Stefano Ferraro as the head along with their parents - and the extended families are very successful, powerful, handsome / beautiful and with a hoard of abilities in them. Yet, they are not complete until they find their mate, the one that can match them in power, character and needs - for the Ferraros have high sexual appetites along with a dose of dominance.

Vittorio Ferraro, considered the most calm and balanced of the Ferraros, had only one dream - to have a wife and kids of his own just like three of his brothers who have found their match. But he never expected he found his match in Grace Murphy right in the middle of a botched kidnapping attempt of Grace. But Grace comes with her share of fears that may come with dangers not only to her but the entire Ferraro family. How Vittorio and his family protect Grace and themselves from every threat that is thrown is the rest of this journey for the readers in this eroticism filled dangerous plot.

Christine created the antagonist and protagonist so similar that I wondered if Grace ever thought Vittorio in terms of the antagonist. Yes, they are very similar in the way they want to rule Grace's life, but Christine eventually shows the freedom that Grace has with Vittorio while she has fear with the other one. Thus, making it clear to the readers why Grace sees the difference. I believe Christine did a similar thing in her 14th book, Covert Game, in the GhostWalker Series.

Vittorio is well balanced and calm with a strong inner sense while he deals with the complicated life he and his family live. Grace has been in a chaotic situation all her life constantly fearing every step she took. She desperately needed a balance and calm which Vittorio brought in to their relationship. To counter, Grace gives her all to him. Christine created a perfect couple who fit each other like gloves despite their polar apart personalities. 

The erotic scenes between Vittorio and Grace are similar to the rest of her books. Although some of the words she used still irked me - proud of; rewarded; disappointment when the heroine doesn’t agree to what hero says; and a few others. Although this time she does show a clear difference between being dominant vs being domineering. That appeased me as a reader a lot, at least the heroine didn’t go behind the hero just for sex and also the hero isn't inhumane either. She has repeat para phrasing a lot more again with this plot. 

In all of the plots in the Shadow Series, this was a bit more chillier than the rest. Some of the scenes involving the antagonist made me shiver and shudder; and at one point I literally looked under my bed just to ensure I was alone indeed. The impact was profound for my hyper-imaginative brain. 

We see more of the Saldi family, their perils and dynamics in this plot; which are not that different from the Ferraros. Except that the Ferraros fight for the under dog, while Saldis still are a crime family. More of the political and relational dynamics also are seen between Saldis and Ferraros. My gut says when finally Emme's story comes, it would be at a high note, like a wave rising up a crescendo. Would be fun to read her story.

Did I not mention that Christine leaves inconsequential details in her books and explores on them next. In the previous book, she had just one brief glance of Dario, Valentino's bodyguard, towards Nicoletta. But she explores that further in this plot, like oh so many other we see all through the plot.

Christine again thanks her friend Cheryl L. Wilson, the author of Weathermages of Mystral series. I have the first book in the series, Winter King, yet to read. 

As always her characters are strong; be it male or female, she portrays them with powerful strength and character that is a notch higher, even though they have their little flaws. She also brings in strong family ties and support system into the mix. And as always leaves the readers with bits of information for possible future plots - some we could guess and some perhaps would surprise when those plots come to light.

Another book that one can enjoy reading it for any time of the day or season.

Spoiler Alerts:

1. Plot Reveals:

a. Grace partners with Katie Branscomb in the prestigious event planning company, KB Events.

b. Art Maverick and Jason Bradshaw - two detectives that Ferraros work with, who they know are honest.

c. Giovanni still is unable to ride shadows due to metal pins implanted in his leg, courtesy of the injury caused during an attack on the Ferraros. His pins will be removed soon. Hopefully in the next plot, we will see Giovanni ride.

2. Sub-Plots:

a. It is very clear that Valentino Saldi (of the notorious mob family, the Saldis) is Emmanuelle "Emme" Ferraro's other half. I am now more than interested to read Emme's story and want to see how Christine will enfold the centuries old war the two families were at and how she will overcome their hurdles so they can be together and their families can survive. Curious also to see if Saldis also have a hidden agenda to do the greater good just like the Ferraros. I have a feeling her story would be the strongest of all, just like Elle Drake's in The Drake Sisters Series or Blythe Daniels in the Sisters of the Heart Series.

b. Nicoletta Gomez an 18-year old abused teenager was rescued by Stefano (when she was 17) and placed under the care of Lucia and Amo Fausti as their long lost niece in the first book Shadow Rider. She is also a shadow rider although she doesn’t know it yet. As my gut said, we see that she is a mate to Taviano Ferraro. Their story is yet to be told. As of now Nicoletta is vacationing in Italy along with her adopted parents, while Taviano announces to the Saldis that she is his fiancée. Would be very interesting plot for them, specially since Nicoletta so protests against Taviano.

c. We got introduced to a French counsellor - Oceane Brisbois - in the second book Shadow Reaper. I am curious to see whose mate she will become. Although mentioned briefly her role sounded important for a future plot; just like all those inconsequential details that Christine throws at the readers. She is mentioned again in this book. Will she become a prominent role soon?

d. Sasha Provis and her older brother, Sandlin Provis, are Shadow Riders too. Although they had not been raised thus. Their parents were both descendants of strong Shadow Rider families from Sicily and Russia. Sandlin has only three more years to live due to an accident. Wonder if Christine would give him a miraculous cure somewhere along in the series.

3. The Ferraros and their extended families and other rival families:

a. Ferraros have three other sets of families spread in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

b. Ferraro Brothers, their partners, Sister and Parents:

i. Stefano Ferraro and Francesca Cappello - Their story told in the first book Shadow Rider; Francesca is pregnant as of Shadow Keeper.

ii. Ricco Ferraro and Mariko "Majo" Tanaka - Their story told in the second book Shadow Reaper.

iii. Giovanni Ferraro and Sasha Provis - Their story told in the third book Shadow Keeper.

iv.  Vittorio Ferraro, Taviano Ferraro, Emmanuelle Ferraro, Eloisa Ferraro (Mother) and Philip Ferraro (Father, who is killed in Shadow Reaper).

v. As of Shadow Keeper, Emmanuelle has broken up with Valentino Saldi. In this plot, she shows interest in Elie. I wonder if Christine is using Elie to make Val jealous and come clean with Emme. We have to wait and see for her story to come alive.

c. New York Cousins: Salvatore Ferraro, Geno Ferraro, Lucca Ferraro.

d. Other Cousins: Emilio, Enzo and Enrica Gallo; Tomas, Casimo and Raimando Abatangelo; Renato and Romano Greco; Drago and Demetrio Palagonia; Franco Mancini; Rigina and Rosina Greco; Leone (a second cousin)

e. Extended Ferraros: Alferi Ferraro (International Council Member), Damian Ferraro (Famous jeweler for the riders), Vinci Sanchez (Ferraro's lawyer), Marcellus & Merry Dubois (Vittorio's home caretakers), Leone Palagonia, Uncle Alfeo and Aunt Rachele Greco

f. Archambault Family from France - first met in Shadow Reaper. They mete justice to any riders and their families. They also make the special fabric the riders need. Some of the riders include Marcellus Archambault, Maxcence Archambault, Sacha Archambault. Elie Archambault is introduced in this book, who joins Emilio's Gallo Security for the Ferraros.

g. In the second book Shadow Reaper, the Ferraro family faces several other Shadow Rider families; some who turn out to be allies and some foes - Isamu Yamamoto, Dai Saito and his wife Osamu Saito, Mikito Ito, Akiko Tanaka, Nao Yamamoto, Master Kin Akahoshi (Ricco's jojutsu instructor).

h. Saldis:

i. Leonardo Saldi is the head of the Saldis with three songs - Giuseppe, Miceli and Fons.

ii. Giuseppe and his wife Greta adopt Valentino "Val" Saldi, son of Fons after he is killed in an accident, making Val the Prince of the family

iii. Miceli has two sons with his current wife, Martina - Tomaso and Angelo - and a third son out of wedlock - Dario Bosco, who is Val's bodyguard too. 

i. Teodosio Giordano - loan shark who was once working for Miceli Saldi.

4. Grammatical / Character / Plot / Geographical / Historical / Mythological Errors:

a. On Pg. 16, Christine has Valentino spelled as "Valentine".

b. On Pg. 113, Christine mentions that Vittorio moves his chair closer to Grace to help her in eating her food. However, on Pg. 115, she mentions that Vittorio switches back to his chair. Both are definitely different scenarios, a clear error I believe in representing the scene.

c. On Pg. 216, Line 21, it should be "…was the sexiest…"


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