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Book Critique - Shadow Flight (The Shadow Series #5)

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 Flight is the fifth book in The Shadow Series by Christine Feehan published in May of 2020. The plot is again set in Chicago where the Ferraros have marked their territory and begins two years after the previous book, Shadow Warrior. 

The central plot revolves around the fifth sibling and brother - Taviano Ferraro - and Nicoletta Gomez - who was saved from a brutal gang in New York by the Ferraros in the very first book, The Shadow Rider. We have been waiting for their tale as much as we have been waiting for Emmanuelle's, the final sibling, in the series. Now we get to see Taviano and Nicoletta's in this book.

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 for the rumor that they are tied to mob. But the Ferraro neighborhood - 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 - and the extended families are very successful, powerful, handsome / beautiful and with a hoard of abilities within 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.

Three years ago, Nicoletta Gomez was saved by the Ferraros as a 17 year old, from the clutches of a very cruel gang, Demons, in New York City. She had been living under the care of Lucia and Amo Fausti in Little Italy. From the first time she opened her eyes and looked into Taviano's she knew he was hers. However, Taviano had been avoiding her like plague. But Taviano isn't as immune to her as he projects. 

Taviano knew from that very first moment that he was hers. But her tragic past made him pause; give her time to evolve and rise above all that. But when that past comes hunting Nicoletta again, all bets are off for Taviano. And he breaks the most cardinal rule of the shadow riders in keeping her safe. Now, they have to face the consequences of his decisions, while they find love with each other; and fight the demons from both their pasts.

Last time when Feehan has dragged a character through the series, expanding the role bit by bit, it was of Gabrielle Sanders in the Carpathian Series. She had introduced her first in Dark Descent, the 11th novel in the series in 2003; but hadnt written a story for Gabrielle until 29th book Dark Promises in 2016, a good 13 years later. After building up the character so much, I was disappointed at the tale that Feehan had spun for Gabrielle. 

So when she finally gave us Nicoletta and Taviano's story, which she has been building them since the first book in 2016, I was very hesitant and praying that she had given them a good story. I have to say I am very pleased. Despite the hardships both Nicoletta and Taviano faced in their lives, they turned into strong shadow riders and warriors. And fittingly for them, she gave them a very romantic story filled with laughs, love, family support and happiness all through.

Now I pray she wont disappoint us readers for Emmanuelle's tale which I am hoping will be the next in the series. With all things that happened to Emme, I hope Feehan gives her an equally romantic story as she gave Nicoletta.

I wondered if Feehan would go beyond the 6 books in this Shadow Series of hers focusing only on the Ferraros from Chicago. Especially when she had introduced so many families and had give us so many little details all through the four books so far. And in this book Feehan gives us more of the other shadow rider families whom we met only as names so far. My hunch might be right that she would o beyond the Chicago Ferraros with this series, you never know.

The romantic and sexual scenes between Taviano and Nicoletta are similar to the rest of her books in the series; although she still has some of the words that irks me still. She has repeat para phrasing a lot more again with this plot. 

First time when I saw the title of the book, I read it as "Shadow Fight" (Well, blame it on my dyslexic mind! :P). And I did think it was an appropriate title since from the beginning Taviano and Nicoletta were always at war - be it fighting the sparks between them or fighting their past. I didn’t realize it was indeed "Shadow Flight" until the book was released. Go Figure! :P

After reading the book, I believe "Flight" is more appropriate than "Fight" in the title. We see Nicoletta breaking free and flying high; and so do we see Taviano finally letting go of his past and embracing the future with Nicoletta. Very appropriate, if I may say so.

Of all the books so far in the Shadow Series, this has become my favorite. Feehan gave you laughs, romance, made you cry, taught you perseverance, and above all showed you what true family support looks like. Oh I cried at so many scenes in the book.

Although she shelves the political and relational dynamics between the Ferraros and Saldis for this plot, she does give closure to one antagonist whom we have been reading about since the very first book. I do however would have liked that final fight a bit longer. But again she keeps to the practice that she preaches through her characters that serving justice should not be emotional.

Feehan brings back the other Ferraro brothers whose stories we already read so far and makes their roles more prominent in this book again. We see all of them in action too. Especially seeing Giovanni in action made me happy, since until last book he was healing from injuries and pins in his leg were going to be removed.

She gives us more about the other Shadow Rider Families; brings in new villains in this book and expands the antagonists connecting them loosely with each of the other families. Another segue that we are not done with the Shadow Series yet. There is definitely more to come. 

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. And now I can't wait to read about the last sibling from the Chicago Shadow Rider family, Emmanuelle Ferraro. 

Spoiler Alerts:

1. Plot Reveals:

a. Nicoletta's birth parents were Leona Aita and Asce Archambault - both belonging to powerful shadow rider families.

b. The Ferraro siblings conspire to try to keep Stefano from going into war with the Valdez and his many armies. Why?

c. Tonia Valdez planning to have a reality show and has fixated on Velia Ferraro from the Los Angeles Shadow Riders family. Perhaps they might use this ruse to bring him down.

2. Sub-Plots:

a. We got introduced to a French counsellor - Oceane Brisbois - in the second book Shadow Reaper. With the fifth brother story also completed in this book, not sure if this character will come back , though she was mentioned in the previous book Shadow Warrior too.

b. Shadow riders facing a new problem with respect to impact on their brain due to continuous shadow riding. 

c. As of Shadow Keeper, Emme has broken up with Valentino Saldi, she seems to be showing interest in Elie Archambault. I wonder if there will be a triangular love story for Emme. 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.

d. Henry, their vehicle expert, is in love with Eloise, but he is not a shadow rider.

e. LA Ferraro's parents were murdered. Seems like there is more to it.

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

a. Four sets of Ferraro families are mentioned through the series spread in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

b. Chicago Ferraros: Riders are five Brothers & their wives; one Sister; Mother Eloisa.

i. Stefano Ferraro and Francesca Cappello - in Shadow Rider; they have an infant baby boy, Crispino "Cristo", as of this book.

ii. Ricco Ferraro and Mariko "Majo" Tanaka - in Shadow Reaper.

iii. Giovanni Ferraro and Sasha Provis - in Shadow Keeper

iv. Vittorio Ferraro and Grace Murphy - in Shadow Warrior.

v. Emmanuelle Ferraro.

vi. Other Cousins supporting them: Emilio Gallo; Enzo Gallo; Enrica Gallo; Drago Palagonia; Demetrio Palagonia; Leone Palagonia; Tomas Abatangelo; Casimo Abatangelo; Raimando Abatangelo; Rigina Greco; Rosina Greco; Renato Greco; Romano Greco; Uncle Alfeo and Aunt Rachele Greco; Franco Mancini; Marcellus & Merry Dubois (Vittorio's home caretakers); Uncle Sal; 

c. New York Ferraros: Geno Ferraro; Lucca Ferraro; Salvatore "Sal" Ferraro;

d. Los Angeles Ferraros:

i. Riders: three Brothers Severino "Sev" Ferraro; Marzio Ferraro; Tore Ferraro; one Sister, Velia Ferraro;

ii. Other Cousins: Maximino; Remigio; Vico

e. Archambault Family from France - first met in Shadow Reaper. They mete justice to any riders; make the special fabric the riders need. Members - Marcellus Archambault, Maxcence Archambault, Sacha Archambault; Elie Archambault, joins Emilio Gallo's Security for the Ferraros in Shadow Warrior.

f. Extended Ferraros: Aliferi Ferraro (International Council Member), Damian Ferraro (Famous jeweler for the riders), Vinci Sanchez (Ferraro's lawyer).

g. Other Shadow Rider families, some who are allies and some foe: Isamu Yamamoto; Dai Saito and his wife Osamu Saito; Mikito Ito; Akiko Tanaka; Nao Yamamoto; Master Kin Akahoshi (Ricco's jojutsu instructor); Sandlin Provis, Sasha's brother, has only one more year to live.

h. Other supporting people: Lucia and Amo, foster parents of Nicoletta; Katie Branscomb, Grace's business partner; 

i. Saldis:

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

ii. Giuseppe and his wife Greta adopt Valentino "Val" Saldi, son of Fons after he was 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. 

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

j. Valdez family heading Demons Gang:

i. Benito Valdez - President; runs from New York; killed in this plot.

ii. Tonio Valdez - runs Los Angeles branch

iii. Thiago Valdez - runs New Jersey branch

iv. Joaquin Valdez - runs the Oklahoma City branch

v. Leonardo Valdez - runs the St. Louis branch

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

a. On Pg. 134, Line 14 from bottom, shouldn’t it be "..opened into a much more…"?

b. On Pg. 135, Line 3, it should be "…what she was most…"

c. Ob Pg. 525, in the beginning of the scene, Feehan had two Demon gang members go to northern side of the building and two others go to the west end. But in the next paragraph she has Stephano going to west and Taviano going to southern side but towards the same Demon gang members who were at the northern side. 

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