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Storm Born: Dark Swan, Book 1 | [Richelle Mead]

Storm Born: Dark Swan, Book 1

Eugenie Markham is a powerful shaman who does a brisk trade banishing spirits and fey who cross into the mortal world. Mercenary, yes, but a girl's got to eat. Her most recent case, however, is enough to ruin her appetite. Hired to find a teenager who has been taken to the Otherworld, Eugenie comes face to face with a startling prophecy - one that uncovers dark secrets about her past and claims that Eugenie's first-born will threaten the future of the world as she knows it.
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Publisher's Summary

Just typical. No love life to speak of for months, then all at once, every horny creature in the Otherworld wants to get in your pants....

Eugenie Markham is a powerful shaman who does a brisk trade banishing spirits and fey who cross into the mortal world. Mercenary, yes, but a girl's got to eat. Her most recent case, however, is enough to ruin her appetite. Hired to find a teenager who has been taken to the Otherworld, Eugenie comes face to face with a startling prophecy - one that uncovers dark secrets about her past and claims that Eugenie's first-born will threaten the future of the world as she knows it.

Now Eugenie is a hot target for every ambitious demon and Otherworldy ne'er-do-well, and the ones who don't want to knock her up want her dead. Eugenie handles a Glock as smoothly as she wields a wand, but she needs some formidable allies for a job like this. She finds them in Dorian, a seductive fairy king with a taste for bondage, and Kiyo, a gorgeous shape-shifter who redefines animal attraction.

But with enemies growing bolder and time running out, Eugenie realizes that the greatest danger is yet to come, and it lies in the dark powers that are stirring to life within her.

©2008 Richelle Mead; (P)2010 Audible, Inc.

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  •  
    Leesa Smalltown,AL 02-23-13
    Leesa Smalltown,AL 02-23-13 Member Since 2012

    I've always been a avid reader so now I'm a avid listener. I prefer the paranormal genre but I do like to switch things up. It's boring if you don't have variety. Of course I do love the romance and the hotter the better. Also, you can't beat a good thriller filled with suspense and a ending you can't even guess at until the very end.

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    "Good Listen."
    Which character – as performed by Jennifer Van Dyck – was your favorite?

    Eugenie.


    Any additional comments?

    At first I thought, "Oh no, I've gonna be bored through another book!", but then I got swept into the story and I really liked the characters. It's a good listen, even though it's not packed with "HOT" sexual situations. Of course it's a series and Eugenie's story is just getting started, but I'm willing to part with my credits to hear it.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    crazybatcow East Coast, Canada 02-09-13
    crazybatcow East Coast, Canada 02-09-13 Member Since 2007

    I like Jack Reacher style characters regardless of setting. Put them in outer space, in modern America, in a military setting, on an alien planet... no worries. Book has non moralistic vigilante-justice? Sign me up! (oh, I read urban fantasy, soft and hard sci-fi, trashy vampire and zombie novels too)

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    "Sex, fairies and butt-kicking... who needs more?"

    Might seem strange, but this book is actually more sexually graphic than the Succubus series. (Not that this takes away from the story at all - it's actually pretty decent sex, where Eugenie is an active and eager participant... and it's one of the few I've read that actively use and encourage safer sex. Thank you Ms. Mead. ) So if you don't like plentiful and descriptive sex, I'd skip this book.

    I liked the first half of the book better than the second half. And the final scenes were my least favorite of them all... it was like the author wanted to explore some spiritual or philosophical topics and the only way she could add them into the story is to tack on a "voyage" near the end of the book. It wasn't exactly out of place (because Eugenie does talk of the underworld in other parts of the book), but it was so clearly an "add-on" to make a philosophical point that I really just wanted to skip this part.

    Otherwise, I like the main character (her unpleasant name not-withstanding) and how she grew throughout the story. I'm not sure I like her choice in relationships, but I suppose that's part of the angst of the story. I will read more in the series because I think the characters are interesting and well-developed, even if I don't like them very much.

    The narrator is very good and her voices are distinct and her men sound reasonable. Though I have to say I don't think she had the right voice for what I expected Eugenie to sound like. The violence isn't graphic, there is a lot of detailed sex, and I don't think there was any swearing. The Succubus series by the same author is actually a good choice if you like this kind of story (with a lot less sex) and it's wonderfully narrated.

    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    G. House Sr. Sherborn, MA, United States 11-29-12
    G. House Sr. Sherborn, MA, United States 11-29-12 Member Since 2012

    I am an avid listener. I listen between 75-100 hours per month on my iPhone: 60% fiction to 40% non-fiction.

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    "Strong Series Start -- A ginormous thumb up"

    Storm Born is the first of the Dark Swan series. I admit to having low expectations even though the book was recommended by a friend. After listening to the first few chapters I was hooked. Eugenie Markham is the main character and is a powerful shaman. She is very competent and smart; yet, she has much to learn about the fantasy lands and villains she gets involved with. Her character type projects a strong and capable woman into dangerous fantasy circumstances. I found this novel thoroughly enjoyable and many times I had to laugh out loud. Mead is able to use artful description of a fantasyland that beckons you to want to believe. The author is also skilled in creating backstories that will take time to mature but promise to be worth exploring.

    I initially found the narrator, Jennifer Van Dyck to speak a little too fast and her tone a little strange. But, after reflection, by the end of the novel I liked what she brought to the table.

    The novel will appeal to and serious series novel listener. Those who enjoy Stephanie Plum (Evanovich); Kay Scarpetta (Cornwall); and Pendergast (Preston and Child) series will also very much enjoy this series. Eugenie is very capable like Scarpetta, smart like Pendergast and take no prisoners like Plum, she will fast become a favorite. A definite yes!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Noktelfa 04-18-11
    Noktelfa 04-18-11 Member Since 2001
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    "Like The Dresden Files on aspirin"

    Magical adventure in the modern world, but from a female perspective, including angles I hadn't considered. I decided to listen while waiting for the next Dresden book, and I'm glad I did. The story line had enough twists to be interesting and unexpected. The narrator was decent, but not great. Still, by far, not the worst I've heard. Also, the characters were rich and colorful, not as flat as a lot of stories portray. I'm tempted to buy the paper version just to share with my friends who can't be bothered with audiobooks.

    If The Dresden Files are written more for men, this seems written more for women, although in my opinion both should work for either.

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    K. Eckert Minneapolis, MN 07-29-13
    K. Eckert Minneapolis, MN 07-29-13 Member Since 2004

    Devourer of all books fantasy

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    "Definitely not one of Mead's best books"

    This is the first book in the Dark Swan series by Richelle Mead. There are four book in this series: Thorn Queen, Iron Crowned and Shadow Heir. It was an okay read but neither the characters nor the world really grabbed my attention much.

    I listened to this on audiobook and the audiobook quality was very good. The narrator wass pleasant to listen to and distinguished between different character voices well.

    Eugenie Markham is a powerful Shaman who makes a living banishing spirits and fey. When she takes a case to recover a girl that has been stolen by the Fey she is forced to journey into the Other World. There she discovers startling things about her past and a prophecy that says that her first born will rule the Fey. Suddenly every Fey is interested in being the one to sire a child on her.

    I usually love books about the Fey, I love the mythology behind it and the interesting world built around it. Unfortunately this book wasn’t as much about Fey as it was about sex. Every Fey thing is trying to rape and/or have sex with Eugenie for a good portion of the book. Seriously there is a lot of sex in this book...so yeah...I guess just be aware of that.

    Eugenie is a pretty one dimensional character. In the beginning she dislikes Fey and can’t remember her past. We never really learn why she can’t remember her past just that eventually she starts to. It would have been nice to have this better explained. The other things we learn about Eugenie are that she likes rough sex and bondage sex. Believe me the sex thing is a major part of her character.

    There are two males that feature in this story. The first is Kiyo a gorgeous shapeshifter that Eugenie is very attracted to. He falls in love with Eugenie very quickly and for reasons that aren’t really ever explained. The second is Dorian, a fairy king with a taste for bondage. Eugenie is willing to have sex with Dorian in exchange for favors that will help her case to rescue a human girl from Fey hands.

    I didn’t really like any of the characters all that much. They were just so 2D and so very driven by sex. I don’t mind sex in my books, but none of these sex scenes were even all that good. The whole thing was just kind of ho-hum.

    There are some positives to this book as well, the book does have some awesome action scenes. I also really enjoyed watching Eugenie learn to use her storm magic. The world is an interesting one and I wish we had got to spend more time learning about that than reading about Eugenies luke-warm sex life. I also wish we had gotten to see more different types of Fey, there are some interesting races introduced in this book...but they are talked about so briefly.

    This is by far the worst of Mead’s books. The book is easy to read, but the characters were hard to engage with and the story was predictable and lacked something to really drive the story forward.

    Overall a very mediocre urban fantasy. I love fey urban fantasies, but can’t really recommend this one. If you want to read an excellent fey urban fantasy series check out Seanan McGuire’s October Daye series...it is an absolutely stunning series featuring Fey. I won’t be reading any more books in this series.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    V San Diego, CA, United States 07-11-11
    V San Diego, CA, United States 07-11-11 Member Since 2010

    I'm just here for the laughs!

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    "Happily Surprised"

    I'm a total sucker for good paranormal romance, and unfortunately, most authors I've happened upon have trouble keeping a balance between the romance and action. Storm Born was a great listen for me, and I've already purchased the next two installments. I love heroines that are strong but flawed, and sexually comfortable, but not permanently on their backs. Eugenie is smart, sarcastically funny, and I enjoy her inner voice. She deals with situations that are completely out of the norm, but inside, she's just like everyone else. Eugenie is sometimes insecure and confused, questioning right from wrong, and her place in the world.
    I'll keep listening as long as Ms. Mead keeps writing!

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    suzanne Bexley, OH, United States 06-01-11
    suzanne Bexley, OH, United States 06-01-11 Member Since 2011
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    "Narrator is fine"

    I worried about the narrarator from the reviews here. She's fine...don't worry. Maybe a little mature? But her character voices are all fine to good. She does men well. This series is great. More depth to it than the succubus series. I listened to them all in a few days and am eager for the last one to come out in January.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lara East Haven, CT, USA 01-29-10
    Lara East Haven, CT, USA 01-29-10 Member Since 2005
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    "Great book, fair narrator"

    The book, like any Mead production, is excellent. The characters are intriguing and the story line and premise are truly unique. I think the narrator is okay, though time and time again I can't help but think the narrator is reading in a different emphasis or "feel" than the author intended. The voices she uses are hit or miss as far as conveying the author's intent for the characters. Having said that, she still does a fair job and the novel is definitely worth the time.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cyndi DFW, TX, United States 12-06-11
    Cyndi DFW, TX, United States 12-06-11 Member Since 2010
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    "Good series, but lots of sex."
    What did you love best about Storm Born?

    I love the story and setting. The characters are awesome and fun, lots of laugh out loud moments and the story moves right along.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The main character, Eugenie. If you read the VA books, she's like Rose, a total badass...with a good heart, snarky attitude, potty mouth...only older...and um, a bit promiscuous. Dorian is completely awesome. I also love Jasmine, she made me laugh a lot.


    What does Jennifer Van Dyck bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    At first, I was surprised at how mature she sounds for a character of this age, but I got used to it. She does a good job with the other world characters. Some of the accents were thicker than I had them in my head [I always read a book before I buy it on audible.com...I only buy my favorites, that I will listen to over and over, on audio.] but overall, she was good.


    Any additional comments?

    There's a lot more sex in this book than I was prepared for, having only read Richelle's VA books. I can only imagine the Succubus books are way worse. Not saying the sex is written badly...it's not. But it is, um...often and a bit dirty. I would have read them anyway, but it would have been nice to be warned.

    9 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rose Gonzales, CA, United States 03-28-13
    Rose Gonzales, CA, United States 03-28-13 Member Since 2011
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    "If you like sex in a story,you will love this"

    The story line is good but you have to weed throught the repeditive sexual exploits of the main character. I'm no prude and don't mind some well placed mood sex but jumping bones every day makes it hard to keep the story line going.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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