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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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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

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.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

best of this genre

As a long time fan of fantasy/sci-fi, I have tried to get into this new paranormal romance stuff. I have read Briggs, Moning and a couple of others. This one I have liked the best so far. The story is creative, easy to follow and fun at times. It started as a good statement on bigotry without rubbing it in our faces. I thought the sex scenes were good and I feel sorry for those who do not believe that sex is a part of life and therefore should be included in more writings. I still am not a fan of this genre, but I may try another RM series.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

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.

17 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • GH
  • Sherborn, MA, United States
  • 11-29-12

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

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • suzanne
  • Bexley, OH, United States
  • 06-01-11

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

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Lara
  • East Haven, CT, USA
  • 01-29-10

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

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Too dumb to live

I quit after the woman, I forget her name, goes home with this guy from a bar and has uninhibited sex...the descriptions goes on and on and on and on. So she's attracted to him. I don't care if he uses a scarlet condom, how stupid can she be to pick up a stranger and take him home? I figured something bad was going to come of it, but apparently this jerk becomes her partner.

Also a lot of vocabulary for otherworldly forms and weapons used against them is unfamiliar. Better to read those words than hear them. I've no idea how to spell them.

The narrator isn't bad, I just am so uninterested in the book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Connor
  • North Carolina
  • 07-01-13

Why Did I Get This Book?

Recently, I watched the movie “This is the End”. At first, I was laughing and enjoying the movie. But soon I was asking “why did I think this would be fun?” I had the same experience with this book.

At first it’s about a woman who gives rouge paranormals serious beat downs. Suddenly it’s a romance story where everyone is worried about their hair, clothes and do I love this guy or that one. Why did I think this would be fun and I may have caught a serious case of cooties.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Katt978
  • COLORADO SPRINGS, CO, United States
  • 06-16-13

The preview doesn't do the narrator justice.

Any additional comments?

OK, I never write a bad review, however, I had to force myself to do it. Sorry :( First off, let me say that I love this author and the book is an interesting start to a new series. However, the casual sex was a bit too much for me. The big kicker, however, was the reading style of the narrator. I think she has a great voice. But, she chose to pause in the middle of sentences and completely ignored the punctuation marks all together. I found myself cringing after only one chapter and I actually stopped listening several times to listen to other books just to give myself a break. I always listen to the sample before purchasing any audio book, however, I feel like the sample did not give the listener enough time to understand the cadence of this narrator's voice. I would not have purchased if I'd be able to listen a bit longer and realized how annoying I found it. Maybe it's just me?

2 of 2 people found this review helpful