Pain and bloodletting was Morgan's latest attempt to expand her repertoire. Of late, it surmounted to another in a list of anticipation followed closely by the sting of failure. Most often they relate to the effort put to find her missing mother. Between the dark sting of the demon blade, necessary to override at least in part the regenerative abilities of her nody's chemistry. The significant volume dripping and flowing into the bowl chosen by Elise, helped to explain the darkness creeping into the edges of her vision, slowly growing so that her vision was an ever smaller tunnel, making her blood look black. As dangerous as it might be, a critical timing necessary until she had a handle on it. She mighten trust Elise unreservedly but she was the only blood magic practitioner Morgan would permit to be present during the vulnerable state present in learning the nee skill.
If she could get her two magical sources to operate in tandem, then it would allow her to cover the magical draw on her usual ability, which happened to coincide with her frequent regenerative healing, of which she frequently requires but had no control over. Not having access to any magical power could be as life threatening as any injury the healing looked to repair. As long as there was the usual sorts of injuries sustained, then the bleeding often accompanying her many injuries could provide a source of power whilst her body was healing itself. She needed to crawl before she could walk, though. Expanding on this analogy then she'd ultimately learn to run. That is, the stage when her control over the power in her blood shifted with practice to the power in her opponent's blood. This is the true purpose of Thaumaturgy: the practice of blood magic. She has the unfortunate memories of seeing a powerful thaumaterge, such as Elise, boil the blood still in a victims body causing nightmarish blood curdling, pun intended, screams.
Still unsuccessful following the frequent rehashed pain brought on by the need to keep cutting she is contacted to weigh in her opinion on a new spate of crimes. Sometimes in her's line of work things came down to chance. For example, had Morgan been the dutiful daughter by not continuing to sidestep phone calls from her father, then her brother wouldn't have shown up unannounced whilst she was on her way to a crime scene, Tamlin thus needing to tag along. This chance then necessitated that Alex provide transport to take Tamlin back to her home. With the police awaiting her arrival she could ill afford to divert from her destination. Being able to persuade the officer in charge allows Alex to provide his evaluation following his examination of the latest two victims. Praying on only key targets passing some unknown eligibility criteria, investigators know only that after taking a liquid vial the taker falls unconscious. Escaping medical expertise to revive them from a state mimicking that of comatosed patients, or even explaining how its being induced are both as unsuccessful as medical examiner capacities to later explain why some patients flatline and cannot be resuscitated.
The seriousness of these crimes is exemplified by the local hospital's need to set aside a whole ward in order to cater the mounting number of victims, all appearing to have fallien afoul of the new drug, Orpheus. The value of the chain of circumstantial chances is revealed when Alex's medium ability permits him to detect what was thought to be impossible, and would've been missed unless the right type of supernatural person was able to examine the bodies. Mocking, and contrary to, the laws of nature regarding the process of life and death as they relate to the habitation by souls within mortal vessels, the comatosed person's body no longer shows the presence of their soul. Sometimes its chance and serendipity that succeed where conscious effort fails to permit the discovery of the most important factors relating to many differing endeavours, an observation supported throughout the historical path of science to name but one example of how humans have discovered the knowledge they have today. Regardless of whether those answers were the one's being sought, wanted, or even understood.
With the number of separate divisions within the supernatural community beginning to notice, it brings together certain investigators who'd otherwise never have work toward the same goal as the respective group of compatriots. Much to Alex and Tamlin's dismay the vested party's share one unfortunate similarity to Morgan; they're as accomplished and interested at the one-upmanship of who can deliver the fastest and most snarky retort. As in life, when anymore than a single person in any given conversation invests efforts in the domains of snarky diffusion, often trying to pass itself off as humourous observation, then you'll push even the most stalwart patience. Especially when those victims of the friendly, and not so friendly, abuse are not the type to invest energy in the same pursuits.
So when a Reaper, a Duke of Hell, and a talking cat are found in her home upon returning from the aforementioned crime scene, the same Reaper who'd once offered her consoling body in images of batting for the same team, and the same Duke who'd indecently done a whole lot more than mere offering, it'll fast be a push for Tamlin and Alex to remain anything not resembling frustration; the talking cat being the first among those losing their patience. Tamlin, perhaps more than most, given his unassuming good nature stemming from a sheltered puppy dog eyes, who'll miss many an insinuation with an established softness to his heart that contrasts the hardness his sister portrays. Most would be mildly giddy from the yoyo of his perception, one that shifts from utterly clueless to surprisingly insightful, sometimes as quickly as within the same sentence from his mouth.
The purpose of the need to have a cooperative faction wins out to see the amalgamation of different supernatural species working together as a single group. Admittedly that's with a very loose definition of togetherness. They fast need to get to the bottom of the events threatening exposure of the paranormal myths that allow the various supernatural species to hide in plain sight. Said events also cross the lines which divide the purposes of certain groups, such as the Reaper domain of releasing souls not contracted to demonsl Jeopardising anonymity, and usurping domains over which the various groups have systematic control are among the few precursors strong enough to motivate the paranormal world to clean up its own backyard in cooperative fashions. With enough potential for harm to anyone other than the human victims that keep mounting up, its possible to get a collective effort from those that who are otherwise opponents on any given day.
With her trademarked (patent pending) deflection, smartass retort and laissez-faire pretense fully realised and going strong, you'd have to be blind to miss the satire and irony in Morgan's personality. They are certainly up to par with her physical abilities of kicking ass and taking numbers well past the point of exhaustion, leaving behind just the pieces following the wrecking ball she delivers. Her secondary currencies of sarcasm and wit blend together with her trademarks to produce much hilarity, and the comic relief often necessary to keep stressful situations from exceeding the capacities of those involved to handle them. Not to mention lightly, its her unwavering gifts for cussing, praising, random noting, mindless meandering, inappropriate questioning, and the many further examples of inopportune ramblings during times of greatest stress, that should never be underestimated in their ability to leave her fellow characters' and reader's jaws loose and open in the most unattractive ways.
If there's action and thrilling near-death experiences taking place, then the need to have your hand free to close your slack-jawed mouth should never be forgotten. With the frequent hilarity of the scripting of such events it warrants the employ of stand-up comedians to narrate them if you want the narrator to be able to do so with a straight face. Sympathetic stitches bite sharply at the lower sides of your ribcage as you read; exacerbated by the frequent shortness of breath synchronising with both the thrill of the action, and the laughter at the stuff that goes through her head. It dramatically flavours both the story's dialogues and Morgan's own unspoken monologue, with the richness of icing upon the outer surfaces of a cake. The sponge ingredients being the supernatural suspense, mystery, action and intrigue that encompass her personal and occupational challenges.
Morgan has an unlimited capacity of vested personal interests in seeing the mortals under her watch being cared for at often great personal cost, the same commitment applying to her friends and loved ones. Her level of devotion often inspires the greatest loyalties from even the briefest encounters with the victims she helps. Morgan's unwavering commitment sees her as the one with the first foot on the field, and the subsequent last foot off. She approaches conflict and many other types of situations fully prepared to risk life and limb by taking on great sacrifice for even a complete stranger, and of course her friends and family. Regardless of the degree of separation in those she helps, Morgan further inspires others involved with her helping to approach with some of the same attitudes where they aren't also matching her gusto in actual behaviour.
Like the concept of a hardboiled egg that's removed from the boiling water at just the right time to leave the egg white solid but the yoke soft and runny, Morgan has a multilayered nature; as is often the case with the sorts of well developed characters who lead the forays and sagas of the best series and standalone books that you read. The public persona that strangers and perps see is only the hardness of the egg's outer shell. Only when the blow is at the right place and angle is there more than small cracks in its casing. Personal acquaintances and friends are offered the softness of the egg white medium capable of being anything from runny to gelatinous and solid, depending on the closeness of the person to her private life. And finally there's the liquid yoke afforded loved ones and her own ego as she handles them internally. The diaphonous nature of the yoke is however, that if the outer layers are too broken or the egg is left in the water too long, exposing the yoke to the heat and air too long, then the yoke is capable of becoming the set texture similar to the egg white.
With such great characters and entertaining choreography there'd be few that didn't find this fourth book of the Spire Chronicles enjoyable and a worthwhile addition to their list of finished or TBR books. Of the four books this is also the one that carries readers to the closest deductions about the series name without actually delving right into it. Another remarkable observation is that I cannot think of any other book that I've read which has a sequence of action and events that runs for such a staggering amount of the book. The things that happen once the characters gets to where they need to be to solve the latest quandary runs solid and full paced for around half to two-thirds of the book. The final battle itself making up three-quarters of this same portion. Ashley outshines many with her capacity to be able to visualise what is necessary to be able to write a sequence lasting so long. This together with the above topic of scripting would be enough for me to make sure I read all her books; but this is just two reasons, and by no means suggests there aren't plenty more.
In this book she has also done what seems to be avoided in any significant effort by most fantasy authors, she has tackled in a significant way the imagery and environment of what could losely be called limbo, or the weighing station before souls go on to either heaven or hell. There'd be at least twice as many cases where authors mention such places in the stories compared to where they describe such places. This adds to the delineation of the series name in addition to the different book titles, bring readers closer to the purpose of calling the series The Spire Chronicles. Its not the first mentioning but it is the greatest. The last couple of chapters are particularly revealing. But as is my custom, I like to describe some of the events without stepping over the line that ruins the experience of reading the whole. So just take away the importance of this book to the series and the aspects about why its a great read, together with the rating to bring home why you need to read this fourth book.
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Shadowlands (The Spire Chronicles Book 4) Kindle Edition
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- ASIN : B01M5HYMVQ
- Language : English
- File size : 1353 KB
- Simultaneous device usage : Unlimited
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 453 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: 258,835 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
4.5 out of 5
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Four StarsReviewed in the United Kingdom on 26 June 2017
Quite enjoyable for this type of genre.
Another Solid Entry in the SeriesReviewed in Canada on 31 March 2017
This is the 4th book in the Spire Chronicles series. I highly recommend reading the first 3 books in the series before this one as this one builds on information that was in the previous 3. Ms Meira’s world building is phenomenal and really shouldn’t be missed. This is Ms Meira’s first series and it is an extremely impressive effort. I am really looking forward to the next book in the series.
Another thrilling ride!Reviewed in the United States on 8 November 2016
This is exactly what I've come to expect from Ms Meira: a good story and an exciting ride that finally tells us what the villain is planning. This book is filled with action and drama that kept me hooked from page to page. It is twice as long as any of the others, yet the only criticism is I still wish it were longer!
3 people found this helpful
Janice M. Harrell
Love it!Reviewed in the United States on 10 May 2017
This book has the snarky humor I enjoy. Lots of action and an unbeatable heroine hero combo. Loved it. Great fun.
This is an awesome series and I can't wait for the next one.Reviewed in the United States on 29 August 2017
I Loved this book and am sincerely hoping that there will be another to follow.