Book reviews: #3 & #4 in Richell Mead’s DARK SWAN series #UF

I decided against reviewing these books separately, as it really only means much if you’ve read the earlier books in the series.

I reviewed book #1 STORM BORN, and #2 THORN QUEEN already, and although each book is a separate story, there is one overall arc to all four, #3 IRON CROWNED and #4 SHADOW HEIR.

I’m also not going to do one of my regular reviews, rather I’m interested in other people’s opinions on something that bugged me quite a lot about the way this story wrapped up.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the books and am pleased I read them, but throughout the novels much is made of the many problems Eugenie has to reconcile: she is split in her loyalties between the human and fae worlds, she struggles to maintain her regular work because of frequent necessary trips away from Tucson, so money is an issue. She lives continually under threat of a prophecy that causes huge problems at the end of book 3 and all through book 4.

And that’s just skimming the surface of her challenges, without adding in the (very hot) love triangle that brings her so much grief, and all the emotional and practical stuff surrounding that.

I was entranced. How would the author get her out of these situations? How would it all be resolved?

But I was to be disappointed. Sure, it’s more like real life where things are rarely wrapped up in neat packages that you can shelve and live happily after. What I didn’t expect (or appreciate), was that by the end of the series, with one exception, NONE of these issues were resolved. In fact, another one was added in the last chapter, leaving the entire thing up in the air. (The series is definitely complete, with no further volumes expected).

How would you feel about a series that ends this way? I’ve always believed that the complications we add as authors, are there for us to find some amazing way to resolve that our readers didn’t see coming.

That is what I try to do in my own books.

This felt somehow disingenuous. Like cheating the reader.

I know I won’t be alone in feeling like this, but I’m really interested in how important YOU feel it is to solve the challenges you put in front of your main character.

Please, tell me!


  1. Well, I for one would be ticked too after investing all that time in a series with things left hanging. 😦 x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Deb, I felt somewhat conflicted because I enjoyed the characters and the storyline, but found this aspect really annoying. It isn’t something I would want to do to my readers!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I totally hear you ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Honestly, I would feel cheated. Like you, I want to see what cleverness got the main character out of these problems. Even if real life is about problems not being solved, this is fiction. I see a lot of excellent authors leave the story with a problem but it’s so readers will read the next book. Whole ‘nuther thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jacqui. I knew I wouldn’t be alone in my feelings about this, but I also know some readers are happy for books to reflect the open-ended real-life scenario. What I would really like to know is the publisher felt about this. Did they not care because it was a done deal by the time the author delivered book #4, or did they just not know how to turn it around?


  3. I would be quite disappointed, I think, Deborah, if most of the issues weren’t wrapped up at the end of a series. One or two things can be left to the imagination, but honestly if much is made of the character’s challenges and then they’re just dropped, that seems like lazy plotting to me. I haven’t read them and probably won’t. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for backing up my feelings on the matter ❤
      Lazy writing seems to me to hit the mark. What was her publisher/editor thinking, I wonder.

      Liked by 1 person

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