A Thief of Nightshade by J.S. Chancellor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Ack This book killed me (-- and now I have to rewrite my review and gah! that just sucks --)
So the story starts out with Aubrey attending her husband's funeral (for whom no body has been recovered) and after which she ends up in Avalar, a world her husband wrote about in one of his books. It is in Avalar that she finds out that her husband is in the custody of the Dark Fae Queen and any memory of his life prior to his return to Avalar has been forgotten and such Aubrey takes on a mission to save her husband.
Ah Aubrey, she is such a strong character in the sense that she had to undergo a lot of battles within her own self, but she came out on top at the end of it all. And that's one of the main points that this novel brings about. That little light at the end of the tunnel? It isn't just mere hallucination, it's real, and if you persevere, if you don't shatter (a little cracking is okay, we're just humans after all) you'll make it. That's really what I loved about this book, because Aubrey really had some issues (with due reason) that she had to work out, however and this is what I really liked about the book, was that even though she had her own self doubts, even though there were times when she feared her efforts wouldn't been enough, she still persevered. She still fought to free her husband with everything she had.
Another character in the book that I think really bears mentioning is Given, and that's because she feels, and she shows her emotions. After all it's not weak to cry. It's human, it's how we know we feel, because there are times when things become overwhelming, so you end up having to let it out. There's nothing wrong with that. It's what you do afterwards that counts, and Given is another fighter --both literally and figuratively. And that's great.
And now onto what I absolutely love, love, loved about this book.
Sure, for majority of the book the hero and heroine are separated from each other, but this is what I think made this book so great. You could still feel this romance and this love between the two characters and it was so beautiful and sweet. We see the story of Aubrey and Julian unfold through a series of flashbacks, in which we see how they first met, etc. There were also little moments that as the flashbacks ran parallel to the ongoing adventure, we see how Julian was showing his love for Aubrey in his own little way, and man if that didn't hit me. Also this book doesn't need the love scenes to show how the characters feel about each other. The most we've seen of them is a kiss, and even then it's touched upon lightly, but the feelings, the feelings are there for us the reader to see and feel and you're right there with Aubrey hoping that against all odds, they will be reunited, and darn if that isn't amazing right there.
p.s. Lipsey (a.k.a Lips) the flying squirrel is so cute and sweet, where can I get me one XD.
Also, I think the cover art is absolutely beautiful, especially the close up of Aubrey, it really does capture her emotions at the masquerade ball.