So....I just finished Shadow Heir, which is the final book in Eugenie's trilogy. I'm going to talk spoilers in a minute, but before I do that I'll let you know that I give this book (and this series) 3+ stars. I'm throwing the + in there because I can't bring myself to give it 4 stars, but I don't think its completely 3 stars either. If you've already read this series, by all means go on and learn why I rate it this way (remember, spoilers). For those of you who haven't read it I'll say this - I love Richelle Mead's writing. I think her Succubus series with Georgina Kincaid is one of the best UF series out there. It gets my ultimate 6 star rating. I also think Vampire Academy is one of the best YA vampire series on the market. I love the world and the characters. I don't think Richelle could write a bad series if she tried.
So....with that being said....
I want to be clear, some people aren't going to like what I say about this series. I can only say that its ME. I don't have a lot of patience for characters like Eugenie. I'm sure a lot of people love her. I don't.
I wanted to like the Thorn Queen series more than I did like it. I can say I loved the worlds that Richelle created. The fae world is clever and definitely based on research. The storyline of a woman discovering that she's not who she thinks she is - and the disasters that ensue - is good. But here's my problem... Eugenie is apathetic. She's weak minded, easily used, runs away from her problems, and in general doesn't seem to be able to manage any real emotion. Harsh, hunh? But here's this woman who's a shaman. She banishes ghosts and monsters and fae. And then she discovers that she's half-fae herself and her father was a great and evil fae king. She's the heir to his throne, and destined to fulfill a prophecy of giving birth to the next Storm King who will destroy the worlds.
Then there's Kiyo, her human/kitsune boyfriend. He's a total douche. Oh, he claims to love her, but he spends more time with his fae queen/mother of his daughter/Maiwenn than Eugenie. And he acts like she should be happy with that. You know what? If I found out a guy I was dating was hiding all that from me and then he expected me to just go along with it? Screw him. He'd be in my rearview mirror AFTER I told him what a loser he was. And then when she gets raped, he doesn't do anything?? Bullshit. Then THEN she discovers she's pregnant with his kids and he tries to kill her and still she deals with him. Soooo. Not. Happening! But through it all she's like 'oh Kiyo loves me, but Kiyo has responsibilities to Maiwenn, and I love Kiyo even if he didn't protect me and tried to kill me and oh dear how am I supposed to feel about all this? Someone tell me.' Um, Eugenie, grow some balls and punch the dickhead in the nose. Then Kick. Him. To. The. Curb!!!
Now, as to Roland, her stepfather. Again, she accepts that he wants nothing to do with her because she's discovered her true heritage and is pretty much forced to accept it. If he loved her, like he claims, wouldn't he stand by her and guide her through it all? Nope. And still, there she is - 'oh Roland doesn't love me anymore, but that's okay because I'm not worthy of love. Somebody tell me how I should feel about his betrayal.' And he seems to be angry with her for getting raped? What? I'd tell him to go F-k himself. What kind of father is that?
And where the hell is Eugenie's mother in all this?? Hunh? Well, we know where Eugenie got her inability to feel ANYTHING. That woman is as wishy washy useless as they come.
And then there's Dorian. Honestly, he's the only reason I kept reading this series. But here's Eugenie again - Dorian loves her. But oh dear, he's gentry (fae). She can't love a fae. Why not Eugenie? Because Roland told you that you couldn't? Cause I don't see any reason why you can't love him. He's good to you. He takes care of you. Oh, but he must want something because he's fae. Um, maybe he just wants you to love him back??!? If I was Dorian, I think I would have just run her through with a sword and be done with her. Jeez.
So, this book was annoying to me. I kept hoping Eugenie would DO something. That she would FEEL something. ANYTHING.
At the beginning, Eugenie is pregnant with a boy and girl. She knows there's something wrong in the fae world, but ignores their efforts to reach out to her for help because she doesn't want to deal with it. Then she gives birth prematurely in the human world and then just abandons her kids. I think I was supposed to feel emotion about that - but I felt nothing. Just like Eugenie. She's just like 'oh dear - I'll just leave my kids here with strangers (where the hell is her MOTHER?) and go off to save the world because everyone says I have to'. Hunh? Wait. Boo hoo? *in an apathetic emotionless tone*. So off she goes and saves her world (after ignoring it was in trouble because she was apathetic about that, too, until someone came along and told her she shouldn't be) with the help of Kiyo (Hello? The minute I saw him I would have cut his balls off and fed them to him! Does that make me bloodthirsty?) But when it's done, does she go back to her kids? No. She goes to her kingdoms and hangs out communing with the land. Didn't she say her sister could do that for short periods of time? Wouldn't she want to go check on her KIDS? Not Eugenie. She doesn't even think about going to see them. Oh, her excuse is that it wouldn't be safe. But hello? I just don't buy that. She didn't have an attachment to them from the start.
Eventually Eugenie does go to see her kids because she can't avoid it anymore, I think (that's not what she says, but I know the truth. She loves them about as much as she'd love a tomato). And she's all 'what do I do with them now'?
But wait. Then comes Pagiel and the discovery that (gasp - not) he's the Storm King prophecy. Did I see that one coming? Yup. From a mile away. It kind of pissed me off that everyone else missed it. So, blah blah, everything gets solved. Kiyo and Maiwenn take care of Pagiel. Kiyo tells Eugenie that he had a vasectomy and can't be their father. Eugenie realizes that Dorian is the father. Did I see that coming? YES. And it pissed me off - not because Kiyo wasn't the father, but because Eugenie was too stupid to figure it out. And there's Eugenie - she's all 'well, I guess that makes it sort of okay that Kiyo tried to kill them.' What?!?
Then..THEN...she decides to LEAVE the kids with the couple who's been caring for them because 'gee its safer because Kiyo still wants to kill them' and NOT tell Dorian that he's the father because he'd want to love and protect them too much?!? What?!? WHAT?!? Then she goes back to Dorian and lies to him and that's how the book ends. Its crap. And it pissed me off!
Here's how Eugenie's story should end in my mind. (A) Her mother suffers a stroke and dies - because she's a useless character anyway (B) Roland attempts to banish something too strong for him and dies - because he's an asshole (C) Maiwenn and Kiyo end up together and at their wedding ceremony an assassin from a neighboring kingdom shoots them with poison arrows (Maiwenn with iron, Kiyo with something that will kill an elephant) and they DIE - because they don't deserve to live (D) Dorian realizes the kids are his (maybe he's at the ceremony with Eugenie and with Kiyo's last breath he tells Dorian) and he DUMPS Eugenie, overruns her kingdoms in an all-out violent and bloody war, goes and retrieves HIS kids (E) Eugenie, realizing she's a useless excuse for a gentry, shaman and human being in general finally overcomes her complete apathy toward everything and banishes herself (F) Volusian is waiting for her and she becomes HIS pet in a world where she wishes she was still apathetic (G) Dorian raises HIS kids and they take over Eugenie's kingdoms (H) Eugenie's son goes on to marry Kiyo and Maiwenn's daughter (I) Dorian is the most powerful king in all the lands and he meets a beautiful queen from another kingdom who has some personality. HEA achieved.
There. I think that satisfies me. I'm done with my rant.
Seriously, it is me.