Review: What Hunts Inside the Shadows by Harper L. Woods
Book two picks up right after What Lies beyond the Veil ends. This is a long novel with twists and turns. This cannot be read as a standalone. There are events within this book that require the first book for a better experience. There is a lot to unpack in this book and I'm riveted from start to finish. I worried about how it would all be wrapped up in this lengthy book. About halfway through, I couldn't fathom how we would see an ending. Good news readers! There will be at least another book after this one. YAY!
Estrella's soulmate is now fully revealed in this book. Is anyone surprised? I'm not surprised. The fact that Estrella is surprised only goes to show how she willfully closed her eyes to all clues. I ended up rating this book a 4 star even though I started to really dislike Estrella. She turned into a petulant whining female that needed a good spanking. Her butt-hurt responses to Caelum drove me crazy. Her denials and selfishness only go to show how worthless humans are to the fae. Honestly, I feel bad for her soulmate. He deserves someone better.
We learn more about the Caldris, the god of the dead. The more I learn about this fabled god, the worse I feel for him. The fae in this story are dark for a reason. I like how Ms. Woods keeps to how dangerous fae are and specifically how they speak in half-truths. I also liked learning more about the veil and its purpose. This is not all black and white. For humans to be so definitive in their outrage and beliefs, embarrasses me. Given a choice, I think I would rather be fae too, because there are few humans here that are worthy of even a second look.
Estrella's journey to her soulmate also unearths some hidden facts about her birth as well as her family. These feel like they come out of left field, but readers who paid close attention to the clues dropped by Ms. Woods will see that this is a nicely woven thread of complexity into this story. I like it. I was hoping that through this journey, Estrella would have some character growth and progression. To my disappointment, she seems to regress. What does grow, is her magic and powers. They are interesting and I kind of what to say she does not deserve it. She is not worthy. We shall see if, in the next book, she grows up and matures.
For those who think this is just a pure fantasy with sex, let me disabuse you of that thought right now. There is constant sexual tension between Estrella and Caelum. Estrella pulls the usual female snit of withholding sex because she is "pissed". Can I say how much I loathe Estrella at this point? The two finally get it on when Estrella's horniness exceeds her ability to be an adult to work things out. Sex between these two is angry, primal, and basically a fuck fest. There is zero intimacy. Well, Caelum wants a deeper connection. Estrella just wants her itch scratched.
This erotic fantasy is recommended to paranormal readers who enjoy dark themes with alpha males and irrational females.
* I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of this book.