Prepare To Be Bloggled | 13 December 2012 | Jonny Naylor

I’ve always been a fan of Mr. Shan; I say fan, more like obsessive hoarder of his works. In fact, Lord Loss was the first book I ever bought for myself, so he is close to my heart. I also got to meet him in May of this year, so I suppose I am biased in some ways, but unbiased in others. For example, the last book I read written by him, I disliked. Birth of a Killer lacked the grit and brutality of his writing and was, dare I say it, boring.

 

However, I kept my faith in the Shanster- and by God was I right to. I have only read one of his books for adults, which was beyond excellent, so was excited to read another. That excitement just grew and grew whilst reading it. Lady of the Shades follows the story of American writer Ed Sieveking in London, a man tormented by spectres who thrive on his fear and anger. As the story progresses, we learn of his past and how he copes with it, surrounding himself with research and stories. His life then begins to spiral out of control when he falls for a woman with an air of mystery, becoming involved with gangsters, assassinations and conspiracy.

 

It wasn’t a slow-starter, especially seeing as we’re thrust into an assassination straight from the off, but, as Shan seems to do a lot, it slowed dramatically in the second chapter. From then on, the drama and pace of the book increased very slowly but surely, until by the final chapter you’re practically being knocked off your feet due to the amount of twists and turns. There comes a point when a book has too many twists and turns. Like a rollercoaster you want at least one straight to gather your bearings to prepare yourself to be thrashed about again not seconds later, but Lady of the Shades manages to fit it in lots of little twists that all build up to the one big, story-changing twist, a technique that I can only dream of replicating.

 

Lady of the Shades is farfetched yet believable, it is sad but uplifting, it is everything I hoped it would be. Each twist added something to story, whether it was drama, suspense or emotional impact – and combining these, you have just about the most incredible story.

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