It's been three years since the Magnificent Bastard parade. Miranda has managed to have a career as a Grammy winning artist. Miranda have fought hard to have a balance but with the council of Primes being held at the Haven things are about to change. Hart an old enemy is determined to get his vengeance. If that were not enough forces that have been sleeping for centuries are about to awaken and with them comes a change that will rock the entire Shadow World.
Every time I pick up a book in this series, I brace myself for gratuitous rape, misogyny and homophobia. I'm happy to report that this is much lessened in Shadow's Fall but not completely absent. This time around Sylvan chose to largely focus on the politics of the world that she has created. With the Primes of all the nations meeting for the first time in ten years, Miranda is under scrutiny. For the first time we get to meet the other Queens and they really run the gamut.
Miranda has really changed since Queen of Shadows. She has no fear for her sanity, she isn't a traumatised victim and she has settled into her role as Queen. Miranda is no longer impetuous and has learned enough about the Shadow World to be able to negotiate it like the Queen that she is. At times, Miranda even guides David because she has learned to be patient and look at the larger picture. This is a growth I can get behind. Though Miranda has been forced to sever her relationship with Kit, she has learned to keep her own council and take comfort in her music.
Faith, David's second is determined to win the tournament to bring pride to their area but she is about to be tested in ways she never imagined. Faith has been in love with David for a very long time and as a result, she has stopped looking for love and happiness on her own. Her entire life is about serving her Prime. When she meets Hart's second, though she knows that it's not a good idea, she finds herself throwing caution to the wind and have sex with him. This irks David to no end though he knows he has no right to be jealous or even put a stop to Faith's little affair.
Faith's character has always bothered me to some degree. We know that like Miranda, she is a survivor of rape and that she is Japanese but beyond that we don't really know what motivates her beyond her fierce loyalty to David. Faith's ending in this book feels very much like a punishment for choosing to have sex with Jeremy Hayes, Hart's second and secretly the Prime of Australia. It's the first thing that we see Faith do for herself in three books and it comes back to haunt her in the worst way possible - she dies. With Faith's death, we have now lost the most prominent person of colour in this series. Thus far, we have yet to have a book in which a character of colour doesn't die. It feels like characters of colour at this point are all fodder and serve the machinations of the white characters.
In this novel, we have the return of Deven and Johnathon. Both Deven and David are concerned with seeing each other again after the events of Shadowflame. Deven and David are guilt ridden by the fact that they gave into their passion for each other. For Deven, it results in having sex more often with Johnathon and paying more attention to his consort and for David, it results in trying to keep as far away from Deven as possible lest he give into his love for him. David however claim that it's "demons" which bind him to Deven's which is problematic because it suggests that the love he feels for Deven is unnatural and no such assertion is mentioned about his bling love for Miranda.