Pros: Strong characters, fascinating world-building, intricate plot
Cons: If there were any, I was too wrapped up to notice them!
Rating: 5 out of 5
I love the current trend to blend genres. I can’t help it; when I was writing fiction, that was how I loved to write, without fitting a given story into a box labeled ‘horror’, ‘fantasy’, or ‘SF’. Shiloh Walker’s Through the Veil spans so many genres: romance, erotica, fantasy, science fiction, horror, paranormal. What makes it so good is the fact that it’s a story first and any genre considerations are simply a part of making that story what it needs to be. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Lee is a professional artist. She’s an orphan, raised by the system after she was found wandering alone in a field as a child, but she’s made a good life for herself. Despite that, however, she’s plagued by nightmares. She wakes up in the morning with injuries—a black eye, a sprained ankle, broken bones—all of which heal unusually quickly. She’s haunted by faces, one of which is a man with the face of an angel who rails away at her for leaving him. He insists that her place is with him, in his world, fighting against the demons and Warlords from other realms that invade their home. Without her, the resistance is doomed. How can she find her way to him, and would she want to if she could? Is he real, or is she going insane? And even if she could join him, what could she do to save his world that everyone else can’t?
Open letter to Ms. Shiloh Walker:
Dang, woman! I got so caught up in this book that I think I ignored my husband for an evening while reading it. I became so mired in your vivid worlds that after finishing the book, I couldn’t talk about anything else for hours. I had to pick up a non-fiction book to read next because I couldn’t slip into another fictional realm just yet. I went to Amazon and started adding your insanely prolific back-catalog to my wishlist, hinting to my husband that our anniversary is coming up next month. I found myself desperately wishing this to be a part of a trilogy that I had in my hands, with more books that I could move straight on to, even though I normally shun series because I hate having to wait between books. You hearing me, there? Go write more in this universe! That’s… well, that’s me begging, really.
Your characters are strong and vivid, easy to love, hate, and enjoy. They’re complex, such that even the best ones have their flaws and the worst ones their redeeming notes. Your world-building is fascinating and intricate, providing a stunning, immersive, and difficult-to-detach-from experience. Your plotting is complex and wonderful—you don’t fall back on allowing the romance to be the plot, which tends to result in a story that doesn’t have enough conflict or surprises, and to my mind is the most common mistake that some romance authors make. But not you—you obviously know better.
The only thing that even mildly bugged me was the length of time it took for the heroine to come to terms with what was going on with her, but to be honest, that’s such an individual judgment (and it was so borderline, and done so well) that I can’t even legitimately call that a negative.
So I’m going to stop here, and urge you to please, PLEASE, go write more (heh, as if your already-published books weren’t enough to keep me busy on top of my pile of review books). After all, I’ll have a birthday later this year that I’ll need to drop hints for, too…
(Standard notes: explicit non-kinky sex; adult situations; mild blood & gore)