As Shadows Fade Mass Market Paperback – Mar 3 2009
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About the Author
Colleen Gleason lives near Ann Arbor with her husband and children. She has an English degree and an MBA from the University of Michigan. Before writing full-time, she worked in the sales and marketing side of health care and insurance products. She has managed large sales forces, worked in start-up companies, and owned her own business. Colleen loves to hear from her readers, and can be contacted through her website.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The action opens about two weeks after the end of "When Twilight Burns". Victoria is finally clear about whom she loves and wants in her life. Unfortunately for her, she isn't sure she can persuade him to follow his heart and commit to a relationship with her. There is also the complication of a past lover who still wants her and isn't accepting her decision with grace. In addition to all that emotional angst, a new and powerful threat has emerged that threatens both humans and vampires.
Colleen Gleason has always managed to draw readers into this world of the Regency era vampire slayer and her numerous beaus with ease. Victoria isn't perfect as a character; in fact she has always made mistakes along the way. The beauty of this series is that there is a natural progression from "know it all" debutante to mature, strong woman in charge of herself and the other Venators.
***************SPOILER ALERT! (as suggested by another reader)******************
I could write a book about why I love Max, the smart, sexy, honorable and intense hero that would melt any girl's heart. I have always preferred the enigmatic Max to any other suitor. In fact, he was the only character that I consistently loved throughout the series. Initially, I wanted Victoria to end up with Max, because Max wanted Victoria, not necessarily because she was "worthy" of him. Boy was I wrong. Victoria is a perfect match for him. She understands, respects and loves the kind of man that he is, just as he respects and loves her.
And when the two lovers finally get together, it was worth the wait. The supposedly cold and clinical Max is anything but. That man couldn't walk in the frozen food section of the supermarket, because everything would melt.
Sebastian is there as well to stir up trouble and ultimately find his own destiny. I was surprised at the twists and turns involving his character, but it oddly worked. Don't worry, Team Sebastian. We will probably be seeing him again.
Although everything about this book was perfect, it is still bittersweet to know I won't be visiting these characters in new adventures again. However, I must commend Ms. Gleason for ending this series before it became too long.
As a long time lover of paranormal fiction, I have noticed that a few other paranormal series have be plowed to death just for the money. Highly anticipated novels become filler books, characters do not evolve and readers lose interest because we can tell when the writer's creativity has dried up and the money making machine has kicked in. That isn't the case here.
This book was filled with twists and turns that surprised and delighted me. I had a smile on my face long after I finished it. I recommend it wholeheartedly. I would suggest that if you are just beginning to read this series, start at the beginning. It makes the payoff that much sweeter.
If you've read book 4 of this series I'm sure you have an idea of how the Max/Victoria/Sebastian love triangle ends. I was definitely surprised when and how these two came together. My most favorite line in this book will always be, "I've changed my mind..." ;) If you love the romance aspect of this series you won't be disappointed in this final book.
I'm saddened the series has came to an end but all the books will remain on my keeper shelf to revisit again. I highly recommend reading these books--each one is a wild ride with more than a few twists and likable characters.
For those who have not read this series the reading order is:
1. The Rest Falls Away
2. Rises the Night
3. The Bleeding Dusk
4. When Twilight Burns
5. As Shadows Fade
Two years ago, I cracked open the pages of The Rest Falls Away completely unsure of what awaited me and whether or not I'd like it. I knew that I loved vampire books, but romance?! Never been there before. After reading the first few pages, I knew that I had nothing to fear. The reader is safe in Colleen Gleason's hands, though she makes no promises to keep your heart rate at a reasonable pace. I instantly fell in love with Colleen's wonderful characters, the amazing setting of her books, and the love story/horror story that she so expertly weaved. You'd never guess that it was her first book.
Five books and two years later, she closes the series with the biggest bang there is. This book is truly fantastic from cover to cover. Victoria has made her decision as to which person she wants to spend her life with, a life that will always be filled of thrills and danger. But there are others who would have it differently. Demons have awoken from a chasm in the earth and plague her well being and the well being of her companions. We've seen demons before in the Gardella Vampire Chronicles, but never in these amounts and with this type of hostility. There's only one way to rid the world of the demons and that is by paying another visit to our dear friend Lilith, queen of the vampires. Would we have it any other way?
I'm quite upset that the series is over and there are no more adventures with this amazing crew, but it ended in such a way that I'm satisfied as well. I can breathe easily (as soon as I catch my breath from this book) and know that somewhere out there, more amazing tales are yet to come from Colleen and more wonderful characters await the pages. Well done Mrs. Gleason, well done.
As Victoria struggles with her love life, she's made her decision between Max and Sebastian, but without the cooperation of the object of her affection, a Happily-Ever-After for the leader of the vampire hunting Venators does not look likely. Personal life aside there is more than enough to keep Victoria busy, Wayren is kidnapped by demons and the Venators will need the cooperation of the evil ruler of the vampires, Lilith, in order to close a portal to hell and save the world, and since we know Lilith and her obsession for Max, we know that her price will be high. To up the ante Max will again take the Venator trial, he has no choice but to attempt to regain his powers or die in the attempt. And this time Sebastian has a role to play too, and the confrontation will lead him to accept the 'deep taint' that will lead him to make the 'long promise' to fulfill his destiny -- it is amazing to see his final transformation from the the self-serving attractive rake to a man capable of such sacrifice.
I was actually surprised, but Gleason really does manage to bring her Gardella Chronicles to a close in a satisfactory way. Considering Victoria's calling and the ever present danger in her life, it was hard for me to imagine a happy ending for her. And with her having to choose between Max and Sebastian, I was finding myself feeling quite sorry for the loser, but his acceptance of Victoria's choice, and the promise that he will eventually get a chance at his own happiness, softens the blow. So I really enjoyed this last trip to the action packed world of Venators, vampires and regency trappings, and I am going to miss the mix of frippery and darkness and character growth that has made this such an enjoyable series. I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for what Gleason has in store for us next.
When readers share their passion for this series with others, the most common description utilized to describe the premise is Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Jane Austin. While this is an apt description, I cannot emphasize enough that this series is so much more. It is a coming of age story for our heroine, Victoria Gardella, and a steamy love triangle between Victoria, Max, and Sebastian, in which it takes 3 books to get to THE KISS and what a kiss it is. Well worth the wait. It is also a series full of adventure, challenges and tragedies that will surprise and move even most jaded readers.
Now enough expounding on the virtues of this series, I shall try to focus on AS SHADOWS FADE alone. For me, this final book did not disappoint. The story revolves around the fate of the world. A portal is opening between hell and earth. A portal that is letting demons into our world the likes of which Victoria and her fellow slayers have never battled before. To save the world it is beginning to look like vampires and slayers will need to join forces and call a truce, at least temporarily. However, Lillith, the vampire queen, never gives up anything for free. She wants her personal obsession, Max, back under her control. Will Victoria allow such a trade even if it could mean the end of the world if she does not agree to Lilllith's terms?
In the midst of this apocalyptic scenario the love triangle begins to unravel. Additionally, as the leader of the slayers by right of her bloodline, it is time Victoria perform her duty and perpetuate the bloodline by having a child. Max and Sebastian would be her primary and obvious choices for the role of sire to this special child, but who will she choose or will she choose? She has already ceased taking the special potion used by her predecesors for generations to prevent pregnancy so now would appear to be the time to make some sort of move whether it be convenient for the saving of the world or not.
Part or all of the premise I have described has been done before. I know I have personally read similar storylines but I have said it before and happily repeat myself now, Colleen Gleason has a true gift for creating superlative sexual tension. It is this gift that sets this series and this book apart. She has demonstrated this in the four previous books in the way she developed the triangle between Victoria, Sebastian, and Max then kept it fresh through to this final book. However, in this book she shows the depth of her gift and a mastery for perpetuating the excitement that lovers of romance novels continually seek. For many readers, myself included, after the hero and heroine become a couple, it is simply not as exciting as the events leading up to that first love scene. The love scenes are not as filled with energy as at the time of that first joining. Colleen takes it to the next level because I could not get enough of the love scenes between Victoria and the man she finally chooses. Colleen manages to keep the loving fresh each time and THAT dear readers takes exceptional talent from which you and I benefit.
Colleen's final Gardella chronicle answers many questions and delivers an ending that I believe will please most fans of this series (can't please everyone about anything). There is also some speculation that even though many "loose ends" are tied up there could be the opportunity for a spin-off series. Whether that will be the case or not remains to be seen but the potential is fun to anticipate.
Lovers of romance novels, paranormal or not, this is a series and a book not to be missed. Enjoy!