As Shadow's Fade is the final book in Colleen Gleason's outstanding Gardella Vampire Chronicles. This Victorian Paranormal series has great action, suspense, drama and romance. The hardest part for an author must be writing the final book in a series they have invested so much work and emotion into. The same goes for the reader.
The hardest part about writing a review for As Shadows Fade is the big spoiler in the book of who does Victoria ends up with? Is it that seductive yet naughty Sebastian Voget who showed Victoria such incredible passion or is it Maximilian Pesaro, Victoria's fellow Venator who pushes her away even though he longs to hold her in his embrace? In As Shadows Fade, Victoria does end up with one of them. That is one of the joys in reading this latest from Colleen. After all the heartache and loss Victoria has gone through, Colleen has allowed Victoria to have some fun. She had a small taste of joy from her husband, who she had to kill in the first book, The Rest Falls Away, because he became a vampire. Now that Victoria is a little bit wiser and more mature, she is no longer a girl experiencing love for the first time. She is a woman who wants passion and everything that comes with it. She wants a man she can love with her whole heart and soul and who will love her in return.
When Victoria and her man of choice decide to be with each other, it is a great thing. Victoria is one happy lady throughout As Shadows Fade. This is the most sexual of all the books in this series. After all the hard work Victoria has done, she is given her reward, so to speak. Yup, Victoria has a great deal of sex. She has tender lovemaking, fast passionate nookie, and one such scene at an inn where the walls shake. He lover is one feisty and lusty fellow.
I have to say that the love triangle between Sebastian, Victoria and Max is so well written. Colleen wrote it in such a way that whichever man Victoria chose, it would have worked. By the end of When Twilight Burns, it is pretty much a given who Victoria wants to spend her life with. Sebastian is the man who her body responds to, while Max is the man of her heart.
Even though the romance is an important part in As Shadows Fade, the other is defeating the evil vampire queen Lillith who has been a thorn in both Victoria and Max's side. Lillith is to blame for Max's angst, which made me give him the nickname Broody Max. In the past, Victoria had to work hard to defeat her enemy. Now in As Shadows Fade it is Max who must overcome those obstacles in order to save his life. He is nothing unless he is a Venator, just as Victoria is. Max is given the ultimate test where if he doesn't succeed he will perish. Not only are there vampires to deal with, but demons that also have their own reasons for destroying Lillith and her followers. Will Victoria work with one evil side to defeat the other?
As Shadows Fade is a most excellent book. I felt As Shadows Fade was a great Historical Urban Fantasy if there can be such a thing. Again, when it comes to Urban Fantasy, it all comes down to the strong heroine. Victoria is definitely this. She has become a leader and the ultimate fighter who even though has backup, doesn't necessarily need it.
Colleen made sure to end everything perfectly and that elusive HEA has become a reality for Victoria. Colleen gives Victoria everything she has ever wanted, as well as her readers.