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Shadower

by Catherine Spangler

Series: Shielder (2)

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791252,677 (3.63)None
In this sequel to "Shielder", Sabin is a shadower, a bounty hunter, who has been in every hellhole in the galaxy. He was dangerous to a smuggler like Moriah, to her freedom. Yet he drew her as a moth to a flame. In his arms, Moriah realized that this bounty hunter was different -- and this led to a fantastic freedom she'd never known.… (more)

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Moriah gets involved in a brawl in a hive of scum and villainy. Sabin Travers, a bounty hunter, saves her bacon, but she is not pleased to get his help. However, since her ship offworld has flown the coop, so to speak, she stows away on Sabin's to get near where she wants. They are attracted to each other, but he doesn't want to think too deeply about relationships and she can't trust any man. She proceeds to steal his ship so she can make her critical-to-her-life smuggling delivery. Sabin finds her and his ship, though, and he shall have his revenge which he feels twisted up about because he wants her. Also have her memory tinkered with because she knows too much. Moriah is not wild about these ideas. Meanwhile, there are evil bounty hunters around to cause all kinds of trouble for them.

With what Moriah's been through, it makes sense that at first she is disgusted and freaked out by Sabin's attraction to her. It takes time and exposure to let her warm to him. He begins to understand he has something to prove to her and works on it. With all their personal problems, they are kind to each other when it counts. Even when he's angry and vengeful, Sabin does not treat Moriah poorly or hurt her intentionally, and he is decent to those she cares about. Despite her earlier antics, Moriah takes care of Sabin when he's most helpless. That helps convince me that the romance has a caring component in addition to physical attraction.

The world-building is consistent, as are the characters. The structure of the story is tight. It's mostly action and zooming around, and accordingly fast-paced. No loose ends or filler scenes. Elements fit together, and most of the characters are memorable. Moriah's associates are bold tough women who care for her and each other: Celie the live-in-the-clouds aspiring mechanic, Lionia the warrior who believes every problem is a nail to be hammered, the hammer being a carving up of people, and Janaye the older lady who reads auras and gets mystical premonitions. The ship mechanic who joins them is hilarious in his pursuit of Lionia.

Moriah is a difficult woman to like. Her pride makes her seem ungrateful and uncivilized. We get an idea of her demons early on, but not why the smuggling is so important to her until later. Until then, she seems ruthless and arbitrarily acerbic. She is smart, strong, and self-sufficient, though, and that's why Sabin stays interested instead of saying 'forget this I am so outta here.' It takes a while to understand all that, though, so I read with a bit of dread as to what she'd do next for a while. The first seduction scene left me unsettled, as ulterior-motive sex makes me squirm.

The major villains are just awful people. I like some more human qualities in the villains I read about so I don't find them cartoonish. Moriah and Sabin are morally conflicted, which keeps me reading, but the baddies are just evil-in-a-spaceship.

I was curious how to see Shadower would stand on its own, so I read it before Shielder. Since it takes place before the first book, I didn't miss any important background events. ( )
  psychotropek | Sep 14, 2015 |
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In this sequel to "Shielder", Sabin is a shadower, a bounty hunter, who has been in every hellhole in the galaxy. He was dangerous to a smuggler like Moriah, to her freedom. Yet he drew her as a moth to a flame. In his arms, Moriah realized that this bounty hunter was different -- and this led to a fantastic freedom she'd never known.

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