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Tuesday, May 27, 2008:
"Through the Veil" by Shiloh Walker - review

Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Berkley (June 3, 2008)
ISBN-10: 0425222470
ISBN-13: 978-0425222478

Found wandering in a field as a child, Lee Ross was given a name by the state and placed in a foster home--without anyone realizing that she wasn't entirely human. All her life, she's tried to dismiss the odd dreams that have plagued her, dreams of monsters creeping through the night and a man fighting demons by her side. But the bruises she wakes up with are all too real to ignore. . .

Then the man from her dreams appears--in the flesh. His name is Kalen, and he insists that her destiny lies in his world, the world of her dreams. To save their people, he mist convince Lee to give up everything she knows, follow her heart, and cross over into the Under Realm--even though once she does, she'll never be able to return.

I was lucky enough to get an ebook ARC of this story from Shiloh, and I was beyond thrilled. See, there's just something about the way Shi writes that pulls me under, seriously makes me wish I could write a story that captures the reader like she does. I am a huge fan of her Hunter series, as well as many of her other books, and I'm pleased to say that this one ranks right up there at the top.
God, just the first chapter of this story made my heart ache so strongly for the characters. You forget that Kalen and Lee aren't real people and you believe in them so completely.
Lee keeps dreaming about a man with fierce features, piercing gray eyes and hair and dark as the blackest night who beckons to her, and when she wakes in the morning, the pain and the bruises confuse and scare her, so much she thinks she going crazy. But despite the fear, something inside her recognizes him, this man who haunts her dreams and lives on the pages of the sketchbooks she keeps.
Kalen has known Lee forever, and he also knows in his gut she belongs with him, but she only comes out at night, and only when the fighting gets really bad and she's desperately needed. He's frustrated, angry, wondering why she disappears for days, weeks at a time, never staying and joining his people. Kalen feels the emptiness only she can fill, but she refuses to stay. One night he cuts her, regretting the impulse to hurt her but desperately wanting to break through and make her understand she's needed. Kalen's always known it, he just has to make her see that.
He's also resigned to the fact that his world is dying, and that he and his people won't be around for much longer, not when the Gates keep opening and sending strong and merciless enemies to kill them all, and feed off their fear. His only hope may be a slight but fierce female who calls to his heart and gives him the smallest hope...

As terrified of the dreams as Lee is, she knows the cut on her arm is real, and she knows she can't ignore it any longer. This time when she goes to Kalen, it is while it's daylight, and she knows exactly what she's doing. She also knows there's no going back, especially when she discovers a horrible secret about herself. And when she's with Kalen, the man she loves, she will do anything in her power to protect him, even if it means sacrificing herself....

My thoughts:

For me, Shiloh Walker has always had a very distinctive, unique voice, and she knows how to paint a landscape so vividly that you can smell the acrid smoke, feel the velvety leaves, taste the vile healing brew and gag on its bitterness. In "Through the Veil", I felt the hopelessness of Kalen and his people, felt the shadow of death lurking, waiting to claim them all in a brutal war. Even when you know that all will end on a hopeful note, you're brought to the brink of sadness and devastation, praying for a miracle, scared that help won't come in time. You're reminded that good people die, sometimes horribly, and sometimes that miracle just isn't enough.

Lee is a fighter, but she's afraid of what's inside herself. She's honest, loving, and protective of the people she cares about, but doesn't understand what her purpose is. Kalen is a warrior through and through, and has no qualms about a woman being in charge, letting him do what he does best. He loves Lee, the young girl who has saved him from death many times over the years, and now the gutsy woman who puts herself in danger to protect him and his people, now her people.

I loved Lee's grumpiness, her craving for coffee and her attraction to Kalen. She was brave but afraid, and time and again wanted to turn her back on the war, but she didn't. That's what made her such a fine heroine. She didn't take the easy way out, no matter how tempted, and every thought and action was about saving someone else instead of herself.

Kalen was a confident leader, a caring man who fought for what he believed in, but he was tired. Lee took away his exhaustion, gave him something real to live and fight for, and while he could be demanding and stubborn, he valued Lee's opinion and her strength, admired her power and her role in their survival. Together they made a strong and vital unit.

Another winner, as far as I'm concerned. Sensual, heart-breaking, gritty, "Through the Veil" is an absorbing story that kept me glued to the screen reading, anxious to find out what happens, and since I got this in ebook format, that's saying something (still don't care for them as much as a "real" book). It's always hard to put a good book down, especially when the characters stay with you and you can't help but wonder what ends up happening to them. I'd gladly re-visit this world again. Shiloh packs a walloping, emotional punch.

Rating: ****1/2 out of *****

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  1. Oh this sounds sooooo good! Great review Stacy.

    This isn't apart of a series is it?

  2. Stacy, thanks for the review.


    Leeann, as of now, it's not part of a series. It could easily become one, but as of now, it's the only book set in that world.

  3. Sounds very intriguing! I've come to really enjoy this kind of story so I'll have to keep my eye out for it when it comes out!

  4. This sounds good. I've never tried this author but where do you start?

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