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Monday, April 14, 2014

Torn from the Shadows by Yolanda Sfetsos

I sure do love Sierra Fox. Despite being hunted by the Obscurus and experiencing all sorts of crazy, life-changing events, she's still a sweetheart. A sweetheart who will kick your butt in a minute if she thinks you're doing wrong but a sweetheart nonetheless. Her tough exterior can't hide her squishy marshmallow insides, not when we see how much she cares for the people in her life. She'll face down evil with a letter opener if it means helping her loved ones, and it's a trait you have to admire, especially since she's not gifted with super strength or healing. Sierra is a  powerful spook catcher but she's as physically vulnerable as the rest of us, which gives her story a little extra oomph.

At the start of TORN FROM THE SHADOWS, things are pretty good for Sierra and company. Sierra and Papan are madly in love, Willow is settling in, Roe and the new spook trainers are getting into a routine, Ebony has come back to herself for the most part...but it wouldn't be a very exciting book for us if things stayed on such an even keel and death, phantasms, demons, and more come flooding out of the woodwork before you know it. There's a lot going on and it's all quite exciting. And it all advances the overall series plot even though the parts of the book may seem like disparate threads: Mace is back as a phantasm, another old "friend" is also causing trouble, Sierra has to train the newbie spook catchers, Willow takes in a stray dog, Ebony and Oren make cow eyes at each other, and Papan and Sierra are trying to find time to enjoy their relationship. And that's the first half of the book. Sfetsos does a great job of taking these storylines and building and building the novel to its exciting climax and I thoroughly enjoyed each page.

While juggling her familial responsibilities and her battle to stay ahead of the Obscurus, Sierra also discovers more about her grandmother and the extra abilities Pepita gave her. And this was really interesting to me. I love it when a series mythology blossoms and the Sierra Fox series gets really juicy in this respect in TORN FROM THE SHADOWS. Everything is really building to a head, which will hopefully come to an amazing conclusion when the fifth and final book in the series comes out.

Another plus about TORN FROM THE SHADOWS? We learn a lot more about Papan's background. For the first time, we get to see his family and learn a bit more about how werewolves operate in this world. Despite this, I don't think we got nearly enough page time with Papan this time around. When he's there, he's his usual fabulous self -- and he and Sierra spend a significant number of pages getting smexy -- but I didn't get nearly enough of his humour. And Papan's storyline ends in something of a cliffhanger so I'm quite curious to see what his fate will be as the series comes to a close. I won't spoil it for you but I will say that things are definitely up in the air for him, and consequently for his relationship with Sierra.

On a personal level, I really enjoyed getting into a book set in Sydney. Having been to Australia over Christmas to visit my brother, I was lucky enough to spend a couple weeks there and I can know safely say that Sfetsos does a great job of creating a sense of the city in TORN FROM THE SHADOWS  and all the other novels in the series. Admittedly, the series is set in a fictional suburb but I think I enjoyed TORN FROM THE SHADOWS just a teensy bit more from having been in Sydney recently.

I'm a huge fan of this series and I highly recommend that you urban fantasy lovers out there give Sfetsos' writing a chance if you haven't already dove into her work. The Sierra Fox series is outstanding.  You won't be sorry.

Read an excerpt (click on Excerpt tab)


Tynga is a 32 years old mom of two, from Montreal, working as a lab technician in an hospital specialized in heart disease. In her free time, she enjoys reading all things Paranormal and photography.

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