Ariana Nash’s Shadows of London series comes to a close with Without A Trace. It’s a finale story that’s got the complexity and character surprises we’ve come to expect from this author and series but it’s also has some of the flaws that have kept it from fulfilling the promise it’s showed from the very beginning.
First the elements that made Without A Trace a moving, complex story. At the close of Truth or Dare #4, Alexander Kempthorne and Dom have been “presumed dead” and are now happily living new lives together under new identities.
They are powerful with their matching “tricks”, yet Alexander is determined not to tell Dom the complete truth about their shared past history. That lack of communication and transparency has haunted their relationship and will shatter their current one.
The rigid character personalities that Nash has built for both Alex and Dom are the best aspects of this story. Each man with his rich, tortured past, has their reasons for a lack of clarity and trust while still being deeply, painfully in love with each other. They have depth.
The magic, the latents, the horrors lurking under London. All extremely well done. The torture and bigotry that’s shown towards latency. Believable.
But for all the terrific descriptions, horrifying scenes, and chilling dialogues, there’s the whole frustrating , frankly unrealistic Kage Mitchell element to factor in as well as a couple of villains so blatant that they might as well as worn a sign.
But it’s the Kage Mitchell element that’s the most bothersome. He of the “let me commit many betrayals, atrocities, actually kidnappings and murder attempts “ and is then let walk away time and again because “awww, soft spot”. He’s really only there for one reason. To make a certain reappearance at the end and then boom. If you list everything about this character and his actions and story appearance, it’s complete nonsense. Kage Mitchell is a narrative tool and not an especially good one. More an annoying, one note replaceable one.
Given what Dom’s background is and then how Kage’s actions impact Dom, Alex and the other, it’s not only unbelievable but frankly a storyline that disconnects one from the events happening because it’s so implausible.
Kage is that ill conceived narrative subject that just kept popping up and stomping over all the lovely complex proceedings. Right to up to his laughable unreal last words at the end.
Still , it’s a good fantasy series. With many exciting things and aspects to it, including a strong couple at its heart.
For that I’m recommending it.
Series reading order:
Twisted Pretty Things
Tide of Tricks
Trial by Fire
Truth or Dare
Without a Trace
Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com › showWithout a Trace (Shadows of London #5) by Ariana Nash
Alexander Kempthorne has one more secret to tell, but it could cost him everything. Including Dom.
The windswept Scottish Highlands.
Everything has changed.
With new names and new lives, Dom and Kempthorne should be living their happy ending, but it’s not over yet.
Kage Mitchell knows they’re alive and he’s discovered the single most devastating secret Kempthorne has yet to tell Dom.
There is no other option. Kage Mitchell must die.
But he’s the least of Kempthorne’s concerns. With their identities revealed, and a war brewing between latents and normals, the shadows are on the rise once again, and an old threat awakens beneath London. A threat that could change latents, and the world, forever.
Kempthorne has spent his whole life running from his past. But now, the past is back, and alone, Kempthorne’s not strong enough to win this fight. When the terrible truth is revealed, will Dom forgive him enough to fight with him?
The Shadows of London series comes to its climatic finale in Without a Trace.
Please note, the Shadows of London series is set in London and the characters are all British (so is the author). Although the series has been edited in US English for the US market, to include US spelling and grammar, many English slang words and spelling remain as part of the character of the work.