Jelena Preseren has finally found love and happiness with her new husband Ashinji Sakehera and his family, but her peaceful life is about to be turned upside down. Far to the south, the Soldaran Empire prepares for war against the elves and in the icy north, the arcane power of the Nameless One continues to grow... Set against a backdrop of impending war, shocking betrayals, and uneasy alliances, Griffin's Shadow is a story of courage and enduring love in the face of adversity.
New Meme, modeled after 'First World Problems', 'Mary Sue Problems'. Jelena - going from a half-breed kitchen maid nearly sold into sexual slavery by an uncle that despises you, to being rescued by the second son of an affluent and powerful [enemy] family, who then marries you. Only to find out that the father you've been searching for is really the Elven King, who readily accepts you. Her predominant thought? 'I hate wearing expensive clothing'. Mind you this all happens in less than a year.
That's the better part of the book. Followed by becoming pregnant, being told she is the Key to the Nameless One's resurrection/imprisonment, brief moment of worry for her beloved cousin Magnes, constantly telling other hikui (half breeds) how guilty she feels for having a better life then they do, railing against the injustice of it all...days before being crowned a Princess and her husband's 'death'.
I'll give Moore credit, she kind of ramped up the Big Bad presence in this novel, but it barely seemed to effect Jelena's little bubble of perfection. All the Big Bad did was torment his loyal minion (who wanted lots and lots of power) and speak about what he'd do when he was released. Everything 'bad' that occurs in this book is because of pettiness between family members and racial tensions! The only folk worried about the Nameless One's rising are the ones who are supposed to prevent it, but they're so busy hiding secrets from their spouses, each other, Jelena and the King that its a wonder anyone told anyone anything!
And don't get me started on Ashinji's death. Why Moore felt a need to push his and his despicable older brother's jealousy and hatred of each other so far is beyond me. Seriously, if half as much time was spent on the Big Bad being EVIL instead of inert, this book would have been a rip roaring adventure. Instead we have Ashinji/Saidaiyo's brotherly issues taking up the bulk of the tension, with some political unrest from Keizo (the King's) brother and then when Ashinji is sold into slavery, he becomes a gladiator.
Everything felt very contrived to keep the drama going. No less than three characters remark, at various points, that Jelena would have to die for various 'greater good' reasons. Or that they had to move up the time table--which is a joke. They say this when Jelena is maybe halfway done with being pregnant, and that they may have to kill her (as part of the ritual to keep the Nameless One imprisoned) before she gives birth...but its brought up ONCE and the ritual doesn't even take place for at least another half a year, likely more.
I honestly don't know why Moore bothered to include 'The Key' and the Nameless One in these books, they bare so little difference to the plot (other than to give an artificial sense of urgency) that I could (and did at times) skip the sections dealing with it and oh look we came right back to where we began.