Elements Of Discord: Book One
Review By: "Diane Donovan, Midwest Book Review."
Gilded Shadows is the first book in the romantic fantasy series 'Elements of Discord' and presents a world in which second-class citizens, the Mixed, are stigmatized because they can't have children. This class structure is threatened when Dela's research indicates that they can, even though only certain kinds of Mixed can reproduce. This discovery leads the governing Sunfolk church to send an assassin to quell her voice and studies.
There's only one problem—the assassin falls for his intended victim. And their evolving relationship not only exposes new truths about men, women, and forces that control their world, but new challenges to each, to rise up and change themselves, each other, and their society.
As Gilwin and Dela change, their different perceptions and the foundations of this evolutionary process are introduced to readers through their eyes: "Gilwin narrowed his eyes, studying the place. An entire town of Mixed Folk. He paused, considering for the first time how he felt about them. Once he sorted out his concern for Dela, he could admit he saw nothing at all wrong with them. They were born of circumstances beyond their control. No one can help the way they are born. He wondered, with all these recent problems, why more didn't alter their appearances. It wasn’t especially difficult, legal or not. Steep punishments for racial alteration were unreasonable, but the crime was difficult to determine."
How can an assassin evolve a race of peaceful people? Why was Gilwin's mission to rid the world of Dela doomed to fail, and was it an intentional suicide assignment?
As Gilwin and Dela learn more about how they and their world were (and are) being manipulated, readers become thoroughly engrossed in their dilemmas and growing determination to change things.
As hidden truths evolve about illicit children, a saboteur is unleashed who threatens to flood and destroy everything. Only Gilwin and Dela can stop him...if their love for one another and these newfound truths don't thwart their efforts.
Fast-paced, built with strong characters and an appealingly different world, Gilded Shadows is especially strong in its social and political inspections which, when paired with strong characters and their romantic connection, grow the story into a dark adventure that is engrossing and often satisfyingly unpredictable. It concludes with a legacy that sets the stage for the next book, while providing an appealing end to this segment of the action.