08 December 2009

Thoughts on As Shadows Fade

Caveat: I don't mean any disrespect to either the author or her work, so I apologise in advance if I cause offence - it is not my intention to do so.

Note: There are spoilers aplenty in this post. Also, I'm not sure how well I have articulated exactly what I'm feeling, but I've given it a good shot *grin*

Last month I wrote a post entitled Alternate Endings as I had just picked up As Shadows Fade, the fifth and final book in Colleen Gleason's Gardella Vampire Chronicles, from my local library. I finished reading the book at the end of last month and I've been thinking about it ever since. Remember how I said there was a love triangle, and that I had a fair idea who the heroine (Victoria) would choose, and that Victoria's choice for Victoria was the opposite of orannia's choice for Victoria? Well I was right (unfortunately). On the plus side, the romance between Victoria and her choice of hero (Max) worked for me. I didn't think it would, but it did. I believed it, believed in them. The rather large elephant of an issue I have with the book is what happened to the alternate hero (Sebastian).
As the book progresses and Sebastian accepts that Victoria has not chosen him, he starts dreaming of his previous beloved Giulia (Max's sister), who was introduced to vampires (by Max) and subsequently turned. Sebastian was the one who staked her (I hope that makes sense).
Was it just because he'd lost Victoria that Giulia had come back to haunt him? Had his relationship - such as it had was - been simply a distraction from Giulia and her memory?
Excuse me? Sebastian considers his relationship with Victoria a distraction?

Sebastian then discovers an ancient prophecy foretelling the coming of a saviour who carries the deepest taint. So, in an effort to save Giulia and others from eternal damnation (because they drank human blood), Sebastian rescues Max from the clutches of the evil vampire queen and allows himself to be turned into a vampire.
For Giulia. For her soul. He would save her soul, and keep his own clean. And then, someday, they would be together...when his long promise was fulfilled.
I'm sorry, be together? But...what about Sebastian's feelings for Victoria?
Breathing hard, he looked at her (Victoria): the face he would never forget, the woman he loved, the eyes, sharp but pleading.
So, you do love her (Victoria)?

I'm not a huge fan of love triangles (but then I can't imagine one hero falling in love with me let alone two [although a gal can dream *grin*]) but...I trusted the author to do right by it. Unfortunately, I feel that Sebastian was cheated. And what's worse is that Max was the person who introduced Giulia to the vampire that turned her (although I will stipulate that he was ignorant of the exact consequences of his introduction) and yet Max ends up playing happy families with Victoria and Sebastian spends the rest of his life as a vampire... Does that seem in any way fair to you because it doesn't to me.

And what's more, where was Sebastian's anguish and heartache over losing Victoria? We are never shown it. It's almost like we are meant to believe that Sebastian didn't really love Victoria. Except...the author sold me on that in the first four books, and not having a resolution, any resolution, cheapens those feelings. And to make him a vampire?

I'm sure the author has her reasons and I'm missing them by such a gap you could drive a supertanker through, so if someone can explain them to me I'd be very grateful as I just don't understand...

Edited to add: I realized after posting that this post was rather anti-social unless one had actually read the book. So, in the general scheme of love triangles, what are your thoughts on how the author should handle the alternate hero's ending?


  1. It has been awhile since I read this one so my details are too fuzzy to convince you otherwise..LOL. I adored Max, I mean, I am 100% TEAM MAX!! :) But, I do remember feeling a bit like Sebastian's ending was a cop-out. Here is this huge revelation, and then the book ends. I actually asked her about this when I met her at RWA...and she said one day she might go back and write the rest of Seb's story.
    So I guess for me, I didn't get the feeling Seb got cheated out of his feelings, because I never thought they ran super deep for Victoria, but I think as readers we got cheated out of his story being ended properly.

  2. I think Sebastian did love Vicki in his own way but knew deep down they wouldn't be together, so he made sure he didn't fall too hard for her.

    Colleen said perhaps in the future Seb would get his own story and find the woman of her heart.

  3. I haven't read this book, but this is why I stay away from love triangle stories! :)

  4. Mandi/KB - thank you. And you raise a very good point. He did...hold parts of himself back from Victoria. And perhaps because I was Team Sebastian from the very first page (or close enough :) I was more invested and thus wanted/expected some closure on his feelings. Hmmm, lots to think about - thank you both! Although I do agree that it would have been good to have some closure on his story.

    Katie - it is a very good series. I just always seem to back the wrong hero :) For example, after reading Twilight I promptly joined Team Jacob and I know that he doesn't end up with Bella.

  5. I read the first book in this series. That's about it. But in general, I hate it in love triangles where party A and B get together, and it turns out party C never really loved party A. Like what the heck? Why were we being put through all that emotional angst then?

    And I'm sure you'll find your own hero some day, Orannia! :)

  6. I said over on Nalini's blog how much I appreciated that the end for Sebastian drove you crazy. I was 100% a Max girl, but I liked Sebastian too. I felt like she got confused and wasn't sure what to do with Sebastian and then threw Giulia into the story as a random afterthought. This book pissed me off so much that I didn't review it because I knew I couldn't be nice about it. So...you're not alone. :)

  7. Thank you heidenkind! That's exactly what I was trying to ask, I just went around and around it. And while I do think Mandi & KB raised a good point that Sebastian did hold back from Victoria, I was on the ride, crossing my fingers for Sebastian and then...nothing :( And thank you :) I hope so too!

    Hey Bridget :) You did? Thank you! And yes, it did feel like Giulia came out of left field...

  8. I think it's always disappointing when a love triangle ends up going against what you're hoping for. I know w/SJ Day's "Marked" series, I'm going to be BITTER if the heroine ends up w/the other guy.

    In the case of ASF, I was just so darn happy it was Max, I didn't focus too much on Sebastian, although I do remember the book ending and thinking, "Not sure the Sebastian fans are going to be happy w/this." But as Colleen has said, Sebastian was never going to win Victoria, but she's also said that it might be possible for him to get his own book sooner or later.

    Sorry this one didn't work better for you, Orannia. It's disappointing when you've stuck w/a series and then it ends in a way that leaves an icky taste in your mouth.

  9. See I read the first book and didn't feel the need to read any further. I didn't particularly care for Max or Sebastian and I liked the hubby that they killed off. What's a girl to do after that? lol

  10. Kati - I agree, although at least with Twilight I am prepared (LOL!) for it not to be Jacob. I've only read the first SJ Day book, but I'm already liking Able over Cain...not quite sure why...that's probably Able's death knell then as I always pick the wrong hero :)

    Interestingly, I found (unlike in the previous books) that, in ASF, Victoria & Max worked as a couple for me. I didn't think they would, but they did. Oh, I didn't realise that Colleen had said Sebastian wasn't going to end up with Victoria...I kept secretly hoping, even after the fourth book, that things would change. And thank you. I guess overall it worked in some places and it didn't in others. And while I know Victoria could only pick one...I guess I just wanted to experience Sebastian's loss...

    Tracy - LOL! Yes, I quite liked the husband too. It made me realise though that no one was safe!

  11. I'm pretty open to all kinds of stuff... but I really don't like love triangles. One of the reasons I stopped reading the Stephanie Plum series was because of that. Especially as it wasn't being resolved fast enough for me.

    I like romances where it's the 2 protagonist working out whatever they need to work out. Not where someone is caught between 2 others... it's annoying to me. I'll pretty much read anything, but these I'll put down sooner than not. (Time travel is another peeve, but that's another post ;) )

  12. Oh, I didn't realise that Colleen had said Sebastian wasn't going to end up with Victoria

    Oh no, sorry to give you that impression. What Colleen said was that she knew before she started writing the series who Victoria would end up with and that she never wavered from it. We didn't know who Vic would end up w/until the end of book 4. But the end of Book 4 was kind of the death knell for Team Sebastian-shippers.

    It makes me laugh that you're Able over Cain, because OF COURSE, I'm Cain over Able. But then, you know my love of the bad boy! :wink:

  13. Mariana - Hmmm. I'm had the Stephanie Plum series recommended to me. There are quite a few books, aren't there? And the love triangle is till active? *gulp* I too like the two protagonists working things out. And I'm so with you on time travel!

    Kati - thank you for explaining. It is good that Colleen knew at the beginning who Victoria ended up with. Yeah, I was gutted when I finished the fourth book.

    It makes me laugh that you're Able over Cain, because OF COURSE, I'm Cain over Able.

    ROFLOL! I've so sounded the death knell for Able! Ahhh, the bad boy *grin* I need to read the second book ASAP!