Tag Archives: Elysia

Gay, Kelly: Shadows Before the Sun (Charlie Madigan) (2012)

Cover art by Christian McGrath

Shadows Before the Sun is the 4th installment of the Charlie Madigan series. Whether it is the final one remains to be seen but it did represent an ending to me.

Charlie needs to go to Elysia to find Hank. She did promise him that at the end of The Hour of Dust and Ashes. Their friendship is too important to leave anything to chance and the words of ambassadors. Right now Hank needs a friend who is willing to break the rules to get to him. Charlie and Allessandra, the Oracle, end up as travelling companions. They both consider the other a severe test of patience.

The world of Elysia turns out to be as bad as the Earth Charlie is from. There is plenty of political maneuvering, power-plays and mayhem. But there is also help from unexpected quarters.

Charlie’s character has grown during her trip through these four novels. With her growth has come a better understanding of other people and perhaps even an ability to see them as individuals and not just part of some great mass that she has to keep safe.

We get action with plenty of fighting and some sex. I guess both could be considered somewhat adult in content.

My journey with the Charlie Madigan series has been a pleasant one. Shadows Before the Sun is easy to read, difficult to put down and fits the other three novels well.


Announcement from Kelly Gay: “8/1/12 — There’s been some talk about SHADOWS BEFORE THE SUN being the final book in the series. Guys, nothing like this has been decided or announced. Official news will come straight from me. I’m usually contracted 2 books at a time. Shadows completed my second two-book contract. This does not mean I’m done writing the series or that I won’t go back to contract.”


My reviews on books 1 (The Better Part of Darkness), 2 (The Darkest Edge of Dawn), 3 (The Hour of Dust and Ashes), and 4 (Shadows Before the Sun)

Gay, Kelly: The Hour of Dust and Ashes (Charlie Madigan) (2011)

Cover art by Christian McGrath

Does Kelly Gay keep up her good work in The Hour of Dust and Ashes? Yes, she most definitely does. She has that rare ability of being able to keep her writing tight, very tight. That and her spelling and grammar helps the reader keep from being distracted. Add to that a pretty good plot, fun characters and talent and you have the flow.

Charlie Madigan is an interesting character. She is a believable woman in a fantastic yet believable world. Yes, this is all science fiction and fantasy, but the plot is about recognisable problems and her characters are flawed and gifted like the rest of us. Fanatics are fanatics and greed is greed.

Charlie suffers from a save-the-world-all-on-her-own syndrome. That makes it easy for her to take the blame for her sister’s ash addiction. It is true that Bryn got addicted to ash while helping Charlie out, but Charlie tends to forget that Bryn has her own will and this is creating trouble between the sisters.

When ash addicts begin taking their own lives, Charlie becomes desperate to make certain Bryn stays alive. Thus far the hunt for a cure has led nowhere. When Charlie goes to the oracle, Allessandra for help, she is told that she will need sylphs. On to Charbydon she must go and Hank and Rex get to go along with her.

Rex (the ex-jinn now revenant), Brimstone (the hellhound) and Hank (the Adonai) make themselves better known to us. We also get to see Charbydon at its best and worst. No wonder the people there think of Earth as a vacation spot.

We get tons of action and some of the fighting is explicit. If you don’t like that, consider yourself warned.

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My reviews on books 1 (The Better Part of Darkness), 2 (The Darkest Edge of Dawn), 3 (The Hour of Dust and Ashes), and 4 (Shadows Before the Sun)

Gay, Kelly: The Darkest Edge of Dawn (Charlie Madigan) (2010)

Cover art by Christian McGrath

Christian McGrath’s portrayal of Charlie Madigan is gritty and strong complementing the writing of Kelly Gay. Gay’s writing continues to engage me as a reader. She maintains the balance between too much and too little keeping her novel tight and well-written.

The Darkest Edge of Dawn begins where The Better Part of Darkness left off. Atlanta became more in tune with the Charbydons living there. Charlie feels responsible for the “accidental darkening” and in a sense that is true. So, being the kind of person she is, Charlie sets a goal of saving Atlanta.

 As we all know, the world is full of nutters. Being from Charbydon or Elysia makes no difference. Crazy people are found among all races. Sadly, some of the crazies go serial. In The Darkest Edge of Dawn Charlie and Hank investigate a warehouse where a dead body was found. Both find the place creepy and for good reason. In this lovely warehouse a pile of dead bodies and a pregnant hellhound is discovered. Something is off about the mound of bodies.

That was the second problem Charlie feels the need to save the world from. On a more personal level, the changes in her DNA are worrisome. What is she turning into and how is she supposed to control the powers she seems to have gained?

Trying to deceive your own daughter works like a charm unless she is psychic. And guess what, Emma is psychic. When Will died and his body was taken over by Rex, Charlie decided that they had to wait until Emma was ready before she could be told. Talk about messed up life. But Charlie also has the pleasure of having a hellhound living at her home, a hellhound that Emma has a mysterious link to.

That’s not all that is going on in Charlie’s life. Her sister Bryn was affected by the drug Ash while trying to help Charlie. Now she has to take regular doses of the drug in order to stay alive.

Charlie’s partner, Hank, still has his voice modifier fused to his neck – joy of joy – hindering his ability to be a proper Elysian.

One of the things Charlie has trouble with is accepting help from others. She is going to need help in The Darkest Edge of Dawn just as she did in The Better Part of Darkness. I get that. Asking for help is difficult even when it is obvious assistance is needed. Just because you are adult age, does not necessarily mean that you are able to act maturely. I guess that is part of the reason why I like Charlie so much. She is vulnerable and strong, prejudiced and willing to look beyond those prejudices.

I think Charlie Madigan could a be a good role model for young women out there.



My reviews on books 1 (The Better Part of Darkness), 2 (The Darkest Edge of Dawn), 3 (The Hour of Dust and Ashes), and 4 (Shadows Before the Sun)