The Thirteenth Shard



Title : The Thirteenth Shard

Author : J.L. O’Faolain

Series: Section Thirteen, Book 4


Publisher : Dreamspinner Press (BUY HERE)

Genre : M/M, Fantasy

Length : 230 pages (e-book)

Published : June 5, 2013



Sequel to The Thirteenth Sigil 
A Section Thirteen Story 

When a powerful witch is murdered by mundane means—with the killer leaving behind clues reminiscent of an old mortal folktale—the NYPD calls in Tuulois MacColewyn and the rest of Section Thirteen. 

It’s been a while since Cole and his onetime partner, Corhagen, have worked together on a murder case, and sparks still linger between them despite Cole’s budding relationship with Inspector Joss Vallimun. As they struggle to put their past behind them and discover what happened to the witch, they unearth clues to similar murders. Murders that remind them of an old adversary in a case still unsolved. 

When further evidence leads Cole and Corhagen to the shattered fragments of a mythical sword, it points to a cryptic clue about a prophecy involving a king. The revelation leaves Cole reeling and sets him up to make what could be the biggest mistake of his life….


This review will contain spoilers.  As the book is part of an ongoing series, the spoilers will affect previous books.

Cole takes Joss to a fey bar on a date.  The tone of the evening, and a good portion of the book, is set when Joss is easily able to pass through the wards of the bar.  He’s also easily able to feel them.  Clearly, a sit down needs to happen between the two of them to discuss the physical changes that have taken place within Joss and his apparent loss of mortality.  A bar where the patrons are of an entirely different culture isn’t really the place to do it.  It doesn’t help their date night gets disrupted with the murder of one of Rainette’s coven mates.  Lo and behold the cops are already at the crime scene investigating what was recently a developing situation.  Despite Cole and Joss being in Chinatown at the time of the murder, that the homicide detective beat them there just seems a touch hinky.  She had a tip from the feds about serial killers that target witches.  Great!  Because the crime is tied to the occult, Section 13 officers get assigned to it.  Cole and Corhagen get assigned.  You know all that sexual tension between the two of them?  It’s still there, but now James’ wife kicked him out.  Yeah, it’s a recipe for a love triangle.

Suddenly, we learn a lot of things in rapid succession.  The murdered witch was a mole in the Shadewater Coven for the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.  The Order has a fey sword, Claiomh Solais, broken apart and all thirteen pieces hidden.  Naryssa is also looking for the pieces of the sword and looking to destroy Cole and Section 13.  Cole comes to the realization he still has strong feelings for James, but Joss has become the perfect mate for him as he is no longer mortal, anyone else will leave him in what is a comparatively short time.  Cole catches sight of Naryssa’s children at a fey hangout.  He chases them to a warehouse and traps them inside.  Cole can clearly see this is some kind of trap for him but feels he compensates for it.  That’s what he gets for thinking!  Ha!  All of Section 13 is fighting about twenty of Naryssa’s very brainwashed vaguely psychotic children.  The Section is barely holding their own.  Holy Deus ex Machina, Batman!  Robyn jumps down from the ceiling with her bag of holding/personal armory and saves the day with sunflower seeds.  Seriously.  All the children are arrested and taken to the station for questioning, Cole and James have sex in the shower, all hell breaks loose, Cole gets a second hand of power, and Joss becomes the wielder of Claiomh Solais.  Naryssa decides to get revenge on her accomplice where she is finally vanquished.

So, The Thirteenth Shard ends the Naryssa story arc.  Sort of.  Where are the kids?  In a lot of ways this book raises as many questions as it settles.  A lot of the foreshadowing in previous books finally came to fruition.  In some respects the foreshadowing is occasionally a bit clumsy.  Like a big sign is being waved that you need to pay attention to this scene for the future.  Having said that, I still have no clue what it’s all about.  Even if I do know I don’t know if it’s a false trail of breadcrumbs (Ha!) or not.  Come on, Mr. O’Faolain, can you make your books easier for me to predict, please?  I’m not sure if Joss is going to leave the sithen because of the shower sex between James and Cole, or if he’s going to roll with it now that he’s more sidhe than human.  This is gonna bug me!  Ugh.  I hate love triangles.  Of course I also don’t know if Cole will be kicked out of Section 13 entirely because of his deadly black flame rampage against Naryssa’s evil children.  And what the hell was the shadow demon thing anyway?  And the prophecies and James’ dream?  Like I said, lots of questions were raised.

Looking at reviews for the series I noticed a lot of comments that it’s a lot like Laurell K. Hamilton’s Merry Gentry series of books.  Whereas I do see reasons for the comparison I also find them a bit unfair.  Ms. Hamilton famously does a lot of research on her stories.  Any passably researched story with fae will end up with many similarities with the Merry Gentry series.  Cole doesn’t have a giant stable of sexual partners, ’nuff said.  Now, if we’re talking possible comparisons to the Harry Dresden series I may have a comment or two.  Not every situation needs to be resolved by shooting fire or ice at it, and paying pixies with pizza?  Really?  Really!

Rated 4 stars by Faye

4 stars

3 heat