The Great War is won… so everyone tells her. But even with her brother now king, Astra Verzaer knows the fight is far from over. When her sudden exile finds her alone in the dreary country of Merimeethia with only the aloof Prince Louko for company, she digs deeper in vain attempts to find proof of her suspicions. Yet Astra is not the only one with secrets, and she soon finds herself swallowed up in a sudden uproar over Merimeethia’s throne–an uproar which she believes to be caused by the very person she set out to find. But will anybody believe her? Even if they do, will it be too late?
The story bounces between two viewpoints: Astra, a half-elven princess with a rare and dangerous magical gift, and Louko, the youngest prince of a different land.
I liked Louko’s sarcasm—when he was allowed to be himself. He has a complicated and painful relationship with his father and older siblings, and is often demeaned by them, if not outright abused. I really felt bad for him. But when he was away from his family, he was funny, witty, and an overall entertaining character.
Astra was an enigma for me. At the beginning of the book, she seemed to have a bit of backbone, then she became almost too nice for a while. Too passive, if that makes sense. I’m still not sure exactly how I feel about her. She has an intriguing past and was a good friend to Louko, but I don’t think I ever clicked with her personality.
There are a lot of pieces at play in this world; the politics of the various kingdoms, the repercussions of the recent war, and at least one person who is still seeking to stir up trouble. That person works from the shadows, manipulates certain events, and succeeds in throwing at least one royal family into turmoil.
The world feels lived in. There is a ton of backstory that is mentioned in passing (I’m aware the authors have released at least one prequel, but I have not read it yet.) The characters have a shared past, one that comes up in conversation, but isn’t fully fleshed out in this book. It’s intriguing, and I wanted to know more.
Of Shade and Shadow is book one of an ongoing series. It ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, and left me wondering just how complex the political maneuverings of a certain someone were going to be in the later installments.
This book definitely has a YA-feel, and was a quick and entertaining read.
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