REVIEW: THE SHADOWS BETWEEN US BY TRICIA LEVENSELLER

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Title: The Shadows Between Us
Author: Tricia Levenseller
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance
Pages: 326
My Rating: 4 stars

 

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This book had me hooked from the first chapter; I knew right away that I was going to love Alessandra. Her take-no-shit attitude was on display from page one, and right off the bat Alessandra seemed like a character that knew exactly what she wanted and what she was willing to do to get it. The Shadows Between Us is less a novel full of action and adventure, and more a story of politics and plotting. Alessandra has her mission and her own motives, while at the same time the Shadow King is working to expand his kingdom and to solve a murder. This all takes place on a backdrop of the court and courtiers, and the gossip and drama that comes with having to deal with their scheming. That’s not to say there isn’t any action; there’s murder and fighting and bandits and assassination attempts to boot. I never felt like the story was lacking when it came to the plot, and I really appreciated watching Alessandra plot and put her plans into action- even when things didn’t play out exactly as she’d hoped.

 

“I don’t know what I’m doing anymore. But I do know one thing. No one but me is allowed to decide when Kallias Maheras, king of six realms and counting, is going to die.”

 

I absolutely loved the reveal about why the Shadow King didn’t allow anyone near him/to touch him, and the dynamic and complications it added to the story were perfect. It was pretty obvious from the description of the novel that Alessandra was going to have some issues when it came to following through with her plot to kill the king and that things would become tangled between them. I went into this prepared to not really enjoy the way this aspect played out, but instead I ended up liking every bit of it. Alessandra and the Shadow King have a great back and forth; I found myself smiling and laughing during a number of their interactions. They really do make a great team, and some of the things they said and did took me totally by surprise.

 

Alessandra is a very progressive woman compared to most in this novel’s world. She is unashamed of who she is and how she acts, and it was refreshing to have her opinions be accepted instead of shot down by everyone around her. This book contains a lot of female empowerment without going to the point of shoving a message down the reader’s throat. I really enjoyed that the women Alessandra becomes friends with are actually her friends, instead of having ulterior motives in getting to know her. They all support each other and encourage each other instead of putting one another down, and I appreciated that. I don’t want to spoil things, but there is a lot of acceptance in this book and I was totally digging it.

 

“I’m not a trollop,” I announce to the empty room.
“I’m a sexually empowered woman, and there is nothing wrong with that.”

 

My only complaint is that I wished this book was longer, because I felt throughout that it needed more attention to detail in a few different ways. I wanted more information on this kingdom and the world around it, I wanted to get to know the side characters better, and I wanted to get to spend more time reading about Alessandra and the Shadow King. It was nice to get to finish this book in a day, but I really would have loved for it to be part of a longer series. I can’t fault the author for that- it’s not a bad complaint to have! I just think some of the depth that could have been there was missing. Maybe some chapters from Kallias’ point of view would have helped? As I said, a really small and picky thing for me to complain about.

 

The end of the novel had me on the edge of my seat, and I had to force myself to slow down as I was reading. I didn’t realise until the last portion of the book how attached I’d become to these characters and how invested I was in the story’s outcome. Reading this book was addicting, and I wouldn’t recommend picking it up before bed, because you won’t be able to pull yourself away. This book was a gem, and I hope to stumble upon more like it in the future.

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