ShadowcasterWritten by Cinda Williams Chima
(Harper Teen - 4/4/2017)Series: Shattered Realms #2
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: eARC (560 pages)
Alyssa ana'Raisa is the reluctant princess heir to the Gray Wolf throne of Fells, a queendom embroiled in a seemingly endless war. Hardened by too many losses, Lyss is more comfortable striking with a sword than maneuvering at court. After a brush with death, she goes on the offensive, meaning to end the war that has raged her whole life. If her gamble doesn't pay off, she could lose her queendom before she even ascends to the throne.
Across enemy lines in Arden, young rising star Captain Halston Matelon has been fighting for his king since he was a lýtling. Lately, though, he finds himself sent on ever more dangerous assignments. Between the terrifying rumors of witches and wolfish warriors to the north and his cruel king at home, Hal is caught in an impossible game of life and death.
FTC Disclosure: This book was provided to me from the author or publisher (Edelweiss), free of charge, with the understanding that my intention is to read it and provide feedback in the form of an honest review. I am not compensated in any way in exchange for positive reviews, and I don’t let anything other than the book's contents affect my opinions and review.
I don’t know why I was surprised that this story was a slow build — that seems to be Chima’s way — but I was. So I have to admit that it took me a while to get into this story. However, as with Flamecaster (and the Seven Realms series), that didn’t stop me from reading. Before I knew it, I was completely entrenched in the world, the story, and the lives of every character on the page! I was a bit frustrated that it wasn’t a continuation of the story/characters from the first book, but once I realized this was an adjacent tale, I was all in.
Lyss has got to be one of my absolute favorite heroines, not only in this series (thus far), but in all of YA lit! As much as I adored her mother Raisa, she is a badass woman in her own right. I love how she rivals her mother in so many ways. She’s tall and imposing and tough as nails. She’s got a strong, clever mind and she’s not afraid to do the hard work. I ADORE HER SO MUCH (and I wish I could be like her in several ways). But don’t worry, she’s definitely got her own faults as well, which contributed to many of my favorite parts within the pages!
I really enjoyed the way each of the characters and their threads were woven together in this book. Cinda Williams Chima just continues to get better and better at the intricacy and relationships in her stories! I definitely liked it even more than Flamecaster, and I can’t freaking WAIT for the next installment in the series!
CLOSING THOUGHT: You may notice that I decided to use the *original* cover for this post and for my header image. Can we just take a moment to appreciate how gorgeous these original covers are? I thought they were extremely fitting for the series, and was surprised to find that they’ve got new covers for this hardcover and the Flamecaster paperback. How am I supposed to have matching books now? ALAS.