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THE SHADOWS BETWEEN US by Tricia Levenseller – double review!

Alessandra is tired of being overlooked, but she has a plan to gain power:

1) Woo the Shadow King.
2) Marry him.
3) Kill him and take his kingdom for herself.

No one knows the extent of the freshly crowned Shadow King’s power. Some say he can command the shadows that swirl around him to do his bidding. Others say they speak to him, whispering the thoughts of his enemies. Regardless, Alessandra knows what she deserves, and she’s going to do everything within her power to get it.

But Alessandra’s not the only one trying to kill the king. As attempts on his life are made, she finds herself trying to keep him alive long enough for him to make her his queen—all while struggling not to lose her heart. After all, who better for a Shadow King than a cunning, villainous queen? 

Title : The Shadows Between Us
Author : Tricia Levenseller
Format : eARC
Page Count : 336
Genre : YA fantasy
Publisher : Feiwel & Friends
Release Date : February 25, 2020

Reviewer : Hollis/Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ / ★ ★ ★

Hollis’ 3 star review

I requested this one because, I mean, did you read that synopsis? Girl wants the King because she plans to kill him and rule in his stead? The song Cold As Ice was echoing through my head. It sounded delicious and different and I was keen to dive in.

And this is delicious and different but I never quite fell in love with it. Though I love that this not only features dialogue around empowering women and giving them agency over their bodies, but that it’s also centered around two not-so-easy to pin down leads. They aren’t quite antiheroes but they are far from pure snowflakes. These are definitely shades of grey characters that aren’t out to convince you that their way is better, or that it’s wrong for them to do what they do. They just exist.

Also this is a fantasy standalone, can I get a whoop whoop?

I do think this’ll appeal to many readers who want something different out of their fantasy, particularly YA, and there are a lot of topics dealt with that keep everything from feeling too one note. Additionally we aren’t bogged down with any world building, the setting has a mix of a lot of elements, though I’ll admit the shadow element of the Shadow King’s backstory was.. I don’t want to say weak, but it did stick out a bit. Which might be why we don’t spend much time on it.

But, again, I just never quite hit “I love this” levels of enjoyment. Definite moments of intrigue and interest but I’m not sure it’ll be a memorable experience in a few months time. Not that every book has to be! So here we are.

** I received an ARC from Edelweiss and the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **

Micky’s 3 star review

I’ve been eager to read this book since it released over six month ago, I loved the cover and premise (from what I can remember, I don’t re-read blurbs). So colour me surprised with that start of the story and finding myself faced with a villain-protagonist of shady ethics.

The story had a great start, a duller middle and a more exciting finale. I liked it, I think but I was definitely disappointed in my own hype I’d built up. The characters in general were not my cuppa, The Shadow King was all intrigue for a while and then he was just so run-of-the-mill. Alessandra herself was a bit of a despicable character, not much to endear herself to the reader but you had to admire her cheek and courage.

The story was a little predictable, I guessed the twist but I did find this easy reading and paced fairly well. There was a feminist thread throughout the story and I liked that but found the issues a little too easily resolved. I didn’t always enjoy the peppy-quippy tone of narrative.

This was my first Tricia Levenseller and I liked her idea of writing something different, I just didn’t particuarly like these characters. I have her other books and I’m hoping to like those more.

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