3.5 / 5 stars
I had the pleasure of participating in an ARC tour for this book. This review (spoiler-free!) represents my fair and honest reaction to the book. If you like new adult fantasy that includes fierce female characters, compelling magic, mysterious lineage, and some romance, then look no further. This one is for you!
I have to say, I LOVED the unique and interesting world that the author has created! The Shadowthorn, a demon-infested dark forest, is creeping across the world of humans, and they have long since been abandoned by the magic-wielding mages (who took half the land with them when they went, dividing the world). Life is grim and difficult for pretty much everyone. Most of the main characters have lost all they hold dear, and joining the Shadow Crusade, the organized and trained soldiers whose mission is to protect the world from the Shadowthorn and, hopefully, eventually destroy the last remaining “Primordial”–the very evil being from which the demons emanate.
I loved Halira, the main character, right from the start. She is feisty and opinionated, but also kind and quick-witted. I also liked Dimitri, her love interest, although his tendency toward loyalty and rule-following above all else was irritating for sure–which I think was the author’s purpose. And haven’t we all known those types in real life? I thought the characters were well done and the world was fascinating.
I will say that there were three things that I would change/improve about this book if I could: 1) the pacing felt a little off–too slow at first, then much too fast at the end–but that could just be my personal preference for things that are a little more even; 2) sometimes the wordings/sentence structures felt a bit choppy and didn’t come together right–I found myself rereading at times in order to understand, and there were other times where it seemed like something was missing between sentences; 3) there was some repetition in the plot towards the end that was confusing and unnecessary (I won’t say more because I don’t want to spoil anything).
But overall, this is a solid start to a series, and with the way it ended, I am just DYING for the next one so I can know what will happen next and get my questions answered. I want to know more about Halira’s background and capabilities, and about the mysterious demon-man. Thanks for a great read!