*I received a copy of this title from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*
Title: Circle of Shadows
Author: Evelyn Skye
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: January 22, 2019
Sora can move as silently as a ghost and hurl throwing stars with lethal accuracy. Her gemina, Daemon, can win any physical fight blindfolded and with an arm tied around his back. They are apprentice warriors of the Society of Taigas—marked by the gods to be trained in magic and the fighting arts to protect the kingdom of Kichona.
As their graduation approaches, Sora and Daemon look forward to proving themselves worthy of belonging in the elite group—but in a kingdom free of violence since the Blood Rift Rebellion many years ago, it’s been difficult to make their mark.
So when Sora and Daemon encounter a strange camp of mysterious soldiers while on a standard scouting mission, they decide the only thing to do to help their kingdom is to infiltrate the group. Taking this risk will change Sora’s life forever—and lead her on a mission of deception that may fool everyone she’s ever loved.
Review: Now I really enjoyed The Crown’s Game, and I was so excited for this book, but unfortunately it was a miss for me. There were definitely more than a few issues I had while reading this book, but I’ll try to sum everything up as best as I can.
The first thing straight off the bat that didn’t work for me was the POVs. What I found to be problematic was the constant switch between characters with no indication. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve read books with tons of perspectives, but this was third person and there was no indication at the beginning of a chapter who it was. I’d be in Sora’s thoughts one second and then suddenly I’m in Daemon’s. It was a very disorienting reading experience for me.
Now, I wish I could say the plot made up for it but there was so much happening and it just felt very messy. There was a lack of focus and a lot of jumping between storylines. There were also a ton of time jumps thrown in and I feel like I wanted certain scenes to be more in-depth. The chapters felt very choppy because some would be two pages where nothing happened and suddenly the story would be somewhere else. I also felt like the story was going in circles and by the end nothing was really accomplished.
Another issue I wanted to bring up is the overall concept of the book. What I expected was a badass warrior book with lots of epic action scenes and maybe some romance, but what I got was something different. Even the romance was shaky because the characters personalities felt very one-dimensional so it fell flat. There were also a lot of things that came out of left field that were completely unnecessary. TW: One of those things was an almost-rape scene. What I actually got out of this story was a wild goose chase featuring hypnosis, family reunions, and magic. If you want my personal opinion, the warriors in this book rely heavily on their magic.
I also want to talk about the writing because I feel like that was another issue that had me struggling. The amount of adjectives used was a bit too much and I think it took away from the writing. Some of the descriptions were pretty outrageous and I could not take them seriously. I also found it hard to take the characters seriously when they all had strange code names like Broomstick and Fairy. Although, the real MVP of this book was, in fact, Fairy because she had some serious lady balls.
It’s sad when you hype yourself up for a book and you try to love it like you want to but you just can’t. I did read the entire thing because I hate not finishing books, but I struggled a lot with it. This book was essentially glorified sibling rivalry featuring a villain set on world domination and a magic divide. It was also very cult-oriented because there was a ton of brainwashing. I get what the author was trying to accomplish, but the execution was not for me.