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?
The Shadows Between Us is Tricia Levenseller’s newest gripping and seductive tale of empowerment and belonging. It promotes choosing your own path and being your own person, rather than adhering to the social standards set before you. Also highlighting the pain of loneliness, it rejoices in finally finding that someone who shines light upon your darkest shadows. While it’s initially defined by motivation and duplicity, it quickly evolves into a charming story of friendship and an unexpected, consuming love.
The main focus of this story’s entirety is its alluring characters. The story is told through the eyes of Alessandra, an ambitious and conniving second daughter of an earl, seeking to change her life by walking on the backs of others. She has an independent soul, always taking what she wants instead of accepting what’s given to her. Kallias, the cold, enigmatic, and brooding Shadow King hiding pain and longing beneath his armor made of shadows. Both crave power, both crave domination, both are villains. It’s unusual to read a story led by a villain, let alone two, and I absolutely loved the way this story was executed. There’s banter dripping with sexual tension, there’s heartfelt moments of truth and silent reflection, there’s unforeseen camaraderie leading to more. Theirs is the perfect example of a beautiful slow-burn romance.
The supporting cast is crucial in the advancement of the story, as well – each character unique and exceptional, with their own hopes, intentions, and secrets, each adding another layer to the complexity presented to us. I would love to go into detail here, but for fear of spoiling, I’ll just say that nothing is at is seems. You’ll have to meet them all on your own.
My favorite part of this story is its exhilarating, fresh plot – it’s not a story of vengeance, it’s a story of hunger. The main character’s ambitions exist only to appease her desire for power, seemingly bereft of an emotional driving force. With an abundance of scheming and plenty of deceit, the narrative unravels in the most exquisite way. From the blurb alone, it’s easy to decipher what route the tale will take, and you even see that inevitable twist breaching the horizon, but what actually happens is utterly unexpected and completely welcome. I enjoyed this story so much, I read the entire book in one sitting.
Levenseller transports readers to an immersive and atmospheric gothic setting, forcing us to weave our way through courtly intrigue infused with mysterious magic. Her ability to vividly portray the finer details of everything around us is just incredible; the colors and textures of fabrics, the rich, bright visages of blooming flowers in gardens, the smells, the sounds, everything. It’s too easy to lose yourself in this story. We get tiny insights into the history that has shaped the world, offering answers for our most pressing questions. However, I would’ve loved to have seen a more in-depth account of the past.
The Shadows Between Us was my first foray into Levenseller’s works, and it most certainly won’t be my last. This book offers everything I look for in those labeled as Dark Young Adult Fantasy – ripe with secrets, danger, and transformation. This is a standalone, and it ties up perfectly, each thread carefully placed in the tapestry. I can only hope we get to spend more time in this world the author has crafted in the future. If you’re looking for an atypical YA tale where the bad guys take center stage, then I highly recommend giving this fun one a try.
Note: A huge thank you to Tricia Levenseller and Feiwel and Friends for providing me with an advance complementary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, and to The Fantastic Flying Book Club for organizing and inviting me to participate in this book tour.
Be sure to check out all the other stops along the tour by visiting the official schedule here.
Tricia Levenseller is the author of the Daughter of the Pirate King duology, Warrior of the Wild, and forthcoming The Shadows Between Us. She likes to describe her books as young adult alternate–world historical fantasies with heavy romantic subplots.
Initially from a small town in Oregon, Tricia now lives next to the Rocky Mountains with her bossy dog, Rosy. She received her degree in English Language and editing, and she is thrilled that she never has to read a textbook again. When she’s not writing or reading, Tricia enjoys putting together jigsaw puzzles, playing volleyball, playing Overwatch with her siblings, and watching shows while eating extra-buttered popcorn.
Win a copy of The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller
February 19, 2020
March 4, 2020
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