Author: S.M. Gaither
Series: Shadows & Crowns, book 1
My rating: 4.3 stars
Release date: Sept. 17, 2020
Casia became a fighter to survive. She and her small found family of mercenaries earn their living on the other side of the law, utilizing their impressive fighting and magical talents to procure the information or items they’re hired to obtain. Casia is one of the only survivors of a deadly plague that chooses its victims in apparent randomness. A plague that’s getting worse, spreading further and killing faster than it ever has before. When Casia is offered an opportunity to assist the king in attempting to find the source of, and to stop the plague, she must determine who to trust in the king’s palace, while uncovering secrets that may lead to discovering some of her own.
Casia is a strong heroine. A fighter who never gives up or backs down from a fight. Despite living on the wrong side of the law, she still has a strong moral compass, often risking her life for total strangers in need. I guess she was a bit too perfect and strong, even with her occasional anxiety attacks to offset it, but I enjoyed living vicariously through her strengths and fights and toughness. She reminded me a lot of Celaena from the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas. Lots of secrets and awesome depths of strength.
The romance was fun too. It was predictable from the beginning, an instant attraction that the reader knows will end up being a lot more, but it took a good amount of time to build up, giving them time to build a relationship before they jumped in.
The magic system wasn’t completely original, but it added a lot to the history, plot, and world building. And the powers were nicely diverse and used in powerful displays. There was a nice balance between magical powers and simple physical fighting prowess.
The prose was quick and enjoyable. I read this book in one sitting. There are several interesting developments at the end, where many secrets are finally laid bare, and we’re left wondering which side Casia will be fighting for. Will she side with romance or family?
I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.