Between the Shade and the Shadow is the story of a Shade (young Sprite / night elf) and her struggle to keep her and her wolf companion alive while dealing with their truly terrible community.
The world of the shades and sprites is very dark; figuratively and literally. They get burned by the faintest of light and they fear the sun as much as they do the monsters living in the deep woods. The world building is intricate and seen from the perspective of a creature that doesn’t like the day and sees light-walkers as enemies. (e.g. humans, day elves etc.)
They have a strict hierarchical culture and when the main character, Ahraia, rebels against tradition, she is treated horribly.
There is a lot of political intrigue and back stabbing and at times it was hard to keep track with who was trying to kill Ahraia at any given time. The bond of friendship between Ahraia and her wolf, Losna, is sweet and charming, but the book could have been a third shorter. Almost everyone is cruel to Ahraia and it gets grating. Talk about bad parenting and ignorant authority.
It reminded me of A Series of Unfortunate Events in the way I kept thinking throughout the book; “Just kill them and leave. These people aren’t worth the suffering.”
But no, we get to see poor Ahraia suffer through her trials.
They speak telepathically at times and without dialog tags. This makes some of conversations hard to follow, but does add an extra layer to the sprites other-worldliness.
So wonderful world building, charming main characters and a satisfying ending that suggest a interesting sequel, but I was ready to burn down the whole forest by the end as all the other characters were so frustratingly evil.