Book Review, Fiction

RC Review: Between the Shade and the Shadow

Between the Shade and the Shadow Book Cover Between the Shade and the Shadow
Coleman Alexander
The Realmless, LLC
June 21st, 2018
Review Copy send by the author.


"In the deep heart of the forest, there are places where no light ever shines, where darkness is folded by pale hands and jewel-bright eyes, where the world is ruled by the wicked and kept by the wraiths. This is where the Sprites of the Sihl live.
But Sprites are not born, they are made. On the path to Spritehood, spritelings must first become shades. They do so by binding a shadow: a woodland creature, who guides them through their training. Together, they keep from the light and learn to enchant living things, to bind them, and, eventually, to kill them.
Yet, not all spritelings are born with malice—they must earn it or they are condemned. What happens then to the spriteling who finds a shadow where she shouldn’t? What happens if that particular spriteling wasn’t born with malice at all?
Ahraia was that spriteling. She ran too close to the light and bound herself to a wolf, a more powerful shadow than any that came before it. Now a shade, her shadow marks her for greatness. But a test is coming, and the further they wander out of the darkness, the deeper they wander into danger. Ahraia’s time is coming and what awaits her at the end of her test will either make her or kill her . . ." - Goodreads

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.

thebibliotaph shade and shadow

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