So, second review of the day. I have at least two more for next week. After that everything is up in the air as I move forward. Wish me luck!
Customary warning: This is a reminder that these are my personal opinions. My thoughts and feelings are not your thoughts and feelings. I may not always be the target audience for a book; sometimes I am. If I do not like a book, that doesn’t mean you’ll dislike it. If I love a book or simply like a book, you may hate it. Take everything I say with this knowledge. If it sounds interesting to you despite what I’ve said, then go ahead and read it. You’ll only know you like something if you read it yourself.
That being said… Spoilers ahead.
The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller
Synopsis From The Book
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?
Fantasy – Romance | YA – M |Murder, Implied Sexual Content, Pretty perverse not really fully sexual content | Love, Freedom, Obsession, Greed
Initial Thoughts Before Reading:
This was supposed to be one of the two YA novels that I was going to read for YA book club this next month. Since that is no longer happening, I’m going to read it anyway. It is also the book I got in my most recent FL box. This book really has captured my attention, so I’m excited to try reading it. The real question is whether or not this book is a stand alone. I really hope it is a stand alone.
So I opened this baby up and read the first line and I’m already in love. Holy crud.
Initial Thoughts After Reading:
HAAAAA. Oh god. I knew I was going to love it from the first line. Did I know I was going to just die the whole way through? NO. The characters were so great. They were so evil and everything and there was absolutely nothing that would convince me they were good people but I LOVED them. I loved this book. I NEED MORE.
Alessandra is 18 and she has decided she is going to marry the Shadow King. To be more exact, she will marry the Shadow King, then kill him, and then she will become the Queen of six countries. It’s a perfect plan and she has already killed before, the first boy who broke her heart. She breaks off her affair with a boy named Myron and her father tells her it is her time to enter society. (Basically there is a law that states until the first daughter is married off, the second can not debut into society). her father knows about her sleeping around and when she declares she will seduce the king, he sort of, sort of not, believes she can.
He brings her to the castle to give her an introduction, but she blatantly ignores it and dances instead. She wears clothes she knows the king will notice, and draws his attention by talking to others. The king does speak to her, and they dance without touching, he later invites her to stay at the castle.
Thus begins her time at the castle. She makes new friends, to work as a guise for her. She makes friends with the king’s former friends and makes a deal with the king. She will be his friend and let him pretend to court her, and she will get a higher notice in society. All the while she plans to continue to seduce him. She gets many other suitors, including Myron who returns. She uses her connections to get him out and starts to care for Leandros, the King’s former best friend.
After a boxing mishap where Alessandra went out with Leandros and was knocked out by a woman named Viper, Kallias, the King, and Alessandra formerly begin to show themselves in public outings. Alessandra learns why Kallias can’t allow himself to be touched, physically. After an assassination attempt, that Kallias survives, Alessandra gets a letter for her to meet, and discuss with an unknown person, who is trying to kill Kallias.
She masquerades as a courtesan and investigates the location of the meeting with Kallias. In a bout of confusion, Kallias is touched by someone. The two know he is targeted by someone in his court but they continue to be about each other falling merrily in love. When Alessandra’s dark past comes back to haunt her, Kallias laughs it off and pardons her. Alessandra is so close to becoming queen, and on the night of her big ball, Kallias proposes. Its the most beneficial route for them.
And Alessandra doesn’t want to kill him anymore.
However, Kallias is poisoned, and they learn that it was one of his advisors. They are able to find the other person, a former lover of the King’s father, and the case seems to be closed. The two touch each other and kiss all night. They decide to make one bedroom between them and everything will be perfect. However, while moving her things, Kallias finds the poison that Alessandra had gotten to try to kill him with and casts her out. She kisses his best friend in retaliation and it was only as she was on her way away from the castle, that she realized the truth.
The best friend was actually Kallias’ dead brother there to kill him and take the throne. She gets to the castle in time to save his life, and to help kill Xanthos. She is then forced away again and a only a week later does Kallias come to get her back.
They will be wed.
What I Liked:
Alessandra; My QUEEN. I LOVE HER. I would die for her and everything about her. My goodness. I was not ready for her to smash my life into so many pieces but she did and I am so happy that she fell in love. She was strong, smart, a seamstress. I need all of her clothing, actually. She was cunning and creative and everything an evil queen needed to be.
Kallias Maheras; I loved him too, as a dark and twisted individual. I loved him to bits as well. He was charming and breathtaking, which is probably why I fell in love with him too, but he comes second to my queen. His power and limit on his power were both so great. The ability to become shadows? Amazing? When he touches flesh he becomes mortal and can be killed when he is near someone he physically touched? Better?
Romance; Now this. For all the couples, you could see the progression, but for Alessandra and Kallias, yes it could be considered fast but I fully believed it. I understood their chemistry, why they worked, why they fell. I knew it. I felt it. I loved it just as much and while there was so much lust between them, the distinction was clear. Sometimes she cant decided to kiss him or rip his throat out and sometimes she thinks he makes her the most confident person in the world. It was everything I needed.
Demodocus; Perfect dog. Giant, lump of furry goodness. Protect him at all costs.
Hestia and Rhoda; I expected them to become more side than they were, and I’m happy they were happy and Alessandra didn’t just use them and toss them aside (or have them back stab her). I loved them to bits both of them and are so happy they are happy.
Leandros/Xanthos; Wow. What a character. I was actually enthralled with him as a second lead. I knew she wouldn’t pick him. After all who would choose anyone over Kallias, but I wasn’t prepared for him to be so twisted. I suppose it makes sense with the family he came from. However this guy spent four years trying to destroy his own brother. I give him props.
Male suitors and Kallias’ friends; They probably got the most time after Hestia and Rhoda. They were all interesting characters in their own ways, and I’m happy that Alessandra was able to help a few and get the other out of her hair so easily.
There was a Robin Hood plot that I ignored in the synopsis but this is kinda funny to see from the enemy perspective.
Alessandra’s Family; While we never got her sister, she was annoyingly sweet and perfect. Also the fact that her father never listened to her was annoying. I’m happy Alessandra cast them out.
Other characters; Were splendid each in their own way.
Clothes; I die. The way they were described had me wanting to make them for myself. I need all of them. I need to wear them. I need to look as beautiful as Alessandra did in my head. Please. I loved this so very much.
Plot and Pacing; While the plot isn’t too surprising, the pacing had me. Everything wrapped up in the manner that it needed to. Nothing was dragged out for longer than it had to. For a book that looks so thin, so much happened and I loved it.
What I Would Have Liked or Changed:
I need a full scene of them getting married and another book of them taking over the entire world. Thanks.
I also wish Viper came back in the story in some way. That would have been fun.
Book Club Thoughts:
Since it didn’t happen. I guess none?
“When I sank my knife into his chest, words came spilling out of him almost as fas as the blood.” – pg 1
“You are beautiful, but not so beautiful as to tempt me. You are everything I am looking for. You are perfect.” – pg 44
“The Shadow King is the most patient man in the world.” – pg 291