Hi hello, how is everyone?

Well I am here today to offer up a review for the forthcoming CIRCLE OF SHADOWS by the talented Evelyn Skye! It comes out in a few days, January 22. Hope y’all are ready.

Review copy was provided by Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

3/5 stars.

Quick summary: Sora and Daemon are gemina–bonded elite taiga warriors that serve the kingdom of Kichona. Sora is skilled with magic where Daemon can win any fight. Both of them are apprentices–along with their close friends, who go by the taiga names, Fairy and Broomstick. They tend to cause michief wherever they go, Sora in particular building quite the reputation for ehrself.

But when a threat looms over Kichona, promising to bring old wounds back to light, Sora and Daemon take it upon themselves to get to the bottom of it. They infiltrate a camp of mysterious soildiers and as a result Sora’s life is changed forever.

Overall I found this to be an enjoyable book. However there were a few things, mostly things that come from my writer brain, that irked me.

But before we get into all that I want to take a moment to talk about the things I LOVED.

I think this goes without saying. There is precisely one (1) cinnamon roll (okay maybe 2) BUT 1 THAT I ABSOLUTELY ADORED.

Daemon. Your name might be one extra “a” away from being demon but my goodness. The entire first chapter of his POV I was just sitting there like:

I LOVE LOVE LOVE him. First of all, he is entirely devoted to Sora. Both of them can feel little snippets of each other’s emotions though their bond. WHenever they are going through something, he sends her little sweet calming emotIONS AND OKAY I’M CRYING ITS JUST SO SWEET.

On top of that, I found him totally relatable. He wants to succeed as a taiga, always pushing himself and Sora to do the best they can. Where Sora is a bit… unmotivated, Daemon has something to prove because he isn’t all that great with taiga magic. BUT instead of being jealous or spiteful of Sora who has a natural talent for it, he just keeps trying. BOY DOES NOT GIVE UP OR BLAME OTHERS FOR HIS SHORTCOMINGS.

Plus his background is by far the most intriguing. There is also a little point in time where a character imagines him getting out of the bath in only a towel and…….visuals. Nice. Visuals.

OKAY, moving on. I also really enjoyed the magic system and the world building. The taiga’s use magic where they have to make signs and take on attributes of animals. Example make a moth sign and they can have super secret quiet conversations others can’t hear. (Now if only we could do this irl). It reminded me a bit of Naruto when they have to make hand seals for their jutsu. I LOVE NARUTO SO MUCH.

NOW. On to some of the things I didn’t like. Most of these were a result of writer brain (I’m sorry I can only turn it off so much) But as a soon to be published book I do hold it to a Standard, so I was a bit disappointed by:

Flat characters: Despite this being a multi POV book, many of its characters fell flat. Especially the villain. There are a few chapters from their POV earlier on where Skye tried to convince us that they are more than just an evil psychopath….. but I didn’t really find its convincing. Just “feeling bad” wasn’t convincing enough. I want depth. I want struggle. If I’m in their POV I want to for a few minutes consider if I might actually be on their side, if this is maybe THEIR story. ALSO I was not really sure WHY they were doing the evil stuff?? Like who hurt you? Why are you like this? Where is the tragic past? We got tragic scars on the outside, show me the ones on the inside. SO yeah. As a self proclaimed lover of all things villainous, I was disappointed.

Next on the list is the dreaded way-too-many-povs. There is a lot of jumping around, and no real rhyme or reason to it. I enjoyed some, others I was kinda like: *whispers*I don’t care about this person — which is too bad. Sometimes multi-POV can be great! But books that do this well (SIX OF CROWS) took the time to really dip into every character, give them a struggle, a full arc. You don’t get that with all the characters in this one. Sometimes it’s just downright confusing. I think the book would have benefited from focusing on its main players: Sora and Daemon. I connected with them the most, and I would have loved to have more time in their heads getting to understand them so when they make certain choices I’m not like WHOA WHERE DID THAT COME FROM.

(Yes I’m still salty about ONE thing near the end)

ANYWAYS. Despite my few misgivings, I really did enjoy this book! I think Skye has planted the seeds for an exciting and original series. I look forward to seeing what she comes up with next! Be sure to check out the book OUT THIS TUESDAY JANUARY 22.

Buy it/ Preorder:


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Published by kdcampbellwrites

SFF writer and graphic designer

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