Book Review: Circle Of Shadows by Evelyn Skye

Book: Circle Of Shadows by Evelyn Skye

Published January 2019 by Balzer + Bray|454 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: Circle Of Shadows #1

Genre: YA Fantasy

A thrilling new fantasy series full of magic and betrayal—from Evelyn Skye, New York Times bestselling author of the Crown’s Game series.

Sora can move as silently as a ghost and hurl throwing stars with lethal accuracy. Her gemina, Daemon, can win any physical fight blindfolded and with an arm tied around his back. They are apprentice warriors of the Society of Taigas—marked by the gods to be trained in magic and the fighting arts to protect the kingdom of Kichona.

As their graduation approaches, Sora and Daemon look forward to proving themselves worthy of belonging in the elite group—but in a kingdom free of violence since the Blood Rift Rebellion many years ago, it’s been difficult to make their mark.

So when Sora and Daemon encounter a strange camp of mysterious soldiers while on a standard scouting mission, they decide the only thing to do to help their kingdom is to infiltrate the group. Taking this risk will change Sora’s life forever—and lead her on a mission of deception that may fool everyone she’s ever loved.

Love, spies, and adventure abound as Sora and Daemon unravel a complex web of magic and secrets that might tear them—and the entire kingdom—apart forever.

I was excited about Circle Of Shadows, but it ended up being okay for me.  I wish I liked it more, because it’s a really cool idea, and I really liked The Crown’s Game.

I’m really torn about the world- on the one hand, the world and history is really cool.  But at the same time, I felt like everything was just there, and wasn’t really explained.  The gemina part of the story made no sense, and wasn’t explained.  Were they supposed to be working together or were they supposed to have something a little more romantic?  It was really weird, and I wasn’t sure why everyone was paired off.

There were a lot of little details that could have added to the book.  There were a lot of descriptions I could have done without, and I definitely felt like we didn’t get the details we should have had.  It definitely didn’t have the same appeal as her previous series (though I definitely enjoyed the first one a lot more than it’s sequel).  It just didn’t have the same level of detail or world-building as her other series, and I felt like we were missing out.  To me, it felt like a step backward in terms of the world.

It’s too bad, because I liked the story.  There’s a lot of potential, and I’m sad this book wasn’t for me.  I just had too many questions about the world.  The history of Sora’s world seemed pretty interesting, and there were a few moments in the book where I couldn’t stop reading.  Those were few and far between, and for the most part, I was bored.  There was one moment at the end that was really hard to read, and even though I had the feeling it was coming, it was a little more gruesome than I expected.  If I could have read it peeking through my fingers, I probably would have.

The characters were okay, and no one really stood out to me.  The names stood out, but I think because they were not names I was expecting.  While I’m fine with taking on a new name once you become an apprentice, I also thought the names Skye went with were a little odd.  Fairy and Broomstick?  Spirit and Wolf?  The names seemed like a place-holder or a childhood nickname as opposed to a name bestowed on a magical apprentice.  But that’s just me.

It started off really well, and the interesting, while predictable, was also interesting.  It meandered a lot in the middle, and I got pretty bored.  I probably would have been a lot more interested in the ending if I hadn’t lost interest in the middle.

2 stars.  While I didn’t actively dislike this book, it was still okay.  I wanted different details than the one we got, and I had a hard time getting through it.

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Book Review: The Crown’s Fate by Evelyn Skye

Book Review: The Crown’s Fate by Evelyn Skye

Published May 2017 by Balzer + Bray|415 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: The Crown’s Game #2

Genre: YA Historical Fiction/YA Alternate History/YA Historical Fantasy

Russia is on the brink of great change. Pasha’s coronation approaches, and Vika is now the Imperial Enchanter, but the role she once coveted may be more difficult—and dangerous—than she ever expected.

Pasha is grappling with his own problems—his legitimacy is in doubt, the girl he loves loathes him, and he believes his best friend is dead. When a challenger to the throne emerges—and with the magic in Russia growing rapidly—Pasha must do whatever it takes to keep his position and protect his kingdom.

For Nikolai, the ending of the Crown’s Game stung deeply. Although he just managed to escape death, Nikolai remains alone, a shadow hidden in a not-quite-real world of his own creation. But when he’s given a second chance at life—tied to a dark price—Nikolai must decide just how far he’s willing to go to return to the world.

With revolution on the rise, dangerous new magic rearing up, and a tsardom up for the taking, Vika, Nikolai, and Pasha must fight—or face the destruction of not only their world but also themselves.

I didn’t like The Crown’s Fate as much as I thought I would.  I wanted to like it more, but I just wasn’t as interested in this story as I was with The Crown’s Game.  I did end up skimming a good portion of it, but at the same time, I was really curious to see how things ended.

I had a harder time getting into this book than I did with The Crown’s Game.  Now that we have an imperial enchanter, I just wasn’t interested in what came after the events of the game.  It has some consequences, and while I did like seeing how Nikolai tried to return to the real world, but I also liked him less in this book.  He wasn’t the Nikolai we knew from the previous book, though I understand why he was much different in this one.

I didn’t really care about Vika or Pasha in this one, and it was a struggle to get through it.  Oddly enough, I initially tried the audio book but switched to print because I couldn’t stand the narration.  So that was out, but I was so determined to see this through, even though it didn’t have the same pull that The Crown’s Game did.

I think I would have been fine not reading it.  I mean, we do see the Imperial Enchanter in action, and it’s this alternate Russia where magic exists, and it’s a cool concept.  But The Crown’s Game worked pretty well as a stand-alone, and while we see more of that world, I don’t know that this book really added anything to it.

It didn’t really have the same direction the first book did, and a lot of the things I loved about the first book were gone in this one.  I just didn’t care about what happened to Russia or the fact that the crown is at stake.  I was just…bored.  While I was initially excited to see how things turned out, by the end, that excitement was long gone.

2 stars.  It was okay, and I think I would have been fine not reading this one.  Everything I liked about the first book wasn’t there, and I just didn’t care about the story as much.