Book Review: Shadow and Sword

I am quite behind on my book reviews. Actually, I’m behind on everything. Since my diagnosis with ME, that’s pretty much become my life. But in the midst of everything I have to do in order to survive, it’s good to take a little time to myself when I can. So hopefully, I’ll catch up.

First up, Shadow and Sword by N. K. Carlson. I got an ARC of this book before it was released last spring, and I eagerly dove in. It started a little slow for me. I’m not sure what the reasoning was behind the choice of opening. It starts with the main character running away, and then shows in flashback the reason why he was running. As an editor, I would have recommended opening with the scene that causes him to run. I felt like I missed all the action. The first three chapters or so read like a travel log, so I would lose interest and put it down. It definitely felt like there was a lot of telling.

But here’s the thing–I don’t know if I would have noticed any of that as a teenager (and it’s YA, so teens are the target audience). I’m pretty sure as a teen, I would have devoured the story. And even if I hadn’t (it’s on the edge of what I liked as a teen), most of my teenage friends would have. I’m not as big on high fantasy myself, but for fans of Lord of the Rings, the Eragon series, and similar books, I think they would really enjoy it.

I found the villain strange. He was supposed to seem really intimidating, but he just seemed childish to me (not in a scary way), so I had a hard time believing him.

I confess that I haven’t finished the book yet due to life circumstances, so I can’t give a full review. My current opinion is that the writing could have been tightened up to make it fantastic, but that won’t stop avid fantasy readers from loving it.


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About Me

I have always loved writing stories, but I was surprised as an adult to learn I love teaching as well. I hold a B.A. in Digital Writing and an M.F.A in Writing for Children and Young Adults. Fantasy has always been my first love in literature. Superheroes and science fiction also hold a special place in my heart. My favorite audience is middle grade readers, but I enjoy young adult fiction as well.


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