Review: Umbra's Shadow

Umbra's Shadow Umbra's Shadow by Andrea Stanet
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Exciting and fast paced, Umbra's Shadow casts a bright light on new to me author, Ms. Stanet. Unsure of what to expect, the blurb to this story sounded intriguing. The story captured my attention within the first scene. Merc is a shapeshifter who goes her own way. She walks the line between right and wrong. She is a character with a mysterious background, tough exterior and a soft gooey inside. She's the kind of character I like because she isn't flawless but she's perfect. Her snarky attitude and ability to get out of jams amuses me. She may dabble in the criminal side but she does have a code she abides. Her contradictory personality is what makes her complex and interesting. She is not the only interesting character in this story. The secretive Dúl, from the Shadow Court is delicious. He is a male who works best in the shadows with good reason.

The world building in this book is lighter than I prefer. There is enough framework for those used to Fae courts and paranormal stories to easily fill in the blanks and make educated suppositions. Ms. Stanet creates a Fae world divided, creating more questions than providing answers. I like the sets of brothers and sisters opposing each other. The reasons for their opposition is unknown. There are hints to their hatred of each other. Just as there are skeletons in the closets of each reigning Royal. I wish Ms. Stanet would have focused more on the world building because it looks to be elaborate and darkly sexy. I like this vibe.

The conflict of this story is well done if a bit predictable. It is easy to follow and guess the villains and determine how the resolution will occur. There is nothing unexpected with Merc's quest, even down to the losses. Whilst Merc may have been blinded to the obvious, readers will have known almost immediately, how Dúl relates to the court. What keeps me thinking about this story is not the plot, but the relationships and backstory for all the different characters. Ms. Stanet gives us little glimpses of fragmented memories and it is a tease. Hopefully there will be more books in this series. This story is tightly written with engaging characters and a promising world. The whisper of dark seduction is an added bonus. This dark fantasy is recommended to readers who like strong characters with mysterious backgrounds.

* Review copy provided via Reading Alley in exchange for an honest review.


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