4 out of 4 stars
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Shadow’s Voice by Natalie Johanson is a fantasy story which takes place in a fictional world where magic can be considered both a gift and a curse. Rose Trewin is a young woman who has run away from her past to escape the life that has shamed her for her magical abilities to travel into the shadow world. While hiding out in a quiet town, she encounters a friendly traveler who is later attacked by mercenaries. With his dying words, he entrusts Rose with information that must be delivered to the king. Against her best instincts, Rose delivers the message and accepts refuge within the castle among a group of people who do not shun her for her magic. While her magic could help stop an assassination attempt on the king, Rose finds herself the target of darker magic that wants her dead.
Rose is a conflicted character with a mysterious past that we only learn about through snippets here and there throughout the book. Rose is at an age and a stage in her life in which young adult readers can relate to her because of her youth and attempts to be independent, but I think that adults can also relate to her as well due to the immense responsibilities that have been placed on her. This book would be great for older young adults and new adults who enjoy fantasy tales.
I don’t think I can begin to stress how much I enjoyed this book. Immediately after I finished the book, I checked to see if there was a sequel available. Much to my dismay, there wasn’t. I don’t know if the author plans to continue this story as a series, but I really hope she does. There are a few questions that are left unanswered and one particular plotline that wasn’t quite complete, so I really think that this book has set a good stage for a potential series.
I’m usually not one for intense romance stories, so this book was perfect for me. This book was more about action, adventure, suspense, and magic. There was a tiny, subtle hint of a romance in this book, but it definitely wasn’t anything to scare me away. In fact, it’s one of the characteristics of the book that kept my eyes glued to the pages.
If there is anything that I didn’t care for in the book, it’s that the storyline is a little bit hard to follow without intense concentration. A few times I felt like I had to go back and re-read sections because I missed something important. That might have been my own fault for rushing to find out what happens next, and I certain don’t hold this fault against the book.
Overall, I give this book a rating of 4 out of 4 stars. I enjoyed the characters in this complex story, and I couldn’t put it down. The writing appears professionally edited with only a handful of minor errors that are easy to overlook. With sporadic profanity and some mild graphic violence, not too many young adults would be turned away from this book. I certainly recommend it to anyone who enjoys tales of fantasy and magic with a strong female lead.
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