Book Review: ‘Shadowcry’ by Jenna Burtenshaw

Posted: 4 July 2016 in Book reviews
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Synopsis

Kate didn’t know she was Skilled. It is a secret kept from her by her Uncle Artemis. She only finds out when a flock of blackbirds descend on the town. She picks up one of the dead birds and is amazed when it comes back to life. Now she must hide as the blackbirds are a ploy for the wardens who are there for one purpose: to hunt Skilled and find her. Artemis allows himself to be captured so she can escape, but she is still captured by head warden Silas Dane after her friend Edgar is recognised by Silas and abandons her.

Edgar is ashamed at letting Kate get caught and resolves to save her. Silas is taking her to Fume so Edgar stows away. He helps her escape once they reach the city, but gets caught in the process. Kate escapes into the city, but rather than stay free, she tries to rescue him and gets them both caught. With Kate now securely in his care, Silas reveals Da’ru’s (a powerful Skilled) and the Council’s purpose plans for her. But he has other plans for her.

Kate is then tested, prodded, and poked as Silas and the Council attempt to understand her abilities. As she is pushed, she ability grows. She even makes a prediction about Da’ru and the upcoming Night of Souls. Then one night Edgar appears and helps her escape yet again. They get separated, but she stumbles into other Skilled waiting for them. They take her deep into the forbidden part of the city to their hideout. There she learns more of who she is, her heritage, and Edgar’s past. But Silas still finds her and together they traverse deep underground to find the hidden library of the Skilled. Within it Kate finds her uncle. He tells her the location of the book they need to find before Da’ru.

With the book in hand, Silas’ plans can finally be completed. Unfortunately, his predicament isn’t as simple to undo as he hoped. But time is running out. As the fated Night of Souls approaches, tables will turn and truth will be brought to light. But at what cost?

My Thoughts

This book was another secondhand bookstore discovery. Not mine though. My boyfriend’s. I just decided to borrow it and read it before he could.

The book has a very interesting premise. It is filled with secrets and hidden motives. I enjoy the dark fantasy genre, which this is. I mean it deals with death. It isn’t very surprising that the Skilled are feared, but it is ironic that one of them is on the Council and open about themself. I like how a bunch of these Skilled people used to be the ones who helped lead souls into the underworld and were at one time highly revered. It’s an interesting display of how the normal can so quickly be twisted and turned into the abnormal and feared.

The characters here are ok. A bit better than meh. One thing I like about Kate is that she isn’t whiny. Yeah, things aren’t going well for her, but she deals with it and becomes a stronger person through it. Other than that she’s just kind of there. There’s not much to her. Not that she is completely helpless, just that she spends most of the book being either captured or rescued by Edgar. Speaking of Edgar, I like how despite his faults he has honour. He is always looking out for Kate. He is very self-sufficient as well. He’s a survivor. I find Silas fascinating. I won’t give anything away though about him. He’s a very dangerous guy. It’s cool how he has a crow that he uses to track his targets.

The writing is fine. Nothing really wrong with it. It drives the story along well enough. There is clearly a lot of work that has  gone into crafting this story. The Times in London said it was ‘Deliciously shivery’, but it really isn’t. There is nothing particularly scary about this book. Interesting yes, scary no. The description makes it entertaining, but by no means scary.

If I had to rate the book, I’d probably give it a 3.5/5. I gave it the extra .5 because I do want to read the next book in the series. It is an interesting book, but not riveting. It is an easy read, so if you like darker fantasy books you might give this one a shot. Enjoy 😉

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