Title: Out of the Shadows
Author: Ashlee Nicole Bye
Series: Shadowlands #1
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication Date: May 4, 2017
Goodreads Synopsis: Nobody ever said death would be easy…
From the streets of Melbourne to the bowels of Westminster, the delicate balance between life and death that is so painstakingly maintained by the reapers of The Order of Dark and Light is being tested by the return of an ancient threat. Tensions are rising within the hidden world of The Shadowlands and if this threat is not contained war will be inevitable. And the destruction of the human world is bound to follow in its wake.
Amidst this tension, eighteen year-old Sachi Manning is struggling to cope with the grief and guilt that has plagued her ever since her best friend was murdered six months earlier—that is, until she spots him seemingly alive and well and being held at scythe point by a hooded figure who looks more like a GQ model than the Grim Reaper.
Sachi shouldn’t be able to see through the glamours that shield Shadowlanders from the human world, so the reaper in question wants some answers. And so begins the craziest couple of weeks of Sachi’s life as she is drawn into a world of mysteries, magic, monsters, and mayhem, encountering dragons, faeries, soul-sucking demons, not-so-grim reapers, and even the Horseman of Death.
With a mix of heart, humour and hair-raising action, Out of the Shadows is the adventure of an after lifetime, perfect for fans of Cassandra Clare and Paula Weston.
I received a copy of Out of the Shadows from Ashlee Bye in exchange for an honest review. To see how I rate my reviews, check out my rating system and for further information check out my review policy.
After last week’s post of Aaru, I was looking for something lighter in terms of storyline. When I read the description of Out of the Shadows written by Ashlee Nicole Bye, I figured this would be a good book. I felt like this would be a good book to lighten the mood after such a dark, and mind-altering book (being able to use technology to save people’s lives in that way it pretty freaky stuff. Good, but freaky.)
The world needs a balance between light and dark. The Order keeps the world in balance. Then a string of murders with the same M.O. keeps occurring in Melbourne, Australia. Sachi Manning is a young girl who has been dealing with indescribable grief, after the death of her friend. She wishes it was her instead. Julian and Moss are trying to figure out who is killing these people. Could it be another reaper? Or maybe it is a demon?
But things become complicated when Sachi is able to see through the glamours and see the Shadowlanders. Everyone wants answers, as Sachi’s life is turned upside down.
In this debut first book of the Shadowlands series, it takes great strides to reveal the world that has been hidden from humans. It starts off a little shaky, but in the end grows steady legs to stand on.
Onto the review:
Things I Like:
Although the copy of the book I was given did not have this cover, it was what initially drew me into the book. The splashes of color splattered on the cover made it very intriguing. I know it is said to never judge a book by its cover, but sometimes the cover does all the speaking for the book.
Books that take on sci-fi/fantasy worlds have to be extremely detailed to execute it right. Out of the Shadows does this very well. This book mainly takes place in Australia, but some aspects of the book reference the Shadowlands which must be important later on in the series. However, the author does a great job incorporating the two worlds in this book.
Some books try to incorporate pop culture references but epically fail. This book is different. There were references to Veronica Roth’s Divergent Series and Star Wars that fit right into the storyline without even skipping a beat. It flowed so nicely together.
Okay, without spoiling anything I thought the Shadows were really awesome! The whole concept behind them and how they work was just cool. I wish that we could use the shadows in real life (or maybe in a really cool video game or something!)
At first, I admit, that I did not like Sachi. She was whiny and miserable. I know her best friend died and all, but the book takes place 6 months after his death. She seemed like a lazy character when it came to development. Once strange things begin happening to her, she changes (for the better). She keeps her stubborn attitude, but she becomes a well-developed character that I actually was rooting for when everything was going wrong.
Things I Don’t Like:
The Beginning is Confusing
Now, this is the first sci-fi/fantasy book I have read in awhile, so maybe this is true across the board, but I was confused. I kept reading and reading and nothing was making sense. What’s a Tracker? A Shadow? A glamour? Nothing is elaborated on until closer to the middle of the book. It felt weird to continue reading without having any clue what was truly going on. When everything came out, though, it all made sense. (So I only didn’t like this at the beginning of the book.)
No Sense of Place
I know it takes place in Melbourne, Australia. That much is mentioned quite a few times throughout the book. But nothing about the writing made it seem like I was in Australia. It felt very American with all of the movie and pop references. Sometimes there are even references to other countries. I never really felt as if I was in Australia.
Sometimes chapter headings are useful and provide direction to the story. The ones in this book did not do anything to help the story. They just stated a single line that was in the chapter. It was nothing special. By the end, I stopped reading them because I knew they were pointless.
Nothing Wrapped Up
This is the first book of the series, I get it. But not one issue that the characters faced was resolved. In fact, it seemed more issues came up at the end. It was frustrating to get through the entire book only for the characters to be slightly closer to confronting the issue.
Now, to me, an epilogue concludes the story that the characters faced in the book. This was not the case. This epilogue focused on an entirely new set of characters that were never mentioned in the book at all. It was out of nowhere and honestly just one more thing to add to the characters to do list in the next book.
Overall, Out of the Shadows had a rough start in the beginning, but turned the tables and had a fantastic finish. The characters were well-developed and the quirks really grew on me. The writing style was fresh and flowed very well. Although there were a few hiccups within the story, I still think this is a really great first book to a good series. I give Out of the Shadows…
Thank you, Ashlee Bye for giving me the opportunity to read and review your book!
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