THE SHADOWS BETWEEN US, by Tricia Levenseller , Feiwel & Friends, Feb. 25, 2020, Hardcover, $17.99 (young adult)
Occasionally you come across a book with main characters that you don’t particularly like but somehow find compelling. That’s the case with The Shadows Between Us, by Tricia Levenseller.
Alessandra is used to playing second fiddle to her older sister, but she’s got plans. Plans that will ensure everyone knows who she is.
Her plan is simple — woo the Shadow King, marry him, kill him and take the kingdom for herself.
It might sound ambitious, but Alessandra has been preparing for this for a long time. From catching his attention to drawing him in, she knows exactly what to do. But Alessandra’s not the only one who has a grand design.
As Alessandra becomes more ensconced at court, she finds herself trying to keep the Shadow King alive long enough for him to make her his queen. Despite all her efforts, Alessandra is falling for him, and if she’s not careful, she could lose everything, including her own life.
The first sentence of The Shadow Between Us is, “They’ve never found the body of the first and only boy who broke my heart. And they never will.” From there, readers are introduced to Tricia Levenseller’s Alessandra. Alessandra is cunning, cruel and calculated. She’s not what I’d call likeable, but she’s infinitely interesting. No one is more surprised that Alessandra herself that her ability to care for others evolves over time.
While I never came to fully like Levenseller’s main character I appreciated her. The same can be said for the Shadow King who is ruthless in his own right. He actually became the more sympathetic of the two characters. The two are a good match that have to be exactly who they are for the book to work.
And The Shadows Between Us does work. Levenseller is a fantastic world builder, and her descriptions of fashion and food are particularly vivid.
I wouldn’t recommend The Shadows Between Us for younger YA, but readers 14 and up will certainly enjoy it. As will adult readers. I was a huge fan of Levenseller’s Daughter of the Pirate King, and I can’t wait to see what else she has to offer.
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