TO KILL A SHADOW, by Katherine Quinn, Entangled: Teen, Nov. 28, 2023, Hardcover, $19.99 (young adult, ages 14 and up)
A young woman takes her brother’s place in a fight against a deadly mist in To Kill a Shadow, a romantic fantasy by Katherine Quinn.
Jude Maddox knows nothing of love or even light. He knows only his grim duty as the Hand of Death, to lead the Knights of the Eternal Star into a land filled with nightmares and certain demise. It’s only when he sees her―a young woman with wild, amber eyes who’s as fierce, defiant, and swift as the shadow beasts themselves―that he feels the warmth of life in his blood…
The other Knights may fear their lethal commander, with his hard, merciless demeanor. Outcast Kiara Frey sees only a leader, a man who knows how to survive. Someone like her. But wanting him is as treacherous as the shadows themselves…and just as seductive.
With a kingdom on the verge of collapse, the Knights must now venture into the darkest heart of the land and uncover the secrets of the misted shadows, where evil will prey upon their minds and feast on their flesh.
It will betray their senses.
It will surpass their nightmares.
Most of them will die.
But they have no other choice. Because the only way to fight the darkness…is to become it. —Synopsis provided by Entangled: Teen
To Kill a Shadow is a dark fantasy that seemingly has it all — romance, dry humor, action, mystery, deadly creatures, unique mythology and epic battles.
The story unfolds from the alternating points of view of Jude and Kiara. Commander and recruit. Both have traumatic pasts and the scars to show it. Both are hiding secrets. And they both dream of a life where the sun shines. In them, author Katherine Quinn has created two compelling protagonists that can easily stand on their own but work better when together.
Quinn brings Jude and Kiara to life in a complex world that is expertly crafted. Her clever use of the mist as almost a third character allows information to be obscured and revealed when the timing is just right. It becomes the undercurrent that connects everything together.
At just under 450 pages, To Kill a Shadow is not short, but Quinn’s strong pacing keeps the action moving forward. And there are plenty of plot twists to keep you guessing. It’s a compelling fantasy that’s a good choice for older young adults (ages 14 and up).
To Kill a Shadow is a romance, and Quinn definitely uses physical and emotional tension to amp that up. However, it’s fairly chaste on the physical side, and doesn’t really go beyond kissing. On the other hand, the violence may be too much for some. The story also includes murder, blood, fictional hallucinogens, suicide, descriptions of past parental violence toward a child, and descriptions of past torture.
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