Thursday, January 17, 2019

YA Book Review: Circle of Shadows by Evelyn Skye

Circle of Shadows
Author: Evelyn Skye
Series: Circle of Shadows (Book 1)
Publication: Balzer + Bray (January 22, 2019)

Description: A thrilling new fantasy series full of magic and betrayal—from Evelyn Skye, New York Timesbestselling author of the Crown’s Game series.

Sora can move as silently as a ghost and hurl throwing stars with lethal accuracy. Her gemina, Daemon, can win any physical fight blindfolded and with an arm tied around his back. They are apprentice warriors of the Society of Taigas—marked by the gods to be trained in magic and the fighting arts to protect the kingdom of Kichona.

As their graduation approaches, Sora and Daemon look forward to proving themselves worthy of belonging in the elite group—but in a kingdom free of violence since the Blood Rift Rebellion many years ago, it’s been difficult to make their mark.

So when Sora and Daemon encounter a strange camp of mysterious soldiers while on a standard scouting mission, they decide the only thing to do to help their kingdom is to infiltrate the group. Taking this risk will change Sora’s life forever—and lead her on a mission of deception that may fool everyone she’s ever loved.

Love, spies, and adventure abound as Sora and Daemon unravel a complex web of magic and secrets that might tear them—and the entire kingdom—apart forever.

My Thoughts: This was an entertaining start to a new fantasy series with a faintly Japanese flavor. Sora and Daemon are geminas - linked as companions - in the Society of Taigas. Taigas are fighters trained in both magic and fighting skills to protect the Empress and the kingdom of Kichona.

Since the new Empress took over, after a fight with her twin brother that almost brought the kingdom to war and killed Sora's little sister, the kingdom has been idyllic - peaceful and prosperous. Sora has had an easy time of her training. Her magic comes easily to her unlike her gemina Daemon who is a gifted fighter physically but not very good at magic. Sora has a motto - Work hard, mischief harder - which means she doesn't try very hard.

When she and Daemon encounter a mysterious camp, they learn that the defeated Prince Gin didn't die is the revolution twelve years earlier but, instead, survived and learned a frightening new kind of magic. He has returned to conquer Kichona and change it to match his vision for the future. He worships Zomuri who promises to make Kichona a paradise if only he'll sacrifice two hundred people for their hearts and embark on a plan of conquest of other countries.

Prince Gin has his own loyal taigas but he also has a way to brainwash anyone else who crosses his path and is thus building an army as he moves toward the capitol. Sora becomes brainwashed until she is rescued by Daemon who is uniquely immune to the Prince's magic.

Unable to convince the leaders of the Society that Prince Gin is back, they sneak out of the city to try to find more proof. Sora is captured again and this time is taught the new ryuu magic. She also learns that what she thought happened during the first revolution isn't true.

This was an action-packed start to a series with well-drawn, interesting characters and a well-developed fantasy world. Fans of adventure and magic will enjoy this one.

Favorite Quote:
She looked away and clapped him on the back to break through her own awkwardness. :Then let's do it. Let's be the best taigas in Society history. Let's go be legendary."
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from Edelweiss. You can buy your copy here.

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