The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller hadn’t been on my radar when I first began 2020. Going through Goodreads’ giveaways was how I happened upon it, read the synopsis, and decided that if I didn’t win (which is 100% of the time) then I would need to get it. I ended up preordering and reading it almost immediately, so what did I think? Possible spoilers ahead since this book isn’t exactly very long.
Alessandra has always been second in her family, never her father’s favorite, and never put first. When her sister is finally to be married she gets her one chance to catch the eye of the elusive Shadow King, and try to woo him. For her though, it doesn’t stop there. Alessandra isn’t out just to marry the King, but to kill him and take his throne. Nothing is as easy as it seems as she finds out that she isn’t the only one to want him dead, nor are her secrets as taken care of as she thought.
Overall Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars
This was a really enjoyable read, it had me hooked from the beginning when we learn that our main character has killed before and could do it again. That first line got me wondering what on earth I had preordered, and how it would all end, which is really what we all want on the first page of any book. I think the biggest thing to point out before going headlong into this review is that this wasn’t the perfect read, nor was it insanely detailed or intricate. It’s a quick stand alone with a dark romance, and a female protagonist who rails against the society she was born into.
I guess to get this going, let’s start with the bad for me at least; the MC. Alessandra is a nobleman’s daughter but acts in a way that is counter to what is typically expected. This fact isn’t necessarily bad, it’s actually one of her better qualities as she manages to look further at others than the superficial reputation nobles tend to maintain. It can go both ways with her as she does this with friends, foes, and tossed aside lovers. The bad side to her, or rather my biggest quip with Alessandra is that we get this huge glimpse into a darkness; she’s killed before and has almost no remorse. We get that she was spurned by a lover, but it takes an enormous amount of hurt/dejectedness to do this, and then it becomes that skeleton in your closet. As far as we see though, she was angry before murder, but just power hungry after? She’s got all these lovers that she tosses away and uses leverage against, but we never once see her feeling traumatized by her actions. The book is a stand alone, and short, but I felt like it would have been interesting to have her really grapple with what she had done regardless of being found out or not.
The characters and world were alright overall, this wasn’t one of those stand alones where it left a lasting mark in world building. Instead, you get enough sense of the world and how it’s structured to know where the character is, where she’s been, and the danger around her. Beyond that, I’d say it took a backstage approach, letting us focus on Alessandra and the Shadow King. These are the two most fleshed out characters we get to see, which makes sense given that they are the protagonists, though I tended to like the Shadow King more than Alessandra. Where she seemed to be like the Queen of death and blackmail, he had another side beyond what he shows to the world. I think I was actually disappointed in his general darkness given his name, but that might have been how his character was promoted for this book. Overall, this was a really quick and addictive book to read. I definitely needed something like this given how my reading this year has gone, so I was ecstatic to be reading this book so fast!
Have you read the Shadows Between Us? What were your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below!