Sisters of Shadow

Sisters of Shadow by Katherine Livesey is a coming-of-age fantasy. Alice has been kidnapped and her best friend Lily is going to find her.

All quotes are from an advanced reader copy and may or may not reflect the published edition.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

From Goodreads:

All she knew was vengeance…

Alice has lived in the forest on the fringes of Alder Vale ever since her parents abandoned her. Alone, exiled, feared by all. All except Lily.

But something is stirring beyond the mountains, whispers of spectres stalking the moors, women of unfathomable power luring children into a cult that has haunted local lore for a generation.

Then, in the dead of night, Alice receives a letter promising answers to the questions that have always tormented her. And so she meets Grace. The red-cloaked cultist pledged to protect her, a scarred warrior born of storm and sea, the girl who will steal her heart.

Anne of Green Gables meets His Dark Materials in this whimsical fantasy adventure following the unlikely alliance between an apothecary, a witch, a warrior, and a witch-hunter. Perfect for fans of Garth Nix, Natasha Ngan, and Diana Wynne Jones.

“Tomorrow she would rescue Alice, or she would die trying.”

Reviewing this story is difficult for me, as it has all the elements of things I like. The usage and execution of those things, however, fell flat on its face. The pacing of this doesn’t seem to make much sense, and I tended to find it jarring. Things would happen quickly, in a blink and you miss it kind of way. Then, things would slow back down to a snail’s pace- or we would switch points of view.

“Beware the lighthouse keepers, for they will hear you weep.”

This book is marketed as a YA, and the romance in it can indicate why. The way the characters act though feels much more akin to middle grade. Even the tension, or lack thereof, felt more aligned with middle grade. I was waiting for the pacing and the tension to start to make sense and inherently make me care more about everyone involved. This never happened. When the book ended, I was surprised that that was it.

“Grace Rafferty felt like home.”

I really wanted to like this story. It’s queer, it has witches, there is an evil society of power-hungry people. Yet, the writing really didn’t allow me to enjoy it to its fullest extent. There was nothing wrong per se with the book- but it felt like reading the second draft rather than an almost final edition. It could have done well with more fleshing out, and a little bit more aging up of the character interactions.

“Beware those evil Lighthouse keepers, for tonight it’s your blood they’ll spill.”

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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