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A Tale of Light and Shadow (A Tale of Light and Shadow #1)

3.61  ·  Rating Details ·  156 Ratings  ·  51 Reviews
Enter Atolas, a world where swords and daggers both extend life and end it, where magic is feared by all but a few, and where feuds and friendships influence kingdoms and courtships. Henry and Isabelle have secretly sworn to marry despite his lowly station. Though Henry is but a carpenter, his devotion drives him to commit an unthinkable act that may cost both of them ...more
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published September 9th 2014 by Shadow Mountain (first published September 2nd 2014)
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Aug 28, 2015 Terence rated it it was ok
Henry is a wealthy carpenter who wishes to marry the Isabelle from a pauper noble family. There is genuine love between the two, but unfortunately there is also a heinously evil father Lord Oslan between them. Lord Oslan is prideful, poor, and has no friends. For some reason he worries about what people think of him, but the truth is everyone who knows him hates him. Since Henry isn't a noble despite his wealth and the dowry he'd pay for Isabelle, Lord Oslan refuses to give Henry the right to ...more
Tressa (Wishful Endings)
I really enjoyed the prequel novella and first book in this series, but I can honestly say that book two, Secrets of Neverak, blew me away! I was engaged, consumed, and on the edge of my seat from the first page to the end. What would the characters do? What would happen? Would they all be safe in the end? From reading the first book, I knew that I couldn't count on everyone staying safe, so I was a little worried about where the story would lead and who would be there in the end. The journey ...more
Lisa  (Bookworm Lisa)
This book has a little bit of everything: Romance, Adventure, Action, Mystery, Magic... I can tell that it is well thought out. Jacob Gowans does a wonderful job at laying the foundations while keeping the story moving. There are plots within plots. It is intriguing how it all works and flows together.

I was pulled into the world of Atolas from the beginning. Henry and Isabelle have a strong love for each other. Unfortunately, her father will do anything to tear them apart, including selling her
I was hooked on this book from the beginning! Henry and Isabelle are in love but there are forces in play to keep them apart, starting with Isabelle's father. When the Emperor turns his attention to Isabelle, protecting her becomes Henry's focus, so they take off to find safety in another land. Henry and Isabelle are joined by some great characters: Henry's sister, Maggie, Isabelle's brother, James, Henry's childhood friend, Ruther, and Henry's apprentice, Brandol (Henry is a carpenter). I loved ...more
Sep 11, 2015 Sheila rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I first started reading this book I felt confused and it dragged to me. I put it down for a few weeks and read other things. One weekend I picked it up again, started from the beginning,and once I got to chapter three(22 pages into the book) the story took off!! Please don't give up on this book, because there is a very impressive story hiding within the pages of A Tale of Light and Shadow! I was amazed at the plot, the unforgettable characters, and the realism of life portrayed in this YA ...more
Kj Partridge
Sep 18, 2014 Kj Partridge rated it really liked it
I found this to be a wonderfully written story about friendship, loyalties, and love, all wrapped up in an adventure. I loved seeing the interactions of the friends as they were on the run, trying to stay sane and figure everything out. I loved being able to picture this book in my head, to see the same things the characters were. My husband was laughing at me because I talked to the characters as I read, he gets so amused. He says that is the way he knows I really like the book.
I would very mu
Dec 08, 2015 Trinna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Fun storyline. Kind of a princess bride- like fairytale without the eccentricity. I loved reading through each characters point of view. Eager to have Malia read it.
Oct 20, 2016 Rita rated it liked it
I listened to this book. Not a bad story. But if you read this, you'll have to read the second one since it ends an a cliffhanger.
Zachary Flye (Zach's YA Reviews)
Thanks to Shadow Mountain Publishing for providing me with a copy to review

Actual Rating 3.5 stars


Characters: This book has a rather large ensemble cast. There are six characters on the run from the King's Guard, one dark and evil emperor, and a narrator of sort who begins this book in first person. I'm not sure if the first person narrator at the beginning of the book was a way for the author to write himself into his own story or if there's some deeper meaning behind it. As for the six
Marsha Stokes
Jan 03, 2015 Marsha Stokes rated it liked it
While Scott and I were at Comic Con last April (technically FanX, but only real geeks care details like that...) I was waiting in line for Brandon Mull to sign my copy of Beyonders and I passed another table where author Jacob Gowans was signing and handing out FREE copies of his new book, A Tale of Shadow and Light. They were advanced reader copies, and the book is actually not scheduled to be released until the middle of September. It took me a little while to find time to read this because I ...more
Sep 11, 2014 Rhonda rated it really liked it
4 stars

I enjoyed reading A Tale of Light and Shadow. I was expecting more of the fantasy angle to the story. It hints at it. The dark prophecy I might have missed it if it was mentioned besides the back cover. Their is more to the story than this first book. It is easy to follow and want more of these characters in the future.

The characters are easy to like. Henry, Isabelle, Ruther, Maggie and James all went to school together. Henry, and Maggie's mother taught them. Henry and Isabelle fell in
Sep 16, 2014 Trimble rated it really liked it
Actual rating is 4 1/2 stars.

Henry and Isabelle have known each other their entire lives and for much of it have loved each other. Their "happily ever after" is close enough to touch, but it quickly slips away thanks to someone who should only have their best interest in mind. That's not to say that they'll sit idly by and let it disappear without a fight.

Jacob Gowans sets up a great series with A Tale of Light and Shadow. This compelling story includes action and adventure, devotion and betray
Tina Peterson
Nov 17, 2014 Tina Peterson rated it really liked it
I don't think I would classify A Tale of Light and Shadow necessarily as a fantasy. As I read I kept thinking that the writing reminded me much of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women or Little Men in the quality of the writing. Or perhaps JRR Tolkein for the shear level of detail and the smoothness of the writing. At first the level of the writing and detail kept my attention and I was constantly amazed that for a kids book (age 14+) it was so easy to read. I did find as I got to about chapter 3-4 ...more
Sep 22, 2015 Davis rated it it was amazing
This book is about a man, named Henry, that has fallen in love with Isabelle, a girl he has known since his childhood. You follow an unfortunate series of events that ultimately makes Henry and Isabelle leave the country. On the way they pick up Isabelle's brother, James, who is a soldier in the king's guard, Ruther, Henry's best friend, Maggie, Henry's sister and Brandol, Henry's apprentice. As you read you follow Henry and co. through the country of Blithemore, as they narrowly escape the ...more
Dena (Batch of Books)
Sep 22, 2014 Dena (Batch of Books) rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, fantasy
The cover for this book is somewhat misleading. It has the appearance of an action packed middle grade fantasy with lots of magic and scary creatures, but this book is mostly a love story. It's about Henry and Isabelle and their desperate wish to get married, in spite of everything working against them. While there are some suspenseful scenes in the book, it mainly focuses on the power of friendship, forgiveness, and love. Once I adjusted my expectations, I liked the story a lot.

A Tale of Light
Kandice Newren
Dec 28, 2014 Kandice Newren rated it liked it
I got this book for free at a conference and really enjoyed it. The story is of Henry, a well respected carpenter, and Isabelle, a poor aristocrat. Her father will not allow the match and sells his daughter as a concubine to the king of a neighboring kingdom. Henry risks his life to save Isabelle, and inadvertently draws family and friends into the fight. Most of the book is with Henry and group on the run.
The characters are very believable. You have a honest carpenter who is forced into a leade
Nov 18, 2014 John rated it really liked it
I am a fan of Jacob Gowans other books and was not disappointed with his latest book, "A Tale of Light and Shadow." The book was a perfect balance of adventure, humor, and romance. I enjoyed reading it with my wife. It would make a great read for the whole family.

While the story is obviously a fantasy, the fantasy portion is very light, which opens the book up to those who don't normally appreciate that genre.

The characters are relatable and believable. My only point of criticism is that the c
Monica at The Readathon
I liked this book. It's unique and creative. I liked the characters and thought they were well developed. I especially liked Henry and Isabelle. James has a bit of mystery surrounding him, along with Ruther. Each of these characters makes you wonder what they are up to. I like the writing style, although it is not a fast read. I liked the descriptions in the book, and I liked the lessons learned by the characters. There is some violence, a very drunk character, and one of the characters is sold ...more
Dec 17, 2014 Belann rated it liked it
We had the author of A Tale of Light and Shadow, Jacob Gowans, come to speak to our book groups and 6th grade ELA classes at our school. He gave a delightful presentation, involving the students in using the elements of story. The book, A Tale of Light and Shadow, is equally delightful. It was, for me, a little hard to get into the story, but once I did, I found myself deeply interested in the characters, Isabelle, Henry, Ruther, James, Maggie, and Brandol. The author said he wanted to create a ...more
Sep 07, 2015 Shauna rated it it was amazing
Intriguing beginning! I SO LOVED IT!

A storyteller comes in and has an audience waiting for him to spin a fantastic tale.

The next chapter starts as if you are in the audience listening to his tale of a young man and a young woman who are in love and are trying to figure out how to convince the father to give his blessing for marriage.

The father is conniving and has a different plan--

In the process the girl gets poisoned, they go on the run and a small band of friends end up traveling together.

Dec 22, 2014 MaryLynn rated it liked it
This wasn't a bad book, and I probably would have given it four stars if the blurbs on the back and inside of the cover hadn't been so misleading. I spent the entire book waiting for anything that resembled the blurbs to happen, and NOTHING! I hate when a book is sold under false pretenses. And like I said, it wasn't a bad read just the way it was--I was just expecting something different. And at the end you realize it is going to be a series. And judging by how slowly things happened and how ...more
Amy Andrys
Sep 17, 2014 Amy Andrys rated it it was amazing
This is one of my favorite authors! I could talk all day about his Psion series but I'll let you read it for yourself. Honestly, I only read this book because I was waiting on another book in the Psion series to be released & I wanted more from this author. A Tale Of Light & Shadow has everything! From magic to friendship to love, it's full of adventure! I absolutely recommend it to everyone! I read upwards of 50 books a year & Jacob Gowans is by far my favorite author since J.K. ...more
Lynette ~ Escaping Reality – One Book at a Time ~
Check out my full review HERE:

From the very first chapter, this epic fantasy enchanted me, intrigued me, and pulled me into the world. The rest of the book didn't disappoint - I loved it! It was the author's first written book, and that is noticeable at times, but I always cut debuts a little bit of extra slack. If you like The Princess Bride story feel, quirky characters, and crazy adventures, then A Tale of Light and Shadow is the book for you! I loved
Jan 06, 2016 Sarah rated it it was amazing
I love this book so much! It was so well written. It makes the reader question their own morals with the events Henry and Isabelle are faced with. I absolutely loved and hated every turn that brought new problems and turned the story in directions you could never have predicted. Such great writing! I have so many feelings with this book, I can't even begin to explain my love for this book and loathing for the evil characters. Jacob Gowans knows how to create characters with the blackest of ...more
Sep 10, 2014 Cathy rated it it was amazing
This book had me hooked from the very beginning. I loved how it began with a simple scribe coming to hear a story teller and write down what he says. When the story teller begins his tale I was entranced. It was as if I had been transported to the world of Atolas and personally knew Isabelle and Henry. I loved every minute of reading this book, it's full of action, adventure, love, friendship and betrayal. I loved the characters, they're very well written. I was truly sad when this amazing book ...more
Brent Mair
Nov 24, 2014 Brent Mair rated it really liked it
Well written. I love the prose. Hate prologues like in this book. It doesn't add to the story, it is just silly. I'd ban prologues if I were King of the Books. The writing was intriguing but the unfolding of the story was pretty mundane and slow.

Still, I enjoyed it. I loved the writing, and that is probably enough to have me read the second book to see if anything finally happens in the story.
Jan 10, 2016 Bailey rated it really liked it
Shelves: gave-up-on
Caroline kindly warned me that even though this book has an excellent beginning (and it's true, the first four chapters were so exciting and so much fun!), after that the author loses all steam and nothing goes on. So, after chapter four, I saved myself the disappointment and moved on to another book.
Sep 22, 2014 Jamie rated it it was ok
I received a copy of the ARC at BEA.

Eh. I didn't hate it, but I wasn't particularly fond of it either. I was all right for maybe the first 100 pages or so, but after a while I just lost interest. I kept reading because I don't like to not finish books, especially when I have advance copies, but I just couldn't get invested in the story or any of the characters.
Jan 20, 2015 Spencer rated it it was amazing
A great debut for Jacob Gowans! I thoroughly enjoyed the writing style. Also, I enjoyed the characters immensely. What made them interesting was that they didn't click right away. They all had to learn to deal with each other, and that made it seem more realistic. Also, I loved the plot twists and shocking, cliffhanger ending. It makes me want to read more! I can't wait for the next book!
David Kearsley
Jan 06, 2016 David Kearsley rated it liked it
A interesting read. A medieval time period novel with only light fantasy elements: few mentions of strange hybrid creatures and a small amount of magic. A good story about friendship and love. Gets a little slow in the middle but it does pick up towards the end. I really hope the author writes a sequel cause I absolutely hated the ending
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Other Books in the Series

A Tale of Light and Shadow (3 books)
  • The Fool and the Dragonox: A Prequel to A Tale of Light and Shadow
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