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Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness. And it was not Alodia.

Alodia is the crown princess of the realm. The sister who knows how to rule, and the one who is constantly reminded that she has not been marked for a grand destiny. But Alodia has plans, and she will be the greatest queen her people have ever known. So she travels--with her hopeless, naïve, chosen sister--to a distant part of their land, to begin to secure her supporters. This region needs its princesses, for it is plagued with a curse. The crops don't grow, the spring doesn't arrive, and a fierce jaguar stalks the shadows, leaving only empty homes splashed with blood behind. If Alodia can save them, no one will be able to deny her strength and her sovereignty.

But what she discovers could change the fate of her kingdom, if not her world. And it will most certainly change her opinion of her younger sister.

"The Shadow Cats" is a prequel to the riveting Fire and Thorns trilogy: Book One, The Girl of Fire and Thorns; Book Two, The Crown of Embers; and Book Three, The Bitter Kingdom.

54 pages, Kindle Edition

First published July 17, 2012

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About the author

Rae Carson

35 books5,860 followers
Rae Carson was born in 1973 in California and now lives in Arizona. She developed an enthusiasm for storytelling in her earliest childhood. She studied social sciences and worked in various industries after graduating from university before she realized her dream and became a writer. The Girl of Fire and Thorns is her debut novel.

In her own words, she "write[s] books about teens who must do brave things. [Her] books tend to contain lots of adventure, a little magic and romance, and smart girls who make (mostly) smart choices. [She] especially love[s] to write about questions [she doesn't] know the answers to."

Has also published as Rae Carson Finlay.

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5 stars
923 (23%)
4 stars
1,460 (37%)
3 stars
1,265 (32%)
2 stars
236 (6%)
1 star
47 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 292 reviews
December 25, 2019
Papá insisted she come along, that a wedding celebration would get her away from the musty books and rotting manuscripts she loves so much, give her a chance to see more of the kingdom. (c)
She reads widely and wisely, and knows an uncanny amount about those things with which she has little personal experience. (c)
Reading can only take you so far, up to the moment where you must take action with your own hands. (c)
Profile Image for Katerina  Kondrenko.
498 reviews825 followers
December 31, 2020
5 out of 10

ревью на русском/review in russian

I dislike Alodia and this bonus didn't change my mind. She may be brave and clever and so on, but I can't stand her presence and attitude. In this bonus, she continues to be ashamed of her sister, to feel love-hate toward her, and to be Miss Ideal. Boring. Her story became something interesting only next to the ending (thanks to the guy she doesn't deserve to have as her friend). That's what I think about Elisa's sibling.

PS: Maybe glory for saving people, on which Alodia let to put her sister's hands, was supposed to show us her love, I don't know. For me, it seemed like a charity.

Fire and Thorns (Шипы и огонь):
The Shadow Cats (Призрачные кошки) #0.5/3
The Shattered Mountain (Треснувшая гора) #0.6/3
The King's Guard (Королевский гвардеец) #0.7/3
The Girl of Fire and Thorns (Книга шипов и огня) #1/3
The Crown of Embers (Корона из пепла) #2/3
— The Bitter Kingdom (Жестокое царство) #3/3
Profile Image for Deborah.
3,287 reviews428 followers
May 25, 2018

I wish I’d read this before the trilogy.

While there’s nothing really new here it gives us a look at Alodia and Elisa. We understand a little more why Alodia is so harsh with her and why Elisa feels as if her sister hates her.

This turned out to be a nice quick read.
Profile Image for Ferdy.
944 reviews1,088 followers
January 2, 2015
A bit of a pointless novella, it didn't really add anything to the series. Also, I hated Alodia, I was expecting her POV to flesh out her character and portray her in better light but if anything she came across even worse. She was needlessly mean to her younger sister, Elisa, no wonder Elisa was insecure and down on herself in the main novels, she'd had to put up with her bitchy sister's non-stop snide remarks and looks whilst growing up. It was hardly Elisa's fault she'd been coddled and sheltered, maybe Alodia should have stopped bitching about her sister and instead guided her and helped her. The cow.
Hope the other novellas in the series are better than this one.
Profile Image for Natália Lopes.
559 reviews45 followers
January 11, 2019
"Reading can only take you so far, up to the moment where you must take action with your own hands."
This novella is set before the actual first novel and explores one of the characters we've seen only briefly in the beginning and gives depth to her character, to her relationship with Elisa and expand the world Rae Carson created by developing more of Elisa's home-kingdom. This is hopefully a sign we'll see more of it in the next installments of the trilogy, and I'm excited to have Alodia, the main character here and Elisa's sister, interact with her now more mature, confident and queenly sister. And I can't wait to see how she fared after the events of book one.
Profile Image for Maggie ☘.
525 reviews648 followers
December 17, 2017
This was great additional short story of Fire and Thorns series. While it's definitely my least favourite of the three novellas, I still enjoyed being in this world and meeting few of the characters once again. I was never the biggest fan of Alodia in the trilogy (especially the impersonal, quite cold way she acted toward her sister), so I'm glad that I was able to read from her POV and understand her a litte bit more. Short stories recommended for fans of the trilogy.
Profile Image for Alaina.
5,945 reviews215 followers
November 9, 2017
This novella was so good! I've been dying to read this series and I'm beyond happy that I started with the novellas. I think this whole world that this book is set in is pretty freaking interesting. I loved all of the characters so much. I kind of feel like Alodia has a crush on Zito but that could just be me?!? I feel like my review for this book will be way different from anyone elses because I don't know anything about these characters. I haven't read The Girl of Fire and Thorns yet so my opinions can always change - but right now I love everyone so far. I can't wait to read the next two novellas!
Profile Image for Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁ .
1,255 reviews8,650 followers
May 3, 2020
From Alodia's POV. It takes place before Elisa marries Alejandro, and offers insight into the sisters' relationship, which I particularlly appreciated, being an elder sister myself. I'd had a hard time with how cold and indifferent Alodia came across in the full installments of this series.

It's just a really good novella.
Profile Image for Nadine in NY Jones.
2,704 reviews207 followers
February 15, 2016
This is the first prequel to The Girl of Fire and Thorns, it is from Juana-Alodia's POV, Elisa's older sister (gahhhh dreaded first person present tense AGAIN!). It is short, obviously, so not a lot happens, there is no character development, and not a lot of insight is gained. The year before Elisa was traded in marriage to King Alejandro, she accompanies her sister on a trip to an outlying province for a wedding. A jaguar seems to be stalking the castle and out-lying regions; also, the ground has become mysteriously barren. Join us while Alodia makes a series of stupid decisions and solves the mystery!

I recommend this only to fervent fans of the first book; there are a few interesting tidbits here, most importantly, the reason why Alodia decides that Elisa should be given in marriage to someone powerful (like maybe a king). Alodia doesn't really earn my sympathy here, she's kind of unnecessarily cold and nasty, especially for someone who is supposed to be so refined and intelligent and graceful.
Profile Image for Riley.
447 reviews1 follower
September 29, 2013
This story had an interesting plot, surprisingly packed with mystery and tension despite its brevity. And as always, Carson's world building is impeccable.

However, my problems with the story were that Alodia's narrative voice sounds just like Elisa's; that the relationship between Alodia and Elisa is told instead of shown; and that I do not for a second buy that Alodia (as a crown princess) would either be so reckless, or so well-trained, as to go out into the mountains like that.

But oh well. What makes up for everything is the rich, subtle relationship between Alodia and Zito. That was by far my favorite part.

(Not important, but I thought the idea of the shadow cats sounded a lot like the panther sisters in Laini Taylor's DAYS OF BLOOD AND STARLIGHT. I think it's a coincidence, but I wonder if she and Carson were drawing from similar myths.)

Edited to add: I didn't take this into account for my rating, but I do think $2.99 is too much to charge for such a short story. 99 cents would have been fine.
January 15, 2017
This novella, for me, is a 3.5 stars, very nearly 4. I really enjoyed this little story, and it confirmed to me that I want to read this series. Although, I really want to read more about Alodia & Zito, rather than her sister Elisa. I grew to really like the both of them; tough as nails Alodia, and loyal & brave Zito. He doesn't ever hesitate to server his kingdom, and his princess, even when it costs him even more than he's already given in that service. And Alodia holding him in the highest esteem, refusing to let him give up after a painful blow. I think they're story could be very interesting to follow, hopefully they're mentioned periodically in the series?? I'm hopeful. This was a well written story wrapped up in a small package.
Profile Image for Margaret Boling.
2,184 reviews36 followers
July 19, 2012
7/18/12 ** I had to laugh when I read that this is "Fire & Thorns 0.5."

I thoroughly enjoyed this glimpse into Alodia's head, though I had to keep reminding myself that this was 1) before the first book, AND 2) not from Elisa's perspective.

My take-away: We can't assume that we know what others think about us. It was so interesting to understand that both sisters had so much respect for the other, but each often assumed the worst of the other.

Thanks Rae Carson for giving us this alternative perspective.
Profile Image for C.C. Finlay.
Author 63 books91 followers
July 23, 2012
Even though it's technically a prequel to The Girl Of Fire And Thorns, it's better to read it after. Seeing Elisa from her older sister Alodia's POV adds layers and dimensions to the original book, and the adventure expands the boundaries of the world while standing well enough on its own.

Yes, it's true, I'm married to the author -- but you don't think I would have married her if she wasn't an amazing writer, do you? She's an amazing writer. And this is an excellent addition to the GFT series.
Profile Image for Lady Flo.
204 reviews25 followers
January 4, 2016
Oh, my first finished book of 2016.
As for book itself could have more interesting.
Profile Image for Vi ~ Inkvotary.
638 reviews33 followers
June 13, 2015

Style and Language
A nice and well written short story, that is the first of three that plays ahead of the actual novel The Girl of Fire and Thorns.

With The Shadow Cats we´ll get a closer look at Alodia, Elisa´s elder sister and crown princess of the realm. This story gives the reader a little glimpse about how she thinks and feels about her sister - the chosen one.

The two sisters are on their way to a wedding, but nothing seems to be as expected. The land is dry, looks somehow dead and the people are anything but happy to see them arrive. Within a few hours Alodia and her sister are confronted with a cruel and bloody disappearance of a little girl – and that´s where the actual story begins.
Alodia goes after that mysterious creature called “Shadow Cats” and discovers not only the truth behind it, but also sees her sister in a bit different light.

Rae Carsons language is sensitive, every word is well placed and her great fantasy comes perfectly through.

Alodia is a strong young woman. She doesn´t understand many things when it comes to her sister, the bearer of the God stone. But as heiress to the throne of her country she knows about her duty and to use the very few advantages of her sister to her advantage. The all and ever competition and rivalry between two sisters brings Rae Carson with charm and style to life.

A well written story from The Fire and Thorns Trilogy author, that shows a bit more of Alodia and makes her less mysterious.

Profile Image for Jessica {Litnoob}.
1,158 reviews84 followers
July 22, 2017
This was a cute addition to the series and explained why Alodia, who Elisa thinks hates her, would push her sister to marriage with a king. It didn't add anything to the over all storyline but it was a fun read all the same.
Profile Image for Yvonne (It's All About Books).
1,951 reviews244 followers
August 20, 2018

Finished reading: August 20th 2018

“It’s a beautiful weed,” Elisa answers. “And the perfect flower for you to carry, for it is like the people of Khelia, strong and unstoppable, capable of blooming and thriving where nothing else can grow.”

P.S. Find more of my reviews here.
Profile Image for Jenn.
1,683 reviews288 followers
November 17, 2017
So, I'm pretty much coming into this series blind. I had heard of The Girl of Fire and Thorns and it had been on my to-read list for a few years now, but I just never got around to reading it. Now that I'm starting it, I wanted to read the novellas first since they are the prequels.

I can already say that I love this world that Carson has created. From the religions to the landscape to the magic, it sucked me in and made me excited to know more. I'm not sure how any of these characters fit into the actual series and I quite like that I'm going to be surprised.

Wanting her father to see her as more than just the crowned princess, Alodia sets off to a far region for a wedding and hoping to secure her foundation as future Queen by allowing the people to see that her and the King still care. Also along for the journey is Alodia younger sister, Elisa. While Elisa will not be Queen, she has been blessed by God with the Godstone and I cannot wait to hear more about this.

The relationship between the sisters is strained, to say the least. Alodia feels that Elisa lacks any sort of drive to do, well, anything. But when they arrive at their destination and find that the lands have been plagued by what the town is calling a curse, Alodia may need her sister more than anything.

What a great introduction to this world and this series and I cannot wait to dive back in.
Profile Image for Victoria.
63 reviews1 follower
December 9, 2017
I finished the Fire and Thorns series one or two years ago (highly recommend!), and I was excited to see there was more to it, despite only being novellas. The Shadow Cats centres around Alodia, Elisa's (the protagonist of the Fire and Thorn series) sister, and how she deals with the troubles brewing in unprivileged areas of the kingdom. It was fascinating to see her relationship with Elisa from her point of view since Alodia was portrayed as the mean, jealous sister in the series. I look forward to reading the King's Guard and the Shattered Mountain (both also novellas/prequels). If you want a short, action-packed addition to the series, this is for you!
Profile Image for Ashlyn.
679 reviews28 followers
December 15, 2017
I really enjoyed this short story. The only reason I am not giving it 5 stars is that I kept forgetting what I had read right before I went to read more of it. Overall, it was a really nice story and I am looking forward to reading the next one.
Profile Image for ضحى الحداد.
Author 3 books614 followers
July 28, 2019
This was a really nice way to introduce the world to us .. I liked Elisa and Juana and Zito, this is a short adventure about a mysterious Jaguar who attacked a village while princess Juana was visiting a royal soldier for his wedding .. fast paced and nice
Profile Image for Amber.
622 reviews48 followers
June 25, 2018
Wow, short but really intense! I can’t wait to read more. I wouldn’t want to get on that older sister’s bad side. She’s a force to be reckoned with!
Profile Image for YA Novelties.
166 reviews52 followers
August 17, 2012
Check out this review on our blog!

The Girl of Fire and Thorns ended on such an exciting note, so when I heard The Shadow Cats was to be released, I instantly made this a must-read. Rae Carson has done a splendid job of world-building in The Girl of Fire and Thorns, incorporating Spanish and Catholic influences into a fantasy world and she has continued the expansion in the prequel as well.

The Shadow Cats expands on the strained relationship between Elisa and Alodia that is brushed on The Girl of Fire and Thorns. The tension between the two is explained, as well as the surprising amount of emotion that Alodia shows when Elisa leaves their home to another land to be queen in The Girl of Fire and Thorns.

The intensity between the girls is one that is thought-provoking. It can be seen that Alodia is the more responsible of the two, and she knows that. Because of this, Alodia resents Elisa for her naive and gluttonous outlook on life. Elisa receives all of the attention because she is the bearer of the godstone, while Alodia has to work for the attention she receives. I enjoyed seeing how each sister foiled each other, which is emphasized throughout The Shadow Cats.

There were parts of the novella that made me feel that the condensed novella was too short. During the action scenes, the descriptions, dialogue, pretty much everything was rushed and finished off quickly. Disappointment is an understatement of my reaction when I reached the final page of The Shadow Cats. Although there are hints of Elisa and Alodia working together in future books, I just felt let down. There should have been more development on how Alodia's opinion of Elisa changed exactly.

Even though The Shadow Cats was somewhat of a letdown, I really enjoyed diving back into the world of Fire and Thorns. I cannot deny the thrill of re-entering the world of danger and character maturation that occurs in The Shadow Cats. The prospect of seeing Elisa and Alodia together again in The Crown of Embers is definitely one of my many reasons to get my hands on it as soon as possible. The Shadow Cats is a great companion novella to the epic The Girl of Fire and Thorns that I would recommend for all Fire and Thorn lovers.

Angie @YA Novelties
Profile Image for Bonnie (A Backwards Story).
416 reviews224 followers
August 11, 2019
Good news, bookworms! THE SHADOW CATS is a prequel, so you don't need to have ever read Rae Carson before to pick this one up! It's a great introduction to Carson's writing style and the way she brings her characteres and world to life, giving you a taste of what you've been missing out on!

I sat on THE SHADOW CATS until right before THE CROWN OF EMBERS came out. I wanted to read it, then re-read THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS, then read THE CROWN OF EMBERS. It took me longer than expected to get through it all due to the turmoil of the past few weeks, but I've done what I set out to do!

Can I just say: I would LOVE to see more from Alodia. She really doesn't have a place in the series anymore, though Rae Carson may bring her in for THE BITTER KINGDOM next year. Alodia may not have an epic journey of her own, but she's still a character full of merit and, at the very least, I would love to buy another novella featuring her.

One of the things that draws me to Carson as a writer is the way she fleshes out characters and makes you fall in love with them. You know their wishes, fears, and hopes. We've seen Alodia's character through Elisa's eyes and had our opinions about her formed, but reading THE SHADOW CATS changes everything. Now, we see Elisa through Alodia's eyes, and it's a really interesting look at the girl we've all come to know and love. We also get a peek at what makes Alodia tick, and I really grew attached to her in the short amount of time I was with her. If only novellas were longer!

THE SHADOW CATS is as full of heart-thumping adventure as the two full novels are, and Carson again breathes her own mythology into the piece, creating a lore about creatures terrorizing a region. Carson has again given us a strong female heroine who kicks butt in a huge way. Alodia and Elisa are both feisty princesses, and easy to love as characters. I really do hope to see more of Alodia in the future!
Profile Image for Amelia.
344 reviews60 followers
July 18, 2014
Originally posted on The Authoress: Book Review and More.

I'm a big fan of Rae Carson's debut, The Girl of Fire and Thorns. When I saw this one, I immediately rushed to buy it, even though I've never bought anything on my Kindle before. This historic buy was not disappointed. Rae Carson packs a lot of plot and character development into the equivalent of 54 printed pages. This time, we see Elisa through the eyes of her sister, Alodia as they encounter a problem in a remote part of their kingdom.

I was struck by the immediate sense of character. Within the first few pages, I felt well acquainted with Alodia, and because she is so self righteous, it was with a put-upon kind of amusement that I observed her character. She had so little faith in Elisa, it was disheartening, but I liked the transformation that goes down throughout the story.

And the story was a well-rounded one at that. Well-rounded, yet leaving a taste for more. The plot was exciting and coupled with Rae Carson's eloquent writing style, the shock factor of some of the twists actually made me gasp.

A reader doesn't have to have the history of The Girl of Fire and Thorns to get a grip on this novella. For those of you who have read The Girl of Fire and Thorns, this novella provides a great insight into Alodia's character, something that isn't really offered in the full-length book. It isn't exactly a refresher course of the book, however, since it takes place when Elisa is younger and her journey hasn't really started.

An amazing story; I don't regret the three bucks I spent on it.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 292 reviews

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