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Shadow of the Knife

(Celaeno #1)

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  375 ratings  ·  29 reviews
Militia rookie Ellen Mittal is well aware that the world cannot be reduced to simple questions of black and white, but she has no idea of just how complex and dangerous her life is about to become. The most vicious gang in the Homelands, led by the infamous Butcher, is extending its operations to Roadsend. By her oath as a member of the Militia, Ellen is sworn to uphold th ...more
Paperback, 300 pages
Published February 26th 2008 by Bold Strokes Books
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Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.93  · 
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 ·  375 ratings  ·  29 reviews

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Lex Kent
Mar 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
2017 April Edit: Goodreads has finally put these books in correct chronological order. This is a prequel, so technically book 1, even though it was written long after the others. I thought this book was the least successful of the series, with not a great ending. So people could skip this and start with book 2 Rangers. If you do start here, just don't give up on the series if you don't care for this. The rest of the series is so much better!

This is the first book of this series that I have read.
May 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, f-f
This is definitely one of the best story of the serie !
There was no mystery (not really) for me because I read them on publication order, so already knew the main events and minor characters.
It didn't spoil the reading at all.
The main character was so interesting ! She does some pretty complicated choices and it's hard to believe she's what ? seventeen ? eighteen ?
The romantic relationship was very hot ! Sparks and all.

But the end is heartwrenching. And beautiful.

I really wished there was mo
Feb 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Unlike the previous Celaeno books, Shadow of the Knife isn't as romance-heavy. It also doesn't feature a Ranger as a protagonist, which is surprisingly refreshing. But it doesn't focus on the more SF aspects of the series and fails to mention 1.) the method of reproduction in this world (i.e. Through an Implanter) and 2.) why there are only women in this world. This often leaves the newcomers to this series confused, especially if they have not read the previous books in the series before decidi ...more
Red Haircrow
Dec 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
Although I’d read books by Jane Fletcher before, I initially had difficulty getting into this novel. Granted, it was the fifth book released in the Celaeno series but it actually takes place earlier in the timeline, so it’s a “prequel” of sorts. I usually don’t have a problem accepting new ideas, scenes and storylines, and didn’t with “Shadow of the Knife”. In fact, I actually like being “dropped” into a new world and have to figure things out as I go. Don’t be put-off by the series numbers howe ...more
Here are the interesting parts of this book:
- there don't seem to be any men in the society at all, not even as minor characters, relatives etc
- queerness is assumed, everyone has 2 mothers, everyone dates women, etc
- women are villains and heroes and everything else
- it's sort of swashbuckly and fantasty/scifi-ish

so you'd think i'd like it right? but sadly the writing is rather poor. most of the book seems to be exposition & narration, although interestingly (or, rather, NOT interestingly) ther
Amanda Rosado
Feb 25, 2017 rated it did not like it
I thought the plot was wonderful, the universe full of hinted-at lore, and the characters were great - except for the protag and her love interest. I have never in my life heard of a case of Stockholm syndrome as severe as this. While at first I could chalk up the protag's unwavering devotion to her youth, near the climax of the book it becomes completely unbelievable, harmful, and to me personally, disgusting. I have never been so disappointed by how a protagonist reacted to torture, nor how a ...more
2.5 stars, (view spoiler) ...more
Jan 16, 2017 added it
Shelves: ff
Last part was poop.
This book was really bizarre for me. I admit this was my first attempt at reading a lesbian fantasy novel (albeit accidentally), so I'm not really sure what I should have been expecting.
I should probably explain that the Celaeno universe is all female.... even down to the animals I think, there is a lot of reference to cloned sheep and with humans there are birth mothers and 'gene mothers'.
The love story was also bizarre, **SPOILER ALERT** Ellen seemed uncomfortably addicted to the woman who b
Jan 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
First off, I have to say, if you're thinking of starting this series and you're going to start with this one because it's the first chronologically: don't. Definitely read this series in the order that they were published. At the very least, read The Temple at Landfall first and then do what you want. This book has no set-up for the over arching world/story and if you drop into it here you'll probably end up confused and annoyed.

As for the actual book, I'm honestly too sad to write an actual rev
Nov 09, 2018 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 25, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: qr
As much as I found the rest of this series to be almost okay, I hated this one. The relationship depicted raised many red flags screaming abuse from the beginning, and devolved into Stockholm syndrome in the last part, in an effort to depict the love interest as not utterly evilTM despite her choices in life, which fails miserably in its simplistic-ness and superficiality. I was also never involved in the main conflict, and found all the supposed twists to be obvious almost as soon as they were ...more
Rahnuma Khan
Sep 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-series
3.5 star
this book surely the slow book i mean I have struggle to read it... but the problem is with me I hardly leave book unread and this book make me some how angry or I can say irritated haha but after 170 or so I like the book that the only time I read it with intrest without yawning 😂 so it's over all nice I guess hehe I don't know when I'm going to read other from this series for sure
Oct 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
i love lesbians
May 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.8 star rating
Having read one of this series prior, I have to admit this author knows her craft. There is much intrigues, memorable characters and plots to keep you going to the very last page.
The tragic love story, the deception, the uncertain fate... God, this ending is killing me.
May 08, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: lesbian-fiction
I liked this book overall until it got to the end. I'm just not buying the romance part of it at the end at all. ...more
Nov 03, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: own
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 19, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: lesbian-fantasy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars, and while I'm not sure it's my favorite Jane Fletcher book, it is her best written. It does not follow the usual trope; you'll think it is, but it will not.

For those seeking closure, see inside the spoiler.
(view spoiler)
Oct 23, 2012 rated it liked it
The reason I'm not giving this a two is mainly because I'd rated books that were far worse than this with two stars so it didn't feel fair clumping it in with those. That said, this was the least engaging book for me in the series. Strange because it actually lacked the eyerolling world building expositions from the former books. Sadly, that just proved how lazy and how much of a cop-out it is to build up a fantasy world and then decide you don't want to do the fancy world building so you come u ...more
Jan 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
Yes. Latest one in Jane Fletcher's Celaeno series, and so far the best I've read.

Chronologically it takes place before the others, but it's the latest one she's written.

It's a really gripping tale of intrigue and crime, taking place in the town of Roadsend. The evil fought in this novel comes in the shape of Mad Butcher and her Knives, a gang of thieves and murderers who already terrorized another town and are now expanding their business to Roadsend. The main character is a young Militia woman
Sep 10, 2016 rated it liked it
I really enjoyed the other books in this series, and I did like this book, but reader beware, etc. The themes of this book are significantly darker than the other Celaeno books and the relationship is as well.

The whole story is told from Ellen's point of view, and it's a story we already know bits of: The Butcher and her Knives and the ambush of the 12th.

The problem is that there's rape, (view spoiler)
Lexxi Kitty
This was a good introduction to this author and this series universe. Quite 'deep' and detailed universe. Solid characters. Good bit of action/mystery/etc. Someone looking for romance should look elsewhere, though there's a bit of that mixed in.

I was quite happy with the story, at least I was until I suddenly realized that I rather liked how everything turned out. Then realized there was somewhere between 30 to 40% more of the book to read. That's . . . almost never a good sign, heh. And yeah, t
I read this one fourth in the Celaeno series, but it comes first chronologically (in terms of the over-arching and crossing storylines in the series as well as in terms of publication).

This one is a bit of a surprise. I'm glad I didn't read this one first. More and better sex scenes than the previous few that I read, but not a happy ending. I actually loved that about it, but maybe not what most are looking for when they go and pick up a lesbian romance.

Also, this is the first one I read that
Dec 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
D. Omars
Jan 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
+ Interesting story.
+ New characters and some old ones making an appereance.
+ Refreshing change in ending and protagonist.
+ Good romance moment.
- Did not liked the ending that much.
- Another prequel, when I prefer sequel.

Overall: Good story with new characters and some old ones making an appereance, but it's another prequel and the ending was not such a happy ending that I would have liked. Still, I recommend it and I also recommend to read the other books.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Melanie Wood
Sep 15, 2016 rated it liked it
I enjoyed it, but may not have been a good book to start reading first in her series. The ending kind of left me feeling a bit, empty, kind of sad for the main character.
rated it liked it
Mar 10, 2020
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Jane Fletcher is a GCLS award-winning writer and has also been short-listed for the Gaylactic Spectrum and Lambda Literary awards. She is author of two ongoing sets of fantasy/romance novels: the Celaeno series—The Walls of Westernfort, Rangers at Roadsend, The Temple at Landfall, Dynasty of Rogues, and Shadow of the Knife; and the Lyremouth Chronicles—The Exile and The Sorcerer, The Traitor and T ...more

Other books in the series

Celaeno (5 books)
  • Rangers at Roadsend (Celaeno, #2)
  • The Temple at Landfall (Celaeno, #3)
  • The Walls of Westernfort (Celaeno, #4)
  • Dynasty of Rogues (Celaeno, #5)

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