The Faerie have come to take London, and only one girl stands in their way.
Justice isn’t your average fifteen-year-old girl. She’s an irrepressible scoundrel, and she always has a plan. But her world falls apart when her father forcibly bundles the entire family into carriages in the middle of the night and carts them off to a strange mansion on the outskirts of Victorian London. The Faerie are invading, but the Kasric siblings can’t stay neutral in the ensuing war when they find their parents on opposing sides. Justice has no choice but to embrace her burgeoning magical powers to fight against the Faerie and save her family.
Fifteen-year-old Justice is always prepared. Until the night her father unexpectedly returns from a journey and forces his entire family into a carriage for a wild chase through the English countryside. They arrive at a mansion outside of Victorian London, one that seems steeped in magic and cats. Justice soon finds out they are in the middle of a war with the Faerie – but how can she and her siblings pick a side when her parents are on opposing sides?
This was an okay read, but it fell short in most aspects for me. There was some action in this work, but it came in short intense bursts, which made the pacing feel off and left the encounters feeling underwhelming. Similarly, not much happened in this work, which again made the pacing feel stilted. There were many times when characters were just talking for large chunks of the book because they were trapped somewhere, which ground the plot to a halt and made it difficult to stay engaged. There was also a distinct lack of worldbuilding until close to the end. Added to this is the lack of meaningful setting descriptions, making this work lack any sense of immersion.
Justice had several interesting things happen to her, but they weren’t explored in a satisfactory way – they may be in the next work, but just based off this book, it left me feeling disappointed. She was an okay protagonist, but there was nothing that made me really like her or find her engaging. In fact, she often acted like she was much younger than her age, which made her frustrating. The other characters were even flatter, lacking any depth, relatability, or development. The siblings mostly sounded like the same character, lacking any distinct voices.
The writing style of the work was simplistic to a point where it became a bit boring and predictable. This made it difficult to lose myself in the story or the characters. I can understand how others may have enjoyed this work, but it was not for me.
I received a complimentary copy of this work through NetGalley. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.
Beautiful imagery throughout this book. I was able to listen to the audio book and I really enjoyed the narrator. This was a great ma fantasy set in London. The story follows a family caught up in the human and faerie world. There are some fun twists in the story. I recommend this book to fantasy lovers.
A unique and fresh take on the world of Faerie with an almost Lord of the Rings meets Narnia meets Pirates flare. A family torn by war, the Fae at arms ready to take over London and an abundance of dark family secrets tears a divide between siblings. The character development was one of my favorite aspects of this novel. The way each sibling slowly grows into themselves was crafted well by Klaver. I struggled slightly with the world building and the overlap of worlds more than I want to admit. It starts to make more sense farther into the book. My only drawback was it took me a longer than expected to get into. The build-up is slow in the beginning and when things start to finally come to the surface, it rushes by in an intense frenzy that left me wanting more. I really wanted that can’t put it down feeling to last the entire novel. I am still eager for the next installment and definitely look forward to visiting this world again. Klaver has a wonderful imagination that I can see creating a masterful trilogy if it continues the way it ended!
Thank you to Camcat Books for the gifted digital copy from Edelweiss. All thoughts are my own.
Thanks to the publisher for providing an eARC of Shadows Over London in exchange for an honest review.
Shadows over London is a really atmospheric fantasy read, reminiscent of The Golden Compass and Narnia in its slow moving, whimsical, yet dark narration style. I'm sure it'll easily find its audience in those demographics but for me personally, I'm a tad too far out of what I think should be a children's to middle grade target demo to have fully appreciated this one.
Title: Shadows Over London Series: Empire of the House of Thorns Book #1 Author: Christian Klaver Audiobook Narrator: Fiona Hardington Publisher: CamCat Books Genre: YA SciFi Fantasy Audiobook Pub Date: May 25, 2021 My Rating: Stars 3.5
Although I am not the target audience for this story, I was drawn to the description as sometimes a fun fantasy is a perfect change-up from my typical reading; I don’t read many stories involving fairies and fantastical creatures.
I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this. We audiobooks fans know the narrator can make or break an audiobook. Shadows Over London was narrated by Fiona Hardingham, and she did a perfect job in performing all the characters! Her voice kept me interested!
Want to thank NetGalley and CamCat Books for this Audio eGalley. Audiobook was released on May 25, 2021
Shadows Over London was an interesting introduction to the Empire of the House of Thorns series. In it, you will meet Justice. In some ways, I could see myself within her. Mostly because she's closer to her father than her mother. So, when they are on opposite sides of a war her decision of who to stand with seems pretty easy.
Justice was an easy character to like for the most part. I definitely wanted to know more about her since she can see things other people can't. Especially when she discovered something alone the way. I'm definitely hoping for more information about her in the sequel and maybe some character growth too?
Other than that, it felt like the action came and went quite quickly throughout the book. Sometimes I just want an epic battle or fight that takes a while to devour. Don't get me wrong, I liked the action in this, but I just wanted things to slow down a bit. Just so I could enjoy it a bit more.
In the end, I'm excited for the sequel because I have the ARC for it.
Shadows Over London by Christian Klaver is an engrossing, new look at the world of Faerie. These are not your typical beautiful, gorgeous faeries. They can actually be quite frightening... except this one dude at the end (quite stunning ❤).
Justice Kasric has no idea what part she has to play in this new world of Faerie or her brothers, sister, and mother... even her father whom she already knew some secrets about. The author pretty much throws the reader in this magical world, and while I did have some trouble understanding exactly what was happening with each character at each moment, I cannot deny the beauty of this story.
I definitely recommend this as a new and unique Faerie Tale! 🧚♀️🧚♂️🧚
Thank you to Edelweiss and the publisher for providing me with a free e-ARC of this book. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own
I don't know how to feel about this book. It was...an interesting adventure, at some points. But also, nothing much happened for most of the book. Let me map out what happened in the entire book to see how much adventure did happen. (click spoilers if you don't mind getting, well, spoiled)
So, I'm aware that this book might not be adventure, specifically. But it's, like, a weird mix of adventure and not adventure and in the times that it's not adventure, it's literally just people talking. I swear, they were trapped in a house for like 40% of the book and on a ship for the last 30%. Just talking
Also, that first sentence of that summary: Justice isn't your average 15-year-0ld girl. It's fantasy and it's not like Justice is around a lot of other girls but that literally screams 'not like other girls'
The character herself, Justice, was...fine. I didn't really care for her, she was just...a character. I didn't dislike her, I just didn't like her either. But I do dislike how her sister, Faith, was portrayed through Justice's POV. Justice, as described by the book summary, is 'an irrepressible scoundrel, and she always has a plan.' Basically, she's an adventurer. But at the beginning of the book especially, the way she talked about Faith, who enjoys more things like fashion and parties, she makes it seem like a bad thing. I mean, we all have different views - I, personally, don't like fashion or parties - but they're not bad things to like.
We also got close to no world building until the very end of the book. I guess Justice didn't know what was going on until then, either, but it was extremely confusing.
And the writing style, too, was really boring and simple, which was definitely annoying to me. Can I also say that Justice is sixteen years old but she acted a lot younger. It seems like teenagers are this mysterious different species because so few authors can actually write them to act their age - they either act way too old (looking at you, Six of Crows) or super young (there's a lot of books, I'm not naming them all).
Thank you to Edelweiss for providing an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Okay, I wanted to like this book. I really did. The concept sounded appealing--a feisty fifteen-year-old girl named Justice, faeries taking over London, a family secret. What's not to like, right?
For me, there was a lot not to like. In fact, this book was a DNF for me. I plowed through most of it, but then just called it quits when I found myself skimming.
The concept was ruined by a cast of cardboard characters. Even the heroine, Justice, did not stand out and there was a definite lack of distinct voice among the siblings. All in all, the characters were unmemorable and just plain meh.
Then there was the writing. Check out this passage: "But as horrific as the THING was, that was nothing compared to the terrifying presence of the THING. A nightmarish panic rolled off the THING in waves." I mean, seriously, the author couldn't come up with another word for THING?
To sum up, I found the writing amateurish, the characters dull and one-dimensional, and the plot did not live up to the synopsis. Sorry, but don't waste your time with this one.
Justice has always preferred her father over her mother, but it doesn't help that Mother tries to kill her when she agrees to go along with Father's escape plan. Suddenly this otherwise ordinary family finds themselves in the midst of a fairy invasion, but somehow they aren't all on the same side. Everyone seems to be hiding secrets, but Justice isn't about to sit idly by in a ironclad safehouse. In escaping, she discovers she has her own secrets worth protecting.
I can understand why someone who isn't big on subtle character development might not like this book. After all, the plot is basically just Justice trying to figure out what's going on for quite a long time. However, there were enough clues and little victories to keep me hooked, and I loved the way the family dynamic developed throughout the story. Unfortunately, this book feels a bit like a prologue and definitely can't stand alone, but I'm intrigued to find out more and I'll definitely keep an eye out for the sequel.
The audiobook narration was beautifully done, although occasionally I was confused by the pitch changes. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for this audio ARC. All opinions are my own.
Shadows Over London is very reminisce of a children's book but written for an adult audience. The descriptive visuals of this book make it very easy to imagine. Not my usual go to but the summary sounded appealing. I feel like the storyline of this book was just getting started just as you are finishing the book. I wish there had been more story in the first book to draw me into the second. Overall a good read.
+Audio arc provided by NetGalley and publishers in exchange for an honest review+
Shadows Over London is the first book in the Empire of the House of Thorns series by Christian Klaver. This first novel introduces Justice Kasric and her family as they are violently torn from their pleasant lives in Victorian London and tossed into a paranormal war against the Faerie. As if finding out her family is attached to supernatural creatures is not enough, Justice still has to cope with internal family struggles, sibling rivalry, and a mother who downright dislikes her. These are all painfully relatable issues for anyone who is, or was ever, a teenager.
Shadows Over London, like many books in the young adult genre, follows a teenager through the trials of life and the even greater conflicts they find themselves buried. Christain Klaver does a fantastic job of balancing the complications of being a sixteen-year-old girl with the epic war story that builds up around Justice. She and all the characters of this novel are realistic in their behavior and actions, making them solid and believable characters with personalities. The world that our author has built is also fantastic. While Victorian London is well documented, the bits and pieces of Faerie, the fictional side of the war in this series, are creative and colorful and have a delicate balance of common myths and original creations.
As I was given a copy of the audiobook of Shadows Over London to listen, I will take a moment to cover that aspect. Fiona Hardingham's reading is spectacular. A talented narrator Fiona Hardingham gives us a well spoked and brilliantly acted narration. Each character has a voice that fits perfectly. The narrator's voice and accent are spot-on for the characters and locations of this novel. In short, I can't find a single complaint about Shadows Over London and suggest you pick it up.
I chose to listen to this book after receiving a free audio copy from iRead Book Tours. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.
The story is told from the viewpoint of 15-year-old Justice Kasric. At the beginning of the story, she seems to be your typical teen in a family with a father at sea and a mother who shows favoritism, and Justice is not her favorite. Then they are all whisked away in the middle of the night, and their lives are changed forever.
Once the family is in the mansion, strange things begin happening, including Justice being able to see ghosts. Eventually, they realize they each have some sort of power. Once their mother leaves them behind, they realize they must escape which is easier said than done. After they escape the mansion, the adventure truly begins.
The children find out that there is a threat of war with the faeries. But there aren’t only faeries and ghosts in this world, there are goblins and dragons and many other fantastical creatures.
This is a dark young adult fantasy that is definitely not for middle school readers or younger. There is occasional action but there is also a lot of downtime in between when Justice is trying to work things out or is having conversations with other characters.
I didn’t feel connected to the characters, so hopefully there will be more character development in the next book.
The narrator was very good. She did great with the voices, and her pace and timing were perfect. Because of the narrator, I think I enjoyed the audiobook more than if I would have read the book. I’m still confused about some things. I will definitely be listening to the next audiobook in the series because there are things that haven’t been resolved, and I have to find out what happens.
Shadows Over London Introduces Teen Readers to a Clean Fantasy Series. I enjoyed that this novel and the series are written cleanly and interestingly enough to hold the interest of the teen target audience. This first book introduces many characters and devotes some time to building the fantasy world and letting the story's characters discover the magic at play in their world. It also keeps a reasonably well-done balance between a coming of age in a dysfunctional family story and an entertaining fantasy tale with a female heroine coming to terms with her role in the family and with the dark, magical dangers of the fantasy world around her.
This Book Requires a Little Patience at First. I struggled to settle into the story at first as the characters were introduced and the story began to form. Once I could organize the characters in my mind, I enjoyed the story. It is a little predictable, and there are times when the teen heroine seems younger than her age or behaves in a frustrating manner. Expect to read with a bit of patience at times until you settle into the story and the action builds.
Would I Recommend Shadows Over London by Christian Klaver? This book is a fantasy novel that my daughters would have enjoyed--and one that I would have felt comfortable with them reading as teens. This book does a nice job setting up the series and leaves readers with plenty of loose ends for the next adventure. If you enjoy slightly darker, older teen-oriented, young adult fantasy stories with unique characters--this series is worth a spot on your reading list.
I received a copy of this book from the author or publisher for use in a blog review. All opinions are my own.
Imaginative and playful. This novel really keeps you on your toes as the rug is repeatedly ripped from underneath you.
This novel had a lot of story to it that I think needed twice as many pages to develop fully. There were a number of really intriguing characters/magic/lore pieces that felt rushed past, or explained at odd times which I think did the book a disservice. For example, in the middle of a ship-based battle while dragons are swooping down on our heroes and dropping canon balls on the ships we get this piece of exposition:
"...before the gods gave birth to the world of Faerie, they gave birth to dragons. It is through the dragons that the gods give us magic. There are only twenty-one of their kind left in all the world. No more new dragons are born. These dragons will be the last. When they die, magic dies. A part of the gods forever lost to us, and all of the Faerie realm with it."
How cool is that?! HOWEVER, I just remember thinking, "now's not the time, buddy."
I'm not sure if it's a critique then to say I just wanted more of everything so the juicy bits didn't feel rushed or shoe-horned in, but if it is, then that would be my one critique.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
From the mysterious opening scene to the final battle at sea, Shadows Over London is full of surprises. Justice may have been taken away from all that she knows with a clan of siblings who don’t hide the fact that they dislike her, but that doesn’t stop her from leading an escape from the place they’ve been imprisoned. As they learn more about their parents’ disagreements and family members that they didn’t know they had, they realise that the family violently disagrees about the Faerie that are invading London. But with some of the children siding with one parent and some with the other, the family is torn apart just when they find they are in great danger. Intriguingly, Justice can see things that others can’t, thanks to her special eye, and her siblings soon discover their own magic.
With adventure, mystery, an eclectic cast of uncharacteristic characters — like evil faeries, for one — Shadows Over London kicks off an intriguing series about a most unique family and a world unlike anything you’ve ever read about.
What I liked: Shadows over London is the first book in a series where Justice and her family find themselves in the middle of a fairy invasion. Justice has witnessed her father playing chess with the fairy king, seen the wild hunt, and is determined not to stand by in some safe house. Justice has a delicate relationship with her mother, who quickly abandons her children at a safe place, and there is a rather graphic attack involving cats. The story is drawn out to get into as the majority of the book is Justice trying to figure out what exactly she has seen and what is happening. Final Verdict: Shadows over London is a fairy book involving a battle between humans and a fairy. Once we discover how the chess games are involved and why Justice's father is acting weirdly, the real action begins. Inside these pages, you will find war, betrayal, secrets, magic, and a fantastic start to adventurous series.
Shadows Over London (Empire of the House of Thorns #1) by Christian Klaver is a YA fantasy novel about a family torn apart by war. The Kasric siblings must choose a side and fight for Faerie and their family. Will Justice prevail?
Justice Kasric lives up to her name. She has a few secrets but so does the rest of her family. How does a family survive on secrecy? It doesn't.
The truth comes out and the Kasrics' aren't what they seem. Justice's father is leading a war and losing. The only hope is that the Kasric siblings can come together to sort things out, which isn't going to be easy when their mother and brother are fighting on the opposing side.
There's war, betrayal, secrets, magic, and more!
I enjoyed this fun story. The pace and characters move along. It covers all of the bases of historical, YA, fantasy, action, thriller, etc. I can't wait to read more!
This is overall a good fantasy. The setting is England yet not England. The main character has a strong attachment to her father and a distant relationship with her mother. This makes it easy for her to take sides when her parents reveal they are taking different sides in a war. Justice has an eye that allows her to see things no one else can see. I think this had potential that the author did not fully develop. Unfortunately, the action of the story comes too often through dialog. I would prefer descriptions of actions to characters talking about what happens. The actual war that happens in this story happens on the other side of a locked gate/wall. Readers learn about it in dialog after it's over. I don't feel the main character did much. She mostly discovered things that were done by others.
SHADOWS OVER LONDON has many fantasy novel elements that I really enjoy but something didn't connect with the narrative. I felt like the plot jumped around a bit to make some pieces not fit together and while I understand that this is a series, the ending was really abrupt. There were aspects I really liked but overall the characters felt flat which made it difficult to be invested in what was happening to Justice and the rest of the Kasric family. Hopefully Klaver is able to sort this out for the sequel, but I'm not sure if I'll read it or not.
I didn't love Fiona Hardingham's performance, but I think that might also be more to do with Hardingham's narration style paired with Klaver's writing.
Advanced Reader’s Copy provided by NetGalley, CamCat Books, and Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), Members' Audiobooks in exchange for an honest review.
Shadows Over London by Christian Klaver is an interesting fantasy that focuses on the fight between the Fae and a victiorian family in England. Justice is a remarkable main character with a curiosity and spunk that I admire. She seeks to find out more about the mystery of her family and their connection to the magical Faerie invaders who have come to find her. An action packed, daring escape leads to a revelation about the truth of her lineage and her place in the coming war. This book was wonderful in regards to world building and setting up the history and lore of the Fae and the Kasric family. The book felt slightly disjointed at points but overall was a nice read. The narration provided was excellent and the narrators pacing and diction was great.
Very intricate fantasy story that sets itself up for a series.
Unfortunately, this ended up not really being for me. There was a lot going on in the book a lot of characters. I personally had a difficult time keeping track of the different characters and plot points. I was confused for a good bit of it, though a lot is explained towards the end. I also don't particularly enjoy reading action-heavy scenes, and there were a good many action scenes in this.
Ultimately not for me, but I think people who like this style of fantasy will love this though.
This book had me from the first chapter, fairies, goblins, dwarves and a fight.... I loved the characters. Justice the main protagonist is strong and intelligent, but also shows humour. The rest of her family all have interesting and realistic feelings and traits. The story quickly unfolds and the fast pace is kept up for the whole book.
I didn't really know anything about this book when I started. Just the blurb on Libby. I really enjoyed it! Justice is a regular girl in a regular family in 19th century England. Her father is a Navy captain but has a few mysteries in his life. Those mysteries seem to involve the Fae. The Seelie court and the Unseelie Court and all of England. Justice and her family are destined to play key roles in the war that is inevitable.
This book was really unique. It was mix between Lord of the Rings and Pirates of the Caribbean. I love the adventure and plot twists along the way.
The story was well developed, but as a bit slow in the beginning. The story did keep you on your toes and wanting more. You could see some character development within the book, but I would have liked to see a bit more. The amount of new characters being introduced towards the middle and end was very overwhelming. It did take a bit of time to remember character's names and functions in the book.
Overall the book was enjoyable. I would love to see better character development in book 2.
**I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.**
Thank you Camcat for the free arc via edelweiss. I love a good fantasy and this one delivered. It is about faeries and has strong female characters. Interested in where the second book goes. Want more of the Ghost boys.