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A Tale of Light and Shadow

(A Tale of Light and Shadow #1)

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  355 ratings  ·  89 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 as a carpenter, but his devotion to her drives him to commit an unthinkable act that may cost both of them their lives ...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published July 7th 2015 by Shadow Mountain (first published September 2nd 2014)
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Average rating 3.73  · 
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 ·  355 ratings  ·  89 reviews

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Aug 12, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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 ma ...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 wa ...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
Jan 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. The story was interesting, The characters weren't unrealistically powerful, and it was descriptive enough that I knew what was going on, but not so descriptive that I lost interest. This book follows Henry, a carpenter, as he tries to save his love, Isabelle, from the emperor of a different country while not getting killed or captured himself. Henry is accompanied by James, Isabelle's brother and a soldier, Maggie, Henry's sister, and Ruther, a storyteller and Henry's old frie ...more
Feb 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Book 10
In the world of Atolas live Henry, Isabelle, Brandol, Maggie, Ruther, and James. They are all family in some sort of way. Henry and Isabelle want to marry, but they can't. So they start to make plans to run away and marry, but something happens that causes that plan to take a slight variation. So they are forced to leave Atolas. Spending months on the road to reach the iron forest, where commotion ensues. While that happens other things happen too, that aren't good for the group. They cou
Sep 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 Empe ...more
Kj Partridge
Sep 18, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
I did something I prefer not to do: I listened to this book instead of reading it. In my defense, my library doesn't have a copy of the book I can actually read, so I finally decided to just listen. It was okay. And here is why I prefer to read a book before listening to it (because yes, I do listen to audiobooks . . . of books I've already read): It can be difficult to judge a book on its own merits when a narrator is involved. In this case, however, I think the book was just okay (same goes fo ...more
Dec 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
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.
Jun 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
I love this book, it is witty, exciting, and romantic. I really sympathize with Henry sometimes. When he thinks that all the mistakes are his fault I just want to hug him.
Ashlyn Morton
Apr 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In the exceptional story described in the book “A Tale of Light and Shadow,” by Jacob Gowans, is intriguing throughout every word. The tale describes the love that a lowly carpenter has for a noblewoman and her love for him. The wonderful carpenter boy she learned alongside at his mothers school. The both want to be wed but when strange things arise, and an emperor gets involved things take a turn for the worst. I loved this book because it was pure enjoyment. I could not put it down. At first i ...more
Jun 05, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first few chapters of this book (once we got past the opening scene of the storyteller) was really exciting and had me waiting at the edge of my seat to see what would happen. I listened to the audio version while painting floorboards in my basement and more than once I found myself talking to the characters- "no don't do that, that's a terrible idea". However, once it really got into the meat of the story, I found that the plot seemed to wander and the pace lagged. It felt like filler added ...more
Nov 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I couldn’t decide whether to give this a 3.5 or a 4 rating. The one thing that made me consider a lower rating was the fact that this book seemed to drag a little at some moments. Understandably so, the characters in this story do quite a bit of traveling (for reasons I shall not say so as to not spoil too much).

I really liked the characters, they felt very believable. They are hopeful and optimistic while remaining logical and sensible. Our main man, Henry Vestin, becomes one of the unwitting
May 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I give this book three stars because despite the flaws I did actually finish it which even surprised me. But this was a very LOOOONNNGGG drawn out story. And despite having some interesting undertones regarding the story, like a hint that magic is involved, or that one of the main characters comes from a 'great line' of maybe warriors based on the sword he now possesses. But none of that is fleshed out at all in 400 pages. There is a second book. I'm not reading it...I may skim it because I chec ...more
I absolutely loved this story. Henry and Isabelle love each other, but face hurdles to getting married, not the least of which is Isabelle's nasty father, and Emperor Ivan, a strong-willed man who rules a neighboring kingdom and wants Isabelle for his own. In danger from Ivan, Henry and Isabelle, along with Isabelle's brother, Henry's sister and several friends, flee their land. The story takes them into terrible dangers, as well as problems of their own making. There is much in the story about ...more
I liked A Tale of Light and Shadow for its potential to lead into a greater tale once the complete story is told. There are many unanswered questions that are not resolved in this first book. I feel that pace and timing may be a bit off for me thinking I'd learn more than I did before the end came. The story is interesting and I'll be reading Secrets of Neverek to hopefully understand more about the secrets that have been kept and the hints of magic and The Path that is mentioned but not explain ...more
Kaylah Hassard
Aug 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this series. The character development was excellent and as the story continued to build I was caught up in the magic, mystecism, and mystery of the plot. However, I was really disappointed how the series abruptly ended. The last book ended on a major cliff hanger and provided no resultion for the characters and plot. After looking into it further, it seems the author ran out of a company to fund him and turned it to his readers to convince the company to fund his further books. Haven't ...more
Nov 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. It starts out sweet and gets deeper and more real from there. The characters are real and developing, it is obvious the plot and elements of the world have been thought out and planned, but they are revealed to us only slowly. The sequel is even better...but WARNING the last book has not been published and who knows if it ever will be. I'm dying to read a book that doesn't exist! ...more
Paige Anthony
Oct 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Honest review of this.... INCREDIBLE. There are two so far in the series and I love them both. These characters became real so quickly. I read both books with vigor. Perfect amount of description and left enough for imagination to finish plus you’re immersed in this world and given pieces but by bit but enough to understand and crave more all at the same time. I couldn’t put these down.
This book was longer than I felt it should've been, but it left me hanging, so now I have to read the second book. I wasn't surprised by who the traitor was, but I was glad that he made his peace in the end. There are some interesting characters, and I especially like some in particular. ...more
May 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
3 1/2 stars. Fun fantasy book, though light on fantastical elements. It picked up the pace towards the end. Some surprises, some easy to guess reveals. But I enjoyed listening to it-good reader. I’ll listen to the next in the series.
Suze Price
This book was really hard to get into. It was a good story but at times I wondered where it was going. It ended and I wasn’t satisfied. I actually wanted to hate this book but by the end I wanted to read the next, at least to get closure. Curses!
Kadee Bachmann
This book had ups and downs. I struggled to get into it, and struggled halfway through, but it picked up and I loved the ending. I wouldn’t read this book again, but I look forward to the next book to see what happens next.
Faith Detwiler
Be prepared for the fact that this ends in the middle of the story. Like the tricksey, nasty Tolkein. You are finished, yet you are not finished and have none of the closure that you are looking for. But it was a good book on tape!
Jun 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a great fantasy book! The characters have depth, it's not predictable, it's not too heavy on the troupes. I was drawn into the story and attached to the characters. I'm looking forward to reading the next in the series. ...more
Joy Worth
Jan 08, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: best-books-ever
Wonderful writing and fantastic story. However, I cannot in good conscience tell you to read it because the author never completed the series. I read the second book and was left with the worst cliff hanger ever.
Nicole Lyman Fry
Such a hard book to get through. I just wanted support the author but wow such a horrible story. And yet the end made you want more.
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