Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Shades of Darkness (Ravenborn #1)” as Want to Read:
Shades of Darkness (Ravenborn #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Shades of Darkness

(Ravenborn #1)

3.42  ·  Rating details ·  309 ratings  ·  69 reviews
Islington Arts Academy is not an average high school. Nestled in the forests of Michigan, surrounded by trees and nature and virtually no evidence of civilization, it is an oasis for those looking to get away. Perfect for a student like Kaira Winters, who wants nothing more than to put her past behind her and focus on the present…and her looming graduation, just a few ...more
Hardcover, 294 pages
Published March 8th 2016 by Simon Pulse
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Shades of Darkness, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Shades of Darkness

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.42  · 
Rating details
 ·  309 ratings  ·  69 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Shades of Darkness (Ravenborn #1)
Feb 02, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Kaira Winters has some dark secrets in her past that she refuses to share with anyone. Running from her past she has chosen to attend Islington Arts Academy nestled in the forests of Michigan. Kiara's made a couple of friends but she still holds them at arm's length not letting them know what it is that she is hiding from. When a student is found dead on campus though Kiara feels that somehow her past is catching up to her and she is to blame.

Unfortunately as great as the synopsis for this book
Jan 05, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Coming to your laptop this idunnomonthmaybe.

~a love story~



description description







And thus began 2016.

I believe the
I loved the synopsis for this and figured the strangeness would be right up my alley, yet I'm not entirely sure what I just read.

Kaira is an interesting character. She's got some things going on and while I can understand the reasons behind her pushing everyone way, the hot and cold got annoying. I loved her BFF Ethan and roommate Elisa. There were a few or the great characters as well.

I loved the boarding school setting and the art. The idea of this book was really cool, but it felt like
Stacie (Shy Book Nerd)
Oh man, I am sorely disappointed with this book. I was expecting some cool Norse mythology, but pretty much nothing happens. I meanly literally, through out most of the book we just hear about the lives of boarding school and their art. Sure some parts got dark and mysterious but nothing gets explained until the very end. By then I tuned out because I could care less what happened to Kaira. Plus the author does not explain anything about the Norse gods. It is as though we are expected to know ...more
Anastasia シ
Jun 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Full Review on my blog!

Though this novel does begin a little slow, and drags a bit in the beginning, it ends with one hell of a surprise and bang. The characters are amazing and seem all to real.

Kaira sends herself to an art academy due to some supernatural events that happened during her freshman year of high school. Kaira is about to graduate and all the seniors are finishing up their art thesis'. The night before the first two thesis' are due a student commits suicide. Kaira and her friends
Nov 09, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
So overall this book was pretty good but there were a few things I didn't like
1. It started off a little confusing and took me about 40/50 pages to get into it
2. The main character has so many problems and dark secrets it's just not relatable so I didn't like her
3. Her secret is really confusing and doesn't make sense and is just plain weird

Other than that it's pretty good I love Ethan and Chris (but his backstory is a little weird too) and I think it would have been better if it was realistic
Jan 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cupcakes, I've always been super picky on my "Waiting on Wednesday" posts, which is one of the reasons why I don't do many of those to begin with. To make it as my W.O.W pick, a title has to beckon me to read it; it needs a cover that pulls me in and a synopsis that promises me all the crazy drama this ridiculous little book nerd could ever need. In the case of Shades of Darkness A.R. Kahler, it had everything I was looking and it easily became my "Waiting on Wednesday" pick and a highly ...more
Nicole Craswell
Mar 01, 2016 rated it liked it
3.5 Stars.

There was a lot about this book that I really liked and a lot that I was really meh about. Plot wise it was really, really interesting. It felt kind of like reading a mystery novel for parts of it, just trying to put together the pieces of Kaira's past as we learned more. I loved the mythology aspect, I'm not super familiar with Norse mythology so I can't speak to how accurate things were but it was definitely interesting.

I also loved the setting. I mean I'm a sucker for a good
Eileen (BookCatPin)
Feb 02, 2016 rated it liked it
Shades of Darkness was one of those books where you didn't know what to expect until things happened. For the most part, I enjoyed it. The writing evoked emotions and A.R. Kahler did an excellent job setting up the dark tone to the story. However, the slow pacing made the first half of the story a bit boring.

Like I already said, this book was a slow read. There was a bunch of hinting and foreshadowing but nothing really happens until about three quarters of the way in. Then the story really
Dec 28, 2016 rated it did not like it
I kind of feel misled in a way. This was supposed to be an urban fantasy kind of book, right? It is not. It's a teenage angst book with poorly developed or explained supernatral elements. Featuring petty, underwhelming characters, a convoluted and abrupt ending, and an unlikable main character who calls her bff homo and talks about how she's this conglomerate of Native American that makes people stare because apparently they're just dying to know her ethnicity, but then also emphasizes how ...more
Feb 17, 2016 rated it did not like it
I really didn't like this book. I didn't mind the main character and the setting, but the story took forever to get going and there is a big mystery that is eluded to until the last quarter of the book and by then I didn't even care what it was I just wanted to be put out of my misery. The ending was horrible and there is a supernatural element but who knows what that was about. Bad writing and poor execution. I wouldn't have finished it if I didn't have to do a book talk on it. Also horrible ...more
CR Daylex
Sep 11, 2017 rated it it was ok
I wanted to love this because cover love and it's queer ... but alas it was boring and the pacing of the writing was way off.
Reviews of  A Shameless Fangirl
Mysterious and murderous. This pretty much describes the experience of reading Shades of Darkness. It was a bit slow paced, and I found that I wasn't really drawn into the story until about forty pages in. Still, I was drawn in. There is a certain darkness surrounding the secrets of the protagonist Kaira that we never truly come to understand. I was excited by the concept of this book because boarding school stories had a tendency to be mysterious and intriguing.

One thing I can honestly say I
AJ (the.booknerd.reads)
Oct 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2016
This was a pretty decent book. Loved Ethan and Oliver, and also all the quirky and comedic quips between the characters. However, it lost the star for me because I thought it was a bit too confusing and vague. I understand that mystery was a factor in the vagueness, as to add to the suspense, but I feel the mythology and Kaira's past were a bit too under-explained. Regardless, I am anticipating the next installment, but I hope the sequel will clarify on some of the more underdeveloped ...more
Apr 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
While it took me a good bit of the way through the book to understand what was going on, I rather enjoyed the mystery and intrigue of it. I loved the suspense throughout the book. Wondering what happened that she is running from and what is really going on at the school. Seeing the big picture slowly develop was a refreshing change from having a good idea of where a story is headed from the beginning. Kudos.
Aug 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A snowy Midwestern boarding school is the perfect playground for the paranormal to stalk angsty teens with dark back stories. The author taunts you with snippets of the kids' past deliciously until the very end. This book will keep you flipping pages long into the night and the big reveal does not disappoint! You'll never look at crows the same way again. I can't wait for the conclusion in book two, Echoes of Memory!
Kelly Sierra
Dec 08, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, 2016
This book took 34% to get into the actual plot, to the thick of the story. I had to wait 34% for the first murder and before that there was just a lot of talk about graduating, crows, and bad dreams. I was not interested with the flow of the story and found myself struggling to move forward.

2 stars.
Aug 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this quite a bit more than I thought I would. Really interesting infusion of cultures with a partial Native American and Norse mythology. Looking forward to how it all unveils.
Nov 20, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Interesting concept, VERY slow

I really struggled to finish this book because it was so incredibly boring about 90% of the time. And I hate saying that about a book because it’s obvious the author did pour a lot of time and thought into it. Unfortunately, majority of the book was purely descriptive. Every page was drowning in details of the location, scenery, architecture, etc. and it all became very repetitive. Building up a clear idea of a scene is important, but this was just excessive.
Sep 04, 2018 rated it it was ok
*2.5 stars.
I'm honestly quite disappointed in this book, I was so excited to come across a book that was set in Michigan (since, if a lot of them do exist, I somehow never come across them.) And I didn't expect it constantly to be all about Michigan or I'd find a different book, but the actual plot for this book, I really did not like and I can't really go into it without spoiling stuff. After a good bit of thought, I will not be continuing this series.
Annika Lehr-Bryant
Jan 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was my fourth reread and I honestly think I have an obsession with this book. I love the setting so much, and ever since reading Magnus Chase I’ve had a growing love for Norse mythology. His characters are great-especially Ethan and Eliza-and I love the setting. You really feel like you’re there with the characters. I wish Islington existed in real life, to be honest.
Maria Guerrero
Jul 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-library
I gave it five stars because it is a very good book. Somewhere in the middle it gets a little boring but after that small section it gets increasingly better and more interesting. 10/10 would read again
Jul 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Started off a little slow but wooow! I didn't think I'd like it as much as I did.
The novel flows perfectly with beautiful imagery, and was definitely well researched and thought out. A must read for fantasy lovers~
Samuel Capri
Jul 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book and I can't wait to read the sequel
Jan 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
I liked this book because it had just enough action. This made it so that right when I was getting bored something interesting would happen and I would be entertained again.
Apr 15, 2018 rated it liked it
It took a while for this to feel like it had an actual plot to it
Samantha Silver
Feb 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Didn't like the ending just when I thought I was liking it it hits me with an ending that kinda sucks didn't tell how she really kicked butt
Chelsea Johnson
3.5 stars!

Islington Arts Academy is not an average high school. Nestled in the forests of Michigan, surrounded by tress and nature and virtually no evidence of civilization, it is an oasis for those looking to get away. Perfect for a student like Kaira Winters, who wants nothing more than to put her past behind her and focus on the present...and her looming graduation, just a few months away.

But the past has a way of returning when least expected.

Kaira knows what happened before, at her old
Jan 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
more of 3.5, maybe a tad bit higher

Shades of Darkness started out pretty slow. it eventually picked up around 50-100 pages, thankfully, and I started really enjoying the book.

in terms of the writing style, it was pretty good. despite it being slow at first, I really appreciated the writing style when the pace was picked up.

the characters were good, as well. for an about 300 page book, kaira, Chris, and Ethan were developed fairly nicely. although I do feel like Ethan was somewhat of a cliche
Feb 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I honestly only grabbed this book because I was in a hurry and the cover was gorgeous. It completely exceeded my expectations since I don't normally go for books that have deal with Gods. I believe they were Celtic Gods, but I'm not sure. The beginning is slow, but there's a large amount of symbolism that would make any reader want to continue. The ending was a surprise but it wasn't at the same time. One thing I do know is that I would like to continue reading into the next book in the series.
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Fiendish
  • The Deathless Girls
  • Heart of Iron (Heart of Iron, #1)
  • Runebinder (The Runebinder Chronicles, #1)
  • Dreamfall (Dreamfall #1)
  • The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die
  • Dead Is the New Black (Dead Is, #1)
  • The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall
  • The Last Good Day of the Year
  • Starworld
  • The Graces (The Graces, #1)
  • Mr Romanov's Garden in the Sky
  • That Night
  • Between the Lies
  • Immune (Rylee Adamson, #2)
  • Frostblood (Frostblood Saga, #1)
  • Sweet
  • It Sounded Better in My Head
See similar books…
Author, circus artist, and full-time wanderer.
I'm a weekly blogger at the YARebels (I'm Friday!). I also, er, do a lot of other things.

Other books in the series

Ravenborn (2 books)
  • Echoes of Memory (Ravenborn #2)
“I had run to boarding school to escape myself. But I couldn't escape who I was or what I'd done, no matter how fast or far I ran.

The crows were just a reminder of that. They wanted back in.

My past wasn't done with me.

Not yet.”
“I think you should do it," she said. "Fall hard and fast and don't think twice about getting hurt. Life's short, Kaira. Life's way too short. You gotta take the good when you can and that boy is about as good as it gets.” 0 likes
More quotes…