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A Dance of Dragons #1

The Shadow Soul

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When Jinji's home is destroyed, she is left with nowhere to run and no one to run to – until she meets Rhen, a prince chasing rumors that foreign enemies have landed on his shores. Masquerading as a boy, Jinji joins Rhen with vengeance in her heart. But traveling together doesn't mean trusting one another, and both are keeping a deep secret – magic. Jinji can weave the elements to create master illusions and Rhen can pull burning flames into his flesh.

But while they struggle to hide the truth, a shadow lurks in the night. An ancient evil has reawakened, and unbeknownst to them, these two unlikely companions hold the key to its defeat. Because their meeting was not coincidence – it was fate. And their story has played out before, in a long forgotten time, an age of myth that is about to be reborn...

From bestselling author Kaitlyn Davis comes a fantasy adventure perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas, Kristin Cashore, and Tamora Pierce! Told in alternating male and female perspectives.

292 pages

First published January 1, 2014

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About the author

Kaitlyn Davis

45 books1,682 followers
Bestselling author Kaitlyn Davis writes young adult fantasy novels under the name Kaitlyn Davis and contemporary romance novels under the name Kay Marie. Publishers Weekly has said, "Davis writes with confidence and poise," while USA Today has recommended her work as "must-read romance."

To learn more about her contemporary romance novels, visit her Goodreads author page for Kay Marie here: https://www.goodreads.com/Kay_Marie

Always blessed with an overactive imagination, Kaitlyn has been writing ever since she picked up her first crayon and is overjoyed to share her work with the world. When she's not daydreaming, typing stories, or getting lost in fictional worlds, Kaitlyn can be found playing fetch with her puppy, watching a little too much television, or spending time with her family. If you have any questions for her--about her books, about scheduling an event, or just in general--you may contact her at: KaitlynDavisBooks@gmail.com

Sign up for Kaitlyn's newsletter to stay up-to-date with all of her new releases and more! http://bit.ly/AuthorNewsletter

Like her on Facebook here: Facebook.com/KaitlynDavisBooks

Follow her on Instagram here: Instagram.com/kaitlyndavisbooks/

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 133 reviews
Profile Image for Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽.
1,880 reviews22.8k followers
November 11, 2016
3.5 stars. This YA fantasy is pretty solid, and it's a Kindle freebie if you want to check it out. Review first posted on Fantasy Literature:

The Shadow Soul came in first place of the 30 books that our Fantasy Literature team of reviewers read for Mark Lawrence’s 2016 Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off (SPFBO), in which 300 self-published science fiction and fantasy novels have been read and evaluated by ten blogs. The winner of the very first round, it managed to survive and prevail over all of the rest of the novels in our later rounds. A round of virtual but heartfelt applause to The Shadow Soul and its author, Kaitlyn Davis!

As the story begins, Jinji is a sixteen year old girl preparing for her formal joining in marriage to Maniuk, a future leader of their small Arpapajo tribe, along with Jinji herself. Jinji has the magical ability to see the elemental spirits of the land, which appear to her as brightly colored strands of thread weaving through the air, and to weave them into illusions. Jinji’s happiness is marred only by her longing for her twin brother, Janu, who was killed by a bear some time ago, and by a dream of a dark shadow with bright white eyes that attacks her in her dreams. But too soon, Jinji has a truly devastating tragedy to deal with, one in which the shadow plays a role, bringing the white, empty eyes and unspeakable violence.

Jinji nearly gives up in despair at her loss, until she is found by Whylrhen, or Rhen, a younger son of the king of their country. Several generations ago, the Arpapajo’s land was invaded by Whyl the Conqueror (heh), and his Whyl-named descendants have ruled the kingdom, which they renamed Whylkin, ever since. Rhen, discontented with his life as a spare prince, is secretly traveling through the kingdom in disguise, investigating the dangers that threaten it from the neighboring kingdom of Ourthuro. Jinji joins him in his adventures, though she uses the spirit threads to disguise herself as a boy, taking on the appearance of her dead twin, hiding her sex and her magical talents from Rhen. Rhen has secrets of his own ― in addition to being a prince, he also has the ability to absorb fire into his body and remain unharmed ― but he doesn’t know that Jinji can see the red flame threads circling around him. As Rhen seeks answers to his concerns about foreign invaders and Jinji seeks to avenge her people against the terrifying shadow, their friendship grows. But unexpected dangers, both within the kingdom and without, will try both their friendship and their souls.

The Shadow Soul is an engaging story with appealing main characters. Both Jinji and Rhen have good depth and complexity in their characters. They’re admirable characters but troubled, and unwilling to trust others quickly. Their friendship develops long before there’s any hint of romance ― understandably so, since Rhen views Jinji as a younger brother. Rhen begins to realize what a disservice his kingdom has done to Jinji’s people, isolating them and prohibiting them from speaking their native language. Rhen’s life in the royal family also turns out to be far more complicated than I expected, which helps to shed a somewhat different light on the conflicts that arise later in the story.

The pacing of the plot is smooth and moves along quickly. An unexpectedly perilous voyage to Ourthuro, the Golden Isles, which are literally built on gold and other metals, is a nice change of pace along the way, and some new characters are introduced who may become significant later. Some of the elements of the story, such as Jinji’s dreams and the nature of the ominous shadow, are never really explained, and the story ends on a cliffhanger. This is the first book in a trilogy, so readers will need to continue with the series to get all of the answers and the complete story.

The Shadow Soul, although it’s unusually well-written for a self-published book, still suffers somewhat from a lack of professional editing. There are occasional misspellings (such as “vile” for “vial”) and grammatical errors, and a few inconsistencies. For example, at one point men who are threatening Rhen are described as having eyes that are “vacant, open, but unaware;” a couple of pages later, however, “intelligence [is] reflected in their eyes". It’s also occasionally formulaic, but there’s enough of a difference here to make this novel enjoyable to most YA fantasy fans, even if it doesn’t push the boundaries of the genre.

Kaitlyn Davis has made the ebook version of The Shadow Soul available for free, and it’s worth checking out if you enjoy young adult fantasies. The Shadow Soul will now face off against the nine other winners chosen by these blogs, and we wish it the best of luck!
Profile Image for Jen • Just One More Page.
254 reviews90 followers
November 13, 2018

This review is also posted on my blog.

I received a copy free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Profile Image for Kirsty (Amethyst Bookwyrm).
627 reviews72 followers
December 8, 2015
Thanks to Netgalley and Patchwork Press for giving me this book to review.

Jinji’s home is destroyed and everyone she has known has been killed by a mysterious shadow and she is left alone with nowhere to go, until a young man called Rhen finds her. However, both are hiding secrets, Jin is masquerading as a boy and has magic, meaning she can weave elements and create illusions, and Rhen is a prince on the search for foreign enemies and can pull flames into himself. While they go on a search to discover what is happening in the kingdom Ourthuro, an evil power is after them and only Jin and Rhen hold the key to defeat it.

I really enjoyed The Shadow Soul as it is a good fantasy, is well written, and I was not bored from beginning to the end. There was a lot of traveling in this book, action and a hint of potential romance for future books. I got really invested in the story and characters and I enjoyed having the POV of both the male and female protagonist.

I really liked Jin as she is naïve, intelligent and has an inner strength, she has struggled but never forgot her heritage and is willing to get justice for her family but is also willing to help her friend. Rhen is really cleaver, much more than people expect, is very loyal to those who are close to him, has a good sense of humour and wants to prove himself. Rhen and Jin just clicked and I liked how they acted together and I wonder how it will change in the next book.

This is a really good book and I can’t wait to read the next book The Spirit Heir and the short stories in this series. I would recommend The Shadow Soul to fans of Tamora Peirce.

This and my other reviews can be found at Amethyst Bookwyrm
Profile Image for Jamie.
1,449 reviews1,109 followers
August 9, 2018
This took a bit to get into after reading the prequel first. I can't figure out where/how it fits in properly. I really liked Jin's character but she is too secretive for her own good. She needed to try to trust someone but even Rhen who saves her, opens up his secrets she is silent. It takes a while to understand her relation to spirits in this too. Rhen I really liked. He too, wore a mask to the world. But he is a deeply caring, brave person with lots of depth. There seem to be a couple things going on in this book and it was interesting to see how they each had their own agenda with the switching or perspectives. Enjoyable.
Profile Image for Melanie.
2,031 reviews559 followers
July 26, 2018
The Shadow Soul was a good fantasy read. After reading the prequel I was really looking forward to continuing the series and this book did not disappoint. I liked the characters and found the story fascinating. There were a few moments where the story didn't hold my attention, but the ending made up for that. I'm undecided on whether or not I will continue the series...maybe one day?
Profile Image for Wendy.
606 reviews136 followers
February 4, 2017
“People are born to this world with their destiny already laid out before them, with a future already set—they only get to fill in the details.”

Jinji is a 16-year old girl with a unique bond to the elemental spirits. As she prepares for what should be one of the proudest moments in her life, she finds herself bound to darkness -- a shadow that moves from her waking dreams into her reality and steals everything from her. She is found by a prince of the new world who shuns his royal standing, preferring adventure. He too is bound to the spirits, but unlike Jinji, his people fear such magic. Danger and secrets bind the two together as Jinji seeks answers and vengeance against the shadow that killed her people, while Prince Rhen tries to uncover a plot against his kingdom before it's too late.

The chapters flip back and forth between the two characters' points of view. Davis takes the time to dig deep into the their thoughts and actions, such that, by the end of the book when the action and intrigue picks up the pace, their separate perspectives are so well woven. Even when the chapters duplicate scenes, the emotional weight from each perspective adds so much more to the moment.

Considering what Jinji has lost, Davis does a good job of keeping Jinji focused on that pain, as would be expected after such tragedy, without letting her pain drag the story down. There are times when it seems like Jinji is losing that focus as she gets more and more wrapped up in Rhen's situation, but Davis brings it back and around to tie both their fates together.

However, when things do come together in the end, there are some pacing and detail issues that become lost due to the focus on Jinji and Rhen's perspectives alone. The political issues and the war itself become lost in the periphery because of this, which would lead to disappointment to anyone who accepted the book's claim that it is like Game of Thrones in any way.

Further, it is wonderful to have a female protagonist of colour, and her introduction and the introduction to her culture is beautifully detailed. But the book stumbles in having that character's entire people obliterated shortly after and having the only other people of colour villainized.

There are some issues with editing and pacing that are to be expected from a new author, but the story itself is sound and the characters are strong and endearing, so much so that when I finished reading The Shadow Soul, I promptly purchased the sequel, which is always a good sign!

Profile Image for Andria Potter.
Author 2 books60 followers
May 10, 2023
This was good but it felt like it was missing something and I can't put my finger on it as to what it was missing. 3.5 stars rounded up.
Profile Image for Marjolein (UrlPhantomhive).
2,389 reviews51 followers
February 20, 2016
Read all my reviews on http://urlphantomhive.booklikes.com

I had read the prequel of the A Dance of Dragons series already, and was at first quite surprised that this story seemed to be about completely different characters. However, the princess does make an appearance in the book.

Jinji is the last of her people, which are massacred by a shadow force. When she's trying to survive by pretending to be a boy she meets up with Rhen, a prince who's onto a plot to destroy his family.

It was described as A Game of Thrones which is very dangerous as it sets the expectations very high without even having started the book. I don't think it lives up to that claim. It is far less political (perhaps this will be more in the later books), and more of a standard YA fantasy where two teenagers need to save the kingdom, both with a secret (one of them actually is a girl, the other a prince).

While I don't think it was the most memorable story, it was enjoyable to read. This being said, the shadow thing that is roaming around is actually quite interesting, so I'm curious to find out where that is going.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!
Profile Image for Sandra "Jeanz".
1,174 reviews162 followers
January 3, 2015

As my thoughts upon finishing "The Golden Cage" were "I need the next one now!" I guess you could say I am really looking forward to reading this novel. I would like to know more about Orthuri and it's customs, maybe I will discover some less barbaric customs in this book than were revealed in the prequel in the Kings treatment of his daughter and her personal guard.

I downloaded this novel from Amazon UK when it was free! The cover's main element is a female depicted as a dark daunting shadow figure that appears to be brandishing a dagger of some sort. So the cover seems to be promising plenty of action? Would the cover make me pick up the book from a bookstore shelf? I'd say yes, but in totally honesty I would be picking up the book on the assumption from the cover that my daughter may like the book. The cover makes me think the books may be like the Sarah J. Maas series Throne Of Glass.
This book is told from two points of view, that of Jenji, a native american, from the Arapapajo tribe and that of Whyl
This book begin's with Jinji's story, it is the day of her "joining" (what we would call wedding/marriage) to Manuik. Jinji has awoken early and gone to her secret place out in the forest to enjoy the peace and quiet before the preparations begin for the ceremony. She is still in a relaxed peaceful state when her best friend Leoa finds her. Jinji's mother has sent her to tell Jinji it is time to prepare. Leoa has brought the luxurious, white furs and skins. The two girls hear a scream and rush off to investigate. Leoa is the faster runner so ahead of Jinji. Jinji see's a dagger/spear hit her friend Leoa, and runs faster to her dear friend but is too late to save her. Jinji then see's the person who has killed her friend, it is Manuik! Manuick the very man who should be protecting her but there is something odd about his eyes. It's as if he is possessed.. . .
The other point of view this book is told from is that of Prince Whylrhen the somewhat wayward third son of the King of Whyl. Rhen is a "spare" rather than a true "heir" to the Whyl throne. Rhen has the reputation of being a carefree, ladies man, the truth is however totally different from that. Rhen is doing what turns out to be more important than anyone could have thought it would be including himself.
We follow Rhen meeting Jinji or rather Jin as Jinji has woven the spirits she can control and changed or masked her face to look like her deceased brother Janu. Though she has woven the image of his face she cannot bear to sully his name by using it herself as a lie, so she shortens her own name and continues to be disguised as a boy named Jin throughout the majority of this book. Jin does not trust Rhen for some time and initially hides her "spirit weaving" from Rhen, she also keeps her spirit woven mask on so Rhen thinks she is male. Having said that Rhen is highly reluctant to reveal that he is in fact a Prince. So they are both hiding things and keeping secrets from each other. Even when they become closer and Jin can she a fire element spirit weaving around Rhen as well as through travelling together, Jin keeps up the pretense of being male. Rhen does not discuss his "gift" either not trusting in it himself to speak to anyone or admit he has this affinity with fire. His "gift" ends up becoming extrmemly useful and in fact life saving at one point in the book.
They (Rhen & Jin) end up going on a ship to discover if the rumors of unknown, unmarked ships being seen at sea are true. Rhen chooses to kind of commandeer a ship. Captain Pygott, in charge of the ship allows Rhen to join the ship on it's trips as and when he wants. Rhen has used this regularly to escape his royal duties or "burdens" is perhaps more accurate as to how Rhen views the Royal part of his life. Captain Pygott has been a more "down to earth" accessible father figure to Rhen. Captain Pygott, Rhen and Jin and the rest of the crew learn the truth about the unmarked ships sailing in the seas near to Whyl. There is a fight between an unmarked ship (that turns out to be Ourthurian), it is during a fight between the two ships that Jin accidentally reveals some of the extent of the spirit weaving gift she has. The two end up trying to have a confrontation/discussion about their gifts but get side tracked by events.
I really could rattle on forever about this book, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book from beginning to end. For example at the end of a chapter told from the point of view of Rhen there will be a little cliff hanger or things you're just not quite told, then the point of view will switch to Jin's and some of the things that happened in Rhen's chapter may be re-told from her point of view but go on a little further in time. . . . it's really brilliantly written and reels you in making you want to read to the early hours of the morning! I loved the characters. I specifically adored Jin, her constant battles with her inner demons, and her strong cultural beliefs that she cannot and will not forget her Arapapjo heritage and all it stands for. The relationship between Jin and Rhen begins as friends, and they then grow to confidantes and then an almost brotherly relationship. By the end of this book there are little clues and hints that point towards the possibililty of a genuine romantic relationship between the two of them if/when Jin is revealed as a woman? . . .
So did I enjoy this book? Enjoyed? I adored the book and it's characters. You do become really attached to Jin & Rhen. Would I recommend this book? Yes, especially to those who loved Sarah J Mass Throne Of Glass Series! Would I want to read more in this series? Want? I intend to purchase, download and read the next novella "The Silver Key" straight away! Would I read other titles by this author? Yes once I've read all that's available in this series I'll be checking out Kaitlyn's other titles.
Profile Image for NAT.orious reads ☾.
871 reviews361 followers
May 26, 2017
Um yeah, what should I say...It was a free ebook so I was glad to have something while I was traveling up and down the US east coast, but nonetheless, I feel like the story could have been more intruiging...
Profile Image for Beverly K.
477 reviews32 followers
March 10, 2015
DNF at 79%.

Eminently forgettable, this fantasy novel is in need of a good copy editor. Events happen in this book with scripted ease and whatever troubles the main characters encounter they escape with aplomb. It was as if the writer forced her will upon the characters without letting them tell the story.

I stopped when I realized that I was forcing myself through the book and no longer cared what became of any of the characters.
Profile Image for Gabriela.
376 reviews30 followers
February 27, 2017
Kindle freebie. Mixed feelings about this. The plot is interesting and it flows nicely, the writing is decent and it has some good elements but I can't really recommend it because of the following factors:

- Weak worldbuilding: The three socieies were thinly disguised from real life ones, the Arpapajos are inspired by a Native American society, Rhen is a prince in a kingdom similar to a medieval European one and the Ourthuro seemed to be inspired in an African tribe.

- Casual racism: The Ourthuros are considered the villains in this story but the reason is never explained. Their characterization is reduced to black skin, being naked and tattoos and their behavior is very similar to all the negative stereotypes of black people. Having said that, there are some criticism to the colonial practices and prejudice that the Arpapajos suffered.

- Casual sexism: There are some mentions to the dangers and vulnerability that Jinjin has to deal with because she is a woman. On the other hand, Rhen drugs women. He thinks it's a necessary action to secure the kingdom via a reputation of womanizer. His behavior is never criticized and he never thinks the possible consequences of "ruining" these women in the society they live because he lives gold. I don't agree that it doesn't matter only because he doesn't "do the deed".

Rhen is supposed to be charming and tormented but is poorly developed as a character. Jinjin is far more interesting because she has a real conflict in the story.

They are supposed to be friendly since the beginning but I only felt that the relatioship had some depth after Rhen shares his secret. I read the blurb for the next novel and, even if it seems there are some interesting parts, there aren't enough to convince me to read the sequel.
683 reviews24 followers
March 5, 2015
[Full disclosure: I received a free ebook through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]

Normally I’m extremely skeptical of any book hailed as similar to “Game of Thrones” or “Graceling” but to be compared to both in the same sentence? I was pretty skeptical. But I set that skepticism aside when I read the blurb because despite the overly aggrandizing opening the rest of it sounded pretty good. I will clear up one thing first: The Shadow Soul is not really like A Game of Thrones or Graceling. However, it is still a good story in its own right.

The thing that really stood out to me is Jinji, the female main character. She sees her whole tribe wiped out by the man she loves (who was possessed by what she calls the shadow) and then is nearly killed in an attack later. Thankfully, she’s saved by Rhen and thankfully for Rhen, she then saves his life in turn. Both of these characters get page time in their respective points of view. The chapters tend to alternate but it never really feels confusing since both of them have very, very different voices. Jinji is more reserved and quiet in part because that’s how she was raised but also because she’s still processing the grief associated with being the literal last member of your culture after seeing the others brutally wiped out. Rhen is more brash and loud but you can really tell he has the best interests of his family in his heart the whole time. Having them travel together was a good idea because it forced two very different personalities to get along, all the while holding back secrets from the other person. Jinji is hiding the fact that she is a girl while Rhen is hiding the fact that he’s actually a good guy, not the hedonistic playboy the kingdom seems to think he is.

The world-building was good but it never really had that wow factor. It was refreshing to see a Native American-like culture depicted, particularly since in the kingdom it is struggling against the ‘modernizing’ forces of invaders and the fact that its territory has been severely limited. And it was nice to see Jinji struggle to keep some of her traditions alive, even if the rest of the people in the kingdom frown upon her culture. Seeing Rhen’s reaction to some of her cultural practices was nice as well because it reveals that mixture of guilt he has for being a part of the family that committed an effective cultural genocide against her people but also the respect he has for those people. In essence, it reveals a lot of the modern attitudes toward native peoples and one of the great things about fantasy is that it can hold a mirror up to our own world for us to examine. My only real criticism about the world-building is that I would have liked the politics to be a little more subtle than “that other kingdom is jealous of us”. That is certainly a factor in many wars and in politics in general but it isn’t the only one as is really depicted in The Shadow Soul.

I must admit that despite all of the deserved praise of this book, there was one part that I had to struggle through immensely: the pacing. The plot itself was not bad even if it was a little predictable because Kaitlyn Davis used pretty familiar fantasy tropes. However, the pacing was brutal in the beginning. I don’t mind slow pacing but for some reason I really had to force myself to keep reading until the story really got going about 30% of the way in. It’s not that the plot it self was boring but rather that Davis just doesn’t have that flair for description that some authors have. Some authors could describe a peanut butter sandwich to you and it would be fascinating (see: M.J. Rose, Kristin Cashore, George R. R. Martin) but Davis’ longer descriptions were, well, boring. Her writing in general is excellent but I just wasn’t sucked into the story as I should have been, considering that there is quite a bit of action in the beginning. It’s hard to explain as you can tell from my rambling, but it felt like The Shadow Soul lacked excitement until about a third of the way in. After that it was pretty exciting and I had to keep reading to find out what would happen next, but the beginning was quite hard to get through.

So while the book has a great premise, decent enough world-building and vivid character, the beginning of it definitely lacks “oomph” (for lack of a better word). Would I recommend it to most fantasy-lovers? Probably because there were some interesting plot twists, particularly toward the end. But it’s getting past the beginning that is the real hurdle to reading this book. If you can get past the beginning, you’re in for a treat because the pacing significantly improves but if you aren’t one for sticking it out you’ll be sorely disappointed. By the end of the book you’ll be just as eager as I am to read the next book but the beginning, for whatever reason, was the hardest part of the book to read. It doesn’t lack action but it does lack excitement, if that makes any sense at all.

I give this book 3.5/5 stars, rounded up to 4 stars for Goodreads rating purposes.
Profile Image for Férial.
426 reviews39 followers
March 19, 2017
Stopped reading at 40%-ish so, no rating. Just not interesting enough for me.
Profile Image for Emilia.
94 reviews
February 27, 2015
Filled with hidden demons

Yep, I'm already done with this book. There was just something about this storyline that kept me hooked. Once I sat down to read it, I just couldn't stop. Kaitlyn Davis knows how to write a good story. She was able to create to distinct point of view that even if you removed the name you knew exactly who was narrating that passage. Jinji's narration was very mystical and spiritual. She felt very connected to nature and the elements around her. You can just tell from the way she speaks about the world around her. Of course having the abilities that she does could be part of the reason I felt like she was so connected to nature, but, no, there is more to it. Rhen, on the other hand, was more like a city boy, looking at things through logic and reasoning. He is intelligent, clever enough to create a fake persona to hide his true workings as a spymaster. I loved how strongly their personalities came across through Kaitlyn Davis' writing. Beautifully developed, their character growths were exciting to watch. I especially loved reading from Jinji's point of view. Her upbringing and "oldworlder" influenced was wonderful to read. Her people will forever be with her, guiding her through life, not stopping her. Rhen's background was also interesting to learn about. He was a third son of a king, not commonly in many fantasies. I enjoyed reading about how this affected him. Most people forgot about him, thought him almost worthless, even his own father. To see this family dynamic was interesting, but what was more intriguing was the way Rhen acted towards this treatment. Rather than let resentment or anger build up, he seemed to almost flourish and enjoy the invisible power he was granted. He could be a spymaster as a prince because no one truly bothered to watch him. To them, he was the spoiled, lady-loving third son of the king.
All in all, the story was a brilliant and engaging piece of literature that I would recommend to fantasy lovers. It's worth it. However, I will warn you that it is a series so don't expect everything to end happily ever after in this first installment.
Profile Image for Chris Torretta.
863 reviews38 followers
February 11, 2014
I have to say I love Kaitlyn Davis and her books. I knew that I wanted to read this the second I saw it and the fact that she’s writing a sequel to this just makes me want to jump for joy!

Once again Kaitlyn is able to grab the reader with just a few words. Immediately I was enthralled and I knew I wasn’t going to be able to put this book down. Honestly I was also a little scared. This is about a girl who is raised in what we would call a Native American tribe. I had JUST finished a wonderful book about Native Americans and I didn’t want to judge this one by comparing the two. That being said the only real Native American feel is at the beginning. And again, this book is completely different from the other so my discomfort was mis-founded, thankfully so!

This story starts and the magic that surrounds Jinji is immediately seen. It’s amazing how Kaitlyn can create such interesting worlds where magic is used and accepted (sort of) and I totally bought ever line.

I loved the characters. Jinji is an amazing girl of such strength. Reading about her sometimes brought tears to my eyes because I couldn’t help but love her from the beginning. And Rhen, even though I was suspecting him of treachery he didn’t fail to be surprising at every turn.

And there are surprises in this. The main culprit I wouldn’t have guessed in a million years and oh how I wish that this wouldn’t have had a cliff hanger because I hated where it stopped! I can’t wait to find out what happens next! That’s the only downside to this fabulous read. More cliffhangers Kaitlyn, really?!

And in her blog post she answers with this:
"To my wonderful readers: Sorry about that last cliff-hanger. Well, no, not really. HAHAHAHA. But, seriously, I love you guys."

Well played Kaitlyn. Well played.
Profile Image for Jill.
344 reviews50 followers
March 10, 2015
This was so good!!!!
I already thought that the title and the cover was amazing so I was prepared. Obviously the two chapters were confusing as it introduced an entirely new world, new customs, and new religions, but it easily transitioned into the story, the setting artfully intergraded into the beginning plot.
This book is a split perspective which really added to the story. Dare I say it, I almost liked the boys perspective better. Rhen is amazing because he is a prince with a womanizing drunk third brother image, but that is not even close. Despite what his family thinks, he is the "spymaster" able to use said image to get the information on a coming war that nobody but him believes is going to happen. Idiots. Then there is Jinji, whose left without a home and taken in by Rhen, during his travels. Due to an illusion, he think she is a young boy. Of course, right. Well, needless to say he says things that he definitely would not have is she was a woman, and you know, if he found out, that might cause...... problems. Well, it is funny to read the book because with different perspectives it is always funny to see the others interpretations of events. Rhen is explaining the new world to her thinking he is helping her adjust. Jinji just thinks he is talking to much.
Also, Rhen's devotion to children, especially those in his family is soooo adorable. Who wouldn't love this guy.
I liked the ending a lot, needless to say, you will not be disappointed. (When you finish the series title makes sense in pretty much the last line.)
Definitely top read!!
Profile Image for Mackenzie.
17 reviews2 followers
May 1, 2014
A girl named Jinji lives in a Native American tribe called the Arapojo. Something is diffrent about Jinji. She has magic. She can weve allusions and and see the "sprits". On her marriage day, what seems to be the best day of her life, becomes the worst. Find out what happens in The Shadow Soul.

I loved this book. It was well written and really had its own personality. I would recomend it to any one who likes, sord fighting, magic, curses, ships, kingdoms, kings, queens, princes, and just plain awesome bookes. If you like all of these things you are the person for this book. There is a sequel coming out and I can't wait to have it. Have fun reading.
Profile Image for Thibaut Nicodème.
579 reviews136 followers
Shelved as 'potential-snark'
June 6, 2016
It's called A Dance With Dragons, and the blurb goes "Game of Thrones meets Graceling". Why wouldn't I consider a snark.
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6 reviews3 followers
April 28, 2023
Full review on Fantasy-Faction: http://fantasy-faction.com/2016/the-s...

I’m going to get this out there right now; I enjoyed this book.

It begins with magic and this is central to the rest of the story. I like the fact that the magic is not explained or constricted by intricate rules, it is a natural aspect of the world. It flows from the characters, more than one, and we learn of it as the story progresses. Never over-powering the story or seeming like an addendum to the book the mage works to give flair and creativity to the characters actions.

I’m also a big fan of the alternative viewpoint structure used in the book; one chapter, alternating, per character and we don’t take any side roads to a different characters. This means we get to see the events unfold from a slightly different point of view and to understand the characters’ interpretations, their fears, dreams and hopes. It works well in this short book.

Rhen is a Prince, the third prince and unlikely to ever take the throne. Instead, he is a wastrel, womaniser, and general layabout. He has a reputation to maintain after all. Yet, this is not his true face nor his true power. Rhen is a spymaster who does all he can to make sure his family and realm are safe. Adding depth to his character is his own grief, secrecy and desire for attention and familial love.

Jinji is young lady destined to be the chief’s wife, gifted with magic from the spirits but cursed to suffer loss and grief in her short life. However, she is determined, strong and seeking revenge. She may hold the key to the upcoming war. Jinji has dreams and nightmares. Are these portents and prophecy or just the result of her tortured soul?

As will be no surprise to a practiced reader, there is a nascent attraction between the two main characters and the author plays on this by having Jinji appear (via spirit magic) as a boy throughout the book. It is all very Shakespearean and similar devices are used to draw out the romance and both sides, even though one of them is unaware (Twelfth Night springs to mind).
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