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Circle of Shadows #1

Circle of Shadows

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A thrilling new fantasy series full of magic and betrayal—from Evelyn Skye, New York Times bestselling author of the Crown’s Game series.

Sora can move as silently as a ghost and hurl throwing stars with lethal accuracy. Her gemina, Daemon, can win any physical fight blindfolded and with an arm tied around his back. They are apprentice warriors of the Society of Taigas—marked by the gods to be trained in magic and the fighting arts to protect the kingdom of Kichona.

As their graduation approaches, Sora and Daemon look forward to proving themselves worthy of belonging in the elite group—but in a kingdom free of violence since the Blood Rift Rebellion many years ago, it’s been difficult to make their mark.

So when Sora and Daemon encounter a strange camp of mysterious soldiers while on a standard scouting mission, they decide the only thing to do to help their kingdom is to infiltrate the group. Taking this risk will change Sora’s life forever—and lead her on a mission of deception that may fool everyone she’s ever loved.

Love, spies, and adventure abound as Sora and Daemon unravel a complex web of magic and secrets that might tear them—and the entire kingdom—apart forever.

400 pages, Kindle Edition

First published January 22, 2019

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About the author

Evelyn Skye

9 books2,088 followers
EVELYN SKYE is a New York Times bestselling author of novels for adults, young adults, and children, including THE HUNDRED LOVES OF JULIET, DAMSEL, and THE CROWN'S GAME.

She is a graduate of Stanford University and Harvard Law School, and she lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and daughter.

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5 stars
508 (15%)
4 stars
956 (29%)
3 stars
1,095 (34%)
2 stars
460 (14%)
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175 (5%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 718 reviews
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,535 reviews9,950 followers
December 5, 2019
UPDATE: $2.99 Kindle US 12/5/19

January Fairyloot Box. Okay, mine was damaged but I tell all about it in the goodie link under my picture. Fairyloot is on it to replace it =)


Thank God I freaking loved it!! I loved the world, the characters, the magic, all of it!! I love Sora (Spirit) and Daemon (Wolf)! They are the best fighting couple and I have to wait FOREVER for the next book. It better be good!!

On another note: Here’s the artwork of the couple that came in my FairyLoot box; it’s already framed and on my wall 😊

Happy Reading!

Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾
Profile Image for jessica.
2,555 reviews35.6k followers
February 4, 2019
one step forward, two steps back - thats what happened to miss evelyn skye with the release of this book and its so unfortunate.

this book reads like a first draft that hasnt seen any sort of editing or polishing. it has the promise of a great story and all the basic ideas are there, but it feels as if its been sloppily thrown together. which is not what i would expect from an author who has already written such a memorable series, one that i adored.

and i really wanted to rate this based on what i wanted/hoped this book to be, but that wouldnt be fair to the story that it actually is. i wanted to rate it on the inspiring and strong characters, the unique plot, and daring opposition. but its difficult to ignore the unimaginative and undeveloped magic system, the unnecessary POV switches which lead to confusion and lack of character attachment and growth, and the erratic pacing.

so whilst this story definitely has some positives, the negatives set the book back a bit. hopefully all the kinks will be worked out in the sequel.

3 stars
January 25, 2021

”Work hard. Mischief harder”.

Debo decir que Circle of Shadows es el primer libro que leo de Evelyn Skye y me sorprendió gratamente. Si bien al principio la fusión de un universo inspirado en la cultura japonesa con uno inspirado en la europea es un poco confuso, a medida que van pasando las páginas todo va teniendo un poco más de sentido.

Aquí nos encontramos con la historia de un reino llamado Kichona, que hace diez años vivió su mayor período de violencia por cuenta del Blood Rift. La emperatriz actual, Aki, se enfrentó a su hermano, pues él quería sacrificar a un montón de personas para lograr una utopía a través de un dios sangriento. Sin embargo, la emperatriz y sus guerreros, los Taigas, lograron vencerlo y, al borde de la muerte, el hombre escapó. Diez años después, Kichona es un reino de paz y una nueva generación de Taigas están a punto de graduarse. Entre ellos están Sora y Daemon, dos guerreros que se complementan con su magia y sus habilidades físicas y que están ansiosos por probar su valía, pero la paz del reino se los pone difícil. Sin embargo, en una de sus misiones de rutina, se dan cuenta de que un misterioso campamento de guerreros se ha alzado y, contra todo pronóstico, descubren que el hermano de la emperatriz no está muerto como creían, sino que estuvo exiliado y creando un nuevo ejército que le permitiera volver a desafiar la paz de Kichona.

La verdad es que me costó un poco engancharme al libro al principio. Quizá era la combinación extraña de modelos europeos con una clara influencia de la cultura japonesa, o quizá era que algunos personajes tenían nombres tan absurdos como Broomstick (Escoba, se los juro), no lo sé. Pero, a medida que empecé a entender el mundo de los Taigas y cómo funcionaban su magia y sus habilidades fui conectando más con la historia. Además, cuando la autora nos revela lo sangrienta que fue la historia de Kichona con la guerra, todo empieza a ponerse más interesante, pues realmente vislumbras hacia dónde puede llegar la trama.

Algo que me gustó mucho fue que, de un momento a otro, cuando menos te lo esperas, te lanzan un giro de trama que cambia los papeles de todo y hace que los personajes tengan que replantearse si realmente los Taigas son tan invencibles como creían o si, por el contrario, están enfrentándose a un poder sin precedentes y que puede eliminarlos de la faz de la tierra. Realmente el poder de los ryuu y del hermano de la emperatriz hacen que la trama suba un poco de nivel.

¡Oh! Otra cosa que es un poco cliché, pero que me entretuvo fue que Sora y Daemon son Geminas, algo así como parabatais, si estuviéramos en el mundo de Cazadores de Sombras. Los dos son mejores guerreros si están juntos, se pueden comunicar con un lazo mental y, adivinen… ¡está prohibido que dos Geminas sean pareja! Y, bueno, digamos que Daemon no ve precisamente a Sora únicamente como una amiga y, aunque sabe que no puede confesarle sus sentimientos reales, siempre está allí para ella. Aunque sufre por tenerla tan cerca y a la vez tan lejos, if you know what I mean. Ahora, debo decir que Evelyn Skye le metió un giro un poco raro y absurdo a esta situación sobre el final del libro, pero espero que sea sólo una treta para que en el siguiente ellos dos sí que puedan estar juntos. En fin, no sigo divagando.

En general creo que Circle of Shadows es un libro entretenido (más no espectacular, le faltó ese je ne sais quoi y que no hace que te aburras ni pierdas interés en la historia. El final, especialmente, es algo trepidante y lleno de acción y de momentos que en serio te hacen pensar que los personajes corren peligro real. Y por supuesto que leeré la segunda parte de esta bilogía.
Profile Image for Vicky Again.
602 reviews812 followers
May 7, 2020
I had a lot of trouble with the portrayal of culture in this book. Our fiction does not exist in a bubble, separate from the real world. Not when things like diverse representation have a very real impact on kids out there, thus we cannot say art is separate from our world.

UPDATE 2/3/2019: Someone asked Skye, and she mentioned how it is
“not based off Japan, but rather a made up country and culture. I imagine it not as an ethnically singular place, but a kingdom where lineage is mixed. The races are not specific to our world, because it’s a different world altogether.
However, the landscape and food are Japanese inspired, although not Japanese, if that makes sense.”

I think there was a lot of potential, but it was so culturally ambiguous, pick-and-choose that it was uncomfortable for me *because* it's impossible for me to not see the construct of race around me, after it has been imposed on us for so long.

I would not really recommend this, even disregarding the cultural elements because I did find it pretty slow.
January 20, 2019
Work hard. Mischief harder.

Sora is an 18 year old taiga apprentice. She is in her last year of school and bound to Deamon, another apprentice and her gemina, through a mental connection. Both of them have been marked by the goddess Luna to be warriors and are trained in combat with magic abilities to serve the empire.

The Kingdom of Kichona has seen peace in the last decade, since the defeat of Prince Gin in the Blood Rift. Ruled by the benevolent Empress Aki, taigas and citizens have rebuild their lives and flourished since.

Sora’s and Deamons’ first station of duty in a nearby sleepy town seems boring and quiet at first. They decide to take a trip to Sora’s parents for dinner and visit her younger sister’s grave. Sora is deeply saddened about her loss and Deamon shares the burden. He has been adopted by a wolf family without ever knowing who is parents were or why he was given up. Together they visit the Takish Gorge to honor his roots when they come across soldiers controlling local Kichonan citizens. What they witness and have to endure till they reach and warn the Empress, is nothing short of a thrill ride with backstabbing twists, sacrifice and deadly magic.


This novel was fantastic. An outstanding YA read filled with true friendship, startling action scenes and heartfelt moments. The elemental fusion of Japanese and European folklore gave away to a mystic atmosphere with legends, rulers, castles and magic.

This book kept me glued to the pages. The writing is flawless and I enjoyed every bit of it. I read a mixed variety of genres, YA is only a small part of it and I try to keep in mind that I am not a targeted audience for this book. So I am almost more critical in a way. But I am a fan! It is the best YA novel I have read in months and I can see this doing very well. I will most certainly recommend it to any YA reader that I know.

I am still swooning ecstatically!

More of my reviews here:

Profile Image for Kerri.
Author 14 books25.3k followers
June 20, 2018
official blurb TK. i loved this!
Profile Image for Alana.
685 reviews1,307 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
January 18, 2019
The premise of the this story sounded SO incredibly good but GAHHHH this was just so overly descriptive. Like, Strange the Dreamer descriptive. Which now that I look back on I also should have DNF'ed.

I was about 25% of the way through when I started skimming this, because I really wasn't missing much, just the color of everyones clothes. I was also extremely thrown by the names of the characters in this book. Every character has their name given to them at birth and then their name given to them at school, which okay no big deal. Except the names were things like Fairy, Spirit, Broomstick, and Wolf - so just, no thanks, I'm good. Right before I decided to put this down, the MC's were calling one of the enemies "bug boy" and I just couldn't take it anymore.

The magic was odd. You could basically think of whatever you needed to do and mumble a few words like "climb like a spider" and BAM! you're climbing up a tree like a spider.

At 35% I decided this just wasn't for me because I honestly can't think about another 65% of this book being descriptions.

thank u, next.

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Profile Image for Ashlee » libraryinthecountry.
781 reviews679 followers
January 14, 2019
3.5 stars

Thank you to the Balzer + Bray for sending me a review copy via Edelweiss and finished copy in exchange for an honest review.

This was one of my most anticipated 2019 releases, but it just wasn’t for me.

Instead, it was exhausting. And also one of my biggest letdowns as of late. It started off great, then got soooo slow, then weird and unconvincing. Honestly, I’m really proud of myself for actually having finished this - I was so close to DNFing it and that is something I adamantly try to avoid. I try limit myself to one read and one audiobook at a time, but I became so disinterested in this that I set it aside multiple times. It took me almost three weeks to finish this and in that time I finished eight other books.

Maybe it’s just me? Hopefully it’s just me because I WANT this book and author to be successful – but I really feel like there was so much untapped potential here.

The story started out with a truly fantastic premise. Bonded warriors, a unique magic system and intriguing mythology! However, after our two main characters infiltrate the enemy’s forces, the action and progression of the story really felt as though it fell to the wayside. For most of this book I felt as if things were dead in the water.

Near the end, the story became incredibly over-the-top and just plain weird. Not to mention, the romance aspect in this went in a totally unexpected and uncomfortable direction. One of the main characters is approached romantically while recovering from hallucinogens and it wasn't even treated as wrong. I really couldn't make sense of how the romance in this took a complete 180 - it was just so forced and convoluted.

Overall, I felt as though Circle of Shadows definitely deserved a little more polishing before it hit the shelves. I will be speaking about it on my Instagram soon - as I am apart of the tour (I am super excited and grateful for this!) - unfortunately this just wasn't for me. I certainly hope others will enjoy it more than I did!
Profile Image for Alaina.
6,423 reviews215 followers
March 3, 2019
I feel very confused...

Circle of Shadows was one of those books that I was dying to dive into. Especially with all the marketing around it. However, after finishing this audiobook.. I feel so confused about things that happened in this book.

Now the book started off with a bang but then it just got boring rather quickly. Plus, this is an audio so I have no idea how I could get bored listening to a book but it became a real thing for me. I liked the world building and the magical aspect of this, heck I even liked Sora. However, I feel like things were repeated so often in this book. You'd think I wouldn't have missed some information due to all this repetition but yeah, I totally did.

Then there's the freaking weird ass "romance" part of this book. I just didn't get it. I will admit that it shocked me but then confused me so freaking much. It came way out of left field for me so I have no idea how I'm supposed to react to it. Am I supposed to be cheering for these two? Shipping them even? Probably not because it makes zero sense to my mind right now.

Overall, it was good but I thought it was going to be a LOT better than it was. I had high expectations that just didn't match up with this book.
Profile Image for Amanda .
432 reviews156 followers
June 17, 2019
You can also read my review here: https://devouringbooks2017.wordpress....

Circle of Shadows is a book that I thought sounded interesting, but not like anything too special. Oh, was I wrong. This fantasy tale was far more captivating than I had imagined. The world building, plot and characters were all done really well, which is rare. I found this to be a pretty fun read, although a bit slow paced.

Circle of Shadows followed a group of 4 friends as they tried to protect the Empress Aki and their home Kichona from a magical attack stronger than anything they knew to exist. I loved the way it was written. A third person omniscient narrator worked really well for this novel. While the point of view switched between the main characters, sometimes it would include a POV from someone else, like Empress Aki, which helped give a rounded view of the entire story. We got to know each character, but it also kept me reading as I kept wanting to return to certain character’s chapters.

The fantasy world built was done well. The way magic was used in the story was fascinating. There were parts of it that were horrifying, like a ball of insects used to attack people, and other parts that were much more fun, like invisibility or characters chanting a mantra to have their senses heightened like a certain animal’s. As the traditional magic of the taigas came against the much more powerful and new magic of the ryuu, it seemed like an impossible task to defend Empress Aki and Kichona.

The characters were a lot of fun to read about. I loved how the band of four friends acted. They were a bit rebellious, but it was all in good fun. They would pull off elaborate pranks and were not super uptight heroes. They were unlikely characters for the center of a story, but that is what made them so great to read about. They were not super deep, multi-layered characters, but it worked because this story was more plot driven. The interesting relationships between the characters made for an interesting sub-plot, and the way the book ended there is clearly going to be more in the next book about their relationships.

Overall, Circle of Shadows was a surprisingly good fantasy read. I did not expect much from this for some reason, but I was happily surprised. The characters, plot and fantasy world were all good. The writing was good and everything was described so well that I could easily visualize the entire story. I want to continue with this series, but the author has other books that I really want to check out. After reading this book I can’t wait to check out Evelyn Skye’s other fantasy series The Crown’s Game. This was my introduction to Evelyn Skye’s work and I am very impressed.
Profile Image for Dannii Elle.
2,065 reviews1,473 followers
March 9, 2019
Gemina twins, Sora and Daemon, are two apprentice Tiger warriors. Sora completes all challenges set during their training with an unpractised ease and Daemon fights with a whip-sharp speed and skill, making them a deadly duo. But apparently not to those in charge.

Their discovery, that the Empress'es brother has returned to retake the throne, is met with little interest. The pair decide it is up to them to infiltrate this new enemy's camp and save their kingdom from becoming brainwashed by a magical skill they have never encountered before. However, this was the plan until one of the pair succumbed to this spell, joining the enemy pack and leaving them to fight solo for the first time ever.

The concept of this novel was intriguing from the off, as was the duo who centred it. However, as the novel progressed I found that the pace did not. Little new intrigue was added and, instead, this sometimes felt like a repetition of travel and fight scenes. It was enough to keep me reading until the end but not, unfortunately, to ensure I continue on with this series.
Profile Image for Ardent Reader.
221 reviews215 followers
February 2, 2019
The starting was great but while reading further I felt that the same thing was repeated over and over again.
But then again the world building was so good although the story began in a slow pace.
The romantic side of the story was totally unexpected at the end.
And there were some issues regarding the names...... Broomstick 🤣
Anyway I would like to recommend to anyone who would love to read books where the main character is a teenage girl who finds it hard to obey the rules.

Work hard. Mischief harder.
Profile Image for crescentdoe.
36 reviews7 followers
July 30, 2019
oof this book got mixed reviews so I thought I’d give it a shot but man did I play myself

the characters were just so predictable, even their physical traits seemed generic
Sora: mischievous, blonde, effortlessly great at magic, has freckles
prince Gin: a villain, disfigured, exiled but came back to take rEvEnGe
Glass Lady: stern old lady, seems to hate the kids, actually been rooting for them since the start

and that love triangle? where did it come from can someone please explain whY it popped up out of nowhere
I was cringing so hard and when THAT Daemon thing happened at the end I started cackling I was just so shook like what? just? happened?

I liked characters like Beetle and Broomstick but the problem was that theiR NAMES ARE BEETLE AND BROOMSTICK IM-

overall, I can see how people could have enjoyed it but-unfortunately-I did not
Profile Image for - ̗̀ DANY  ̖́- (danyreads).
258 reviews92 followers
December 19, 2018
. : ☾⋆ — 4 ★


ARC provided from the publisher via Edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review (thank you Balzer + Bray and HarperCollins!!)

Evelyn Skye can do no wrong in my eyes. bold statement, but I am here for anything and everything she has ever and will ever write, and I’m not gonna lie, I’ve felt BEYOND giddy since the day I got approved for this ARC, and I’m so thrilled and thoroughly relieved that I can happily approve and endorse this book to absolutely everyone that ever asks for fantasy recommendations, let’s go!!!!!

I couldn’t stop thinking about The Grisha Trilogy and An Ember in the Ashes while reading this book, and I say this in the best way possible. everything good about these two series, you can find in this book. in Circle of Shadows, Evelyn Skye builds a rich and gorgeous world full of magic and mythology and science, all in one of my favorite trope settings of all time: warrior academies. you’ve got tenacious characters, you’ve got age-old family feuds, you’ve got characters trying to stop a rebellion instead of starting one (!!!), you’ve got lively mythology and world building skills I would honestly DIE for, etc, etc. I feel like I could go on forever about all the good stuff in this book, like, honestly? Evelyn Skye is a treasure.

however my one and only complaint, and the reason why I’m giving this book four stars instead of five, might be the constant switching of POVs? I found no issue related to switching POVs when I read The Crown’s Game, but for some reason Circle of Shadows doesn’t work as efficiently as The Crown’s Game did, and (other than Sora and Daemon) I had a hard time connecting to some of the characters because we got to know so little of them, and their chapters were so few and far between. constantly switching POVs meant that some characters only got a moment in the spotlight before immediately switching to the next character’s POV, and then the same thing would happen again with the next character, and the next. I would LOVE to know more about Hana and Prince Gin’s story, I love me some good villains and they have COPIOUS amounts of potential. also Fairy and Broomstick!! this is not by any means a completely bad thing because I very obviously loved the characters still, I just wish I could’ve gotten to know them a little bit better. perhaps all shall be fixed once book 2 rolls around.

all in all, though, Circle of Shadows is an absolute gem. it’s enjoyable and fun and beautifully crafted—and I say this wholeheartedly, I can’t wait to get my hands on a finished copy. thanks again to Edelweiss+, Balzer + Bray and HarperCollins!!
Profile Image for Scrill.
408 reviews205 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
January 18, 2019

This review and others like it can be found on my blog, Vicariously & Voraciously

ARC provided through Edelweiss for a fair review. No star rating due to DNF status.

Sora and Daemon, her gemina, or bonded warrior are about to graduate to be taiga warriors. But before they graduate the once thought to be dead Prince Gin is spotted by the pair.

The Story-
This book sounded so good. I am not sure if it's just me, but I just can't read it anymore. At 30% I was already starting to speed read and skim as I just didn't even care anymore. Partly because there was so much repetition of the character's thoughts, histories, and how their relationship was. On top of all that the writing was drowning in similes. As much as I like vast descriptive worlds, too much time was spent describing all the details of areas being passed through, or outfits being worn. Less time could have been spent describing buildings and floors that weren't necessary as to moving the plot along. With that being said, the story also felt choppy. The chapters were very short and were split between at least 5 people so the story felt disjointed.

The World Building-
I am a sucker for Japanese culture, and I love that this fantasy world was derived from Japanese inspiration. From the taiga's seeming like a ninja/samurai combo with magic, to the names, and mannerisms. My favorite part was that the warriors were each in pairs that they were bonded too so they could feel their emotions and can help calm them, etc. I am not exactly sure if it's all that beneficial to be honest, but I loved the companionship. Maybe there was more to the bonds, but I didn't get far enough to see. But that was the only thing I did like in the world building. The magic itself was interesting, but was a little obscure. The taigas would simply place their thumb to their fourth finger and say something like "eyes like a hawk" two or three times and it would enhance their magic to see farther (or other animal like traits). However, there was at one point where the commander of the taiga's didn't even use the magic but asked for a spyglass. I thought that was a little strange.

The Characters-
I hate all their nicknames. I just can't. What is the purpose of them? Broomstick? Seriously? Even though he grows up to be a big teddy bear, to me that just encourages young kids to tease others. As someone who was really thin as a kid (no matter what I ate, though I was asked if I was fed at home a few times) I can tell you that it can be hurtful to call someone a stick or anything relating to that. I'm not going to go on a rant here, just thought the nicknames were unnecessary. Considering the characters are kids in a special warrior school they seemed rather immature at times, I guess I expected more from them. But not everyone can be Elias Veturious.
Profile Image for mina.
687 reviews244 followers
April 20, 2019
This was an ok-ish book.

For the life of me I couldn’t think of the characters as 18 year olds, most of the time I thought they were around 12-15. The writing is too simplistic, maybe that was the reason I read it as a middle grade book, the premise is interesting but that too isn’t build up so the whole book felt like a first draft. I didn’t get attached to the characters and didn’t particularly care what happens to them or to the kingdom.

Before this I read (read: tried to) some books that didn’t work for me and disappointed me, comparing to that this was a nice change. I wouldn’t recommend it if you expect a typical YA, but if you are in the mood to read middle grade maybe give this one a try.
Profile Image for greta.
210 reviews225 followers
February 10, 2021
unfortunately, i had to dnf.
i tried, i really did 😂 at first, it was alright. it wasn't anything special. it still intrigued me and made me think of what was happening next. but then i didn't connect with any of the characters, the plot or even the idea of the story. it was all so plain, so boring... the writing style was simple and easy to understand, so that's a plus i guess. but other than that, it only put me in a reading slump, i felt like i forced myself to pick this up and read and while doing it, i literally felt like i was just out of it. i put it down after each chapter or two.
i'm not usually a dnfer, but man this book was just a waste of time for me 😂 i managed to get to page 200+ and when one of the ryuu (enemy's warriors) managed to pull magic and gather a gorilla out of citruses... i just said to myself i'm done 😂 i need fight, determination, proper betrayals, hatred, unique magic in a fantasy read. not gorillas out of citruses. this book literally pisses me off lmao.
sorry, but that's the truth from me :)))
thank u, next.
Profile Image for Duncan.
2 reviews1 follower
September 18, 2018

In my opinion, this book is very interesting but it personally feels a little undeveloped/short on details about the world.

For instance, the characters who wield magic are known as Taigas. These taigas have access to magic which allows them to do things such as move quicker, be silent, leap massive heights, swim faster, hold their breath longer, stick to walls. Each is named after an animal, and I was left wondering if they could just chant about any aspect of an animal and be able to create a spell. They are performed by chanting a quick mantra and gestures with their hands. It is stated that their magic only affects the casters, as told when everyone is surprised when someone can use magic to change the world around them. However, there is mention of an armadillo spell being cast on the taigas clothes in order to make them like flexible armor. Which is it? Internal or external magic? Then there are the geminas. They can feel the emotions of another person who is also a taiga after they are bonded as kids. Does everyone have this bond? None of the adults are mentioned having one, only the four main characters. And it seems almost as if this bond is in place only to keep Wolf from confessing that he likes Sora, since geminas are not allowed to be together romantically for some reason that's never explained. And any time Wolf feels attraction towards her hes able to block her from feeling it through their link. Apparently Sora does the same because at the end it's suddenly revealed that she likes him too. It comes with no warning. Literally. Wolf is holding hands with another girl and suddenly Sora is in love with him.It feels like the magic was changed part way through the writing and certain items weren't caught.

I'm not even going to mention ryuu magic because it is simultaneously overpowered but is also handicapped because apparently each person gets a unique power even through it all works the same way? And are we ever given an explanation of how this magic was really found? Nope.

I enjoy the thought of the gods being true beings which respond to summons and give advice/their blessing to an emporer, but in the finale, the God that is summoned literally pops up, grabs some hearts on the ground, gives his blessing, and disappears. I get that gods are not super into mortal affairs, but this one was just summoned with 200 people ripping out their own hearts. I was expecting a bit more ceremony than:

"a giant with green skin burst out of the ground. His otherworldly laugh shook all of Kichona. Sora could only stare, jaw open. Zomuri swooped down and began tossing hearts in a sack, as if they were potatoes."

One of the fears of the current ruler is that if the one hoping to usurp her succeeds, he will attack other nations, and they will attack back. Do these other nations have magic? It's said that the patron gods of Kichona are what give the taiga their powers. Does that mean only they have magic? If so, they have basically nothing to fear from other nations, unless they have guns and Kichona is technologically behind.

As much as I've been bagging on this all so far, I do enjoy the characters. They're all unique and have individual personalities. It's easy to keep track of them all when they have special names given to them (Bullfrog croaks, Fairy flits from guy to guy, Wolf is a wolf-raised badass, Broomstick is the ironic one because he's built like a brick wall). Also it was an interesting reveal as to Wolf's true nature.

To me, the characters were one of the redeeming qualities, but it just couldn't save it for me. I didn't really enjoy much beyond the characters' interactions among each other.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Danielle (Life of a Literary Nerd).
1,224 reviews258 followers
January 27, 2019
2.5 Stars
“The Council pressed their fists over their chests. Every single apprentice and warrior rose from their seats and followed. ‘Cloak of night. Heart of light,’ they shouted in unison. It was a pledge of love and loyalty. And it was a battle cry.”

I was hoping to find a new favorite with Circle of Shadows becuase The Crown’s Game is one of my favorite books. Unfortunately, I just didn’t quite connect with the world or these characters enough for me to enjoy the story. We follow Sora and Daemon, elite warriors bond together, as they defy every rule to investigate an impossible threat facing their kingdom and threatening thier home.

Things I Liked
I’m a sucker for Mythology-based worldbuilding of any kind. Give me demigods and gods-blessed powers and I’m a happy camper. And I did like that part of the story. Though I did find the setting to be a little lacking, I really liked the myths and stories surrounding the magic and world history.

The action scenes were so clear and easy to follow without being repetitive or dull which was fantastic because I find that action is very hit or miss for me. Either I like it and I’m engaged, following along with every beat, heart racing. Or it’s messy, unoriginal, and boring. Happy to say I liked the action here.

Things I Didn’t Like
I didn’t really like the whole ‘Monikers as names’ thing that was going on in the story. I honestly never really enjoy it (It was one of the problems I had with Mask of Shadows too.) It just makes it way hard for me to connect/care about the characters.

So while I did like the history behind the magic system, I found that the way magic as actually utilized was so boring and kinda dumb. I don’t know, the repeating phrases felt bland and I just didn’t connect with it. It didn’t really *feel* magical.

There were so many plot points - especially given this is the first book in a series. Things could easily have been stretched to really allow for some impact and consequences, but resolutions happened so quickly because the plot moved at breakneck speed.

All the romances were unsatisfying to me. I new that there would be some level of unrequited feelings between Sora/Daemon because they’re partners who aren’t supposed to be in romantic relationships - it was bound to happen. And while I didn’t particularly care for it, I didn’t hate it either. What I did hate was the stupid romance that popped out of left field in the last 5 chapters of the book.

So overall, not that great of an experience with this book. My expectations could have been too high, but I still left the book feeling underwhelmed and let down. I liked the world history and the magical origins, but found the present day practicality lacking. Circle of Shadows had a lot of promise, I just didn’t buy in.

I received a copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Marilena ⚓.
632 reviews75 followers
February 8, 2020

Μου άρεσε αρκετά,απλά υπήρχαν σημεία που ένιωθα ότι δεν κολλούσαν στην ιστορία!Ακομα ένα στοιχείο που δεν μου άρεσε ήταν ότι ορισμένα πράγματα γινόταν γρηγορα και ένιωθα ότι τα ξεπετούσε!
Σίγουρα το δυνατό κομμάτι του βιβλίου ήταν οι χαρακτήρες και η σχέση μεταξύ τους!Ο δεσμός που τους ενώνει ως Jemina ήταν αρκετά ενδιαφέρον!
Θα το ελεγα light βιβλίο φαντασίας και θα συνεχίσω με το δεύτερο σε λίγες μέρες που κυκλοφορεί!
Profile Image for Lisa.
891 reviews538 followers
August 26, 2018
Putting this down.

So far the characters are pretty flat and something about the dialogue seems especially juvenile.
Profile Image for Tani.
245 reviews258 followers
Shelved as 'the-nope-wagon'
October 31, 2019
Sounds shallow but the reviews are unfavourable.
January 21, 2019
This book really surprised me.  I knew it sounded good, but I'm shocked at how much I loved it.  The pacing was great and I read it way faster than most fantasies. 

The characters were what stood out most.  Sora (spirit) had so much strength.  She never gave up and wanted to be the best person she could be.  Her gemina, Daemon (Wolf) was so supportive of Sora.  His strength was fighting, but he wasn't very good at magic.  Daemon didn't know who his family was and he definitely made Sora and the others family.  Fairy was my favorite.  She's Sora's roommate and is good with poisons/potions.  Broomstick is Fairy's gemina and he was good with fire.  This friendship was so strong and I adored each of them.

"Work hard.  Mischief Harder."

The Taigas are warriors that use magic and fighting to protect the Empress and the Imperial City.  Ten years ago, The Empress Aki had to fight and kill her twin brother, Prince Gin.  He let power get to his head and would have destroyed everything.  However, Prince Gin isn't really dead.  He has been teaching others a new type of magic and creating Ryuus.  They can see particles in the air and manipulate them for their magic.  It makes them more deadly than the taiga.  Prince Gin can also hypnotize others to do his will.  He is planning on killing his sister and taking over the palace.

The old ways won't stop the ryuu and Prince Gin.  Sora and Daemon decide that they need to do something, even if it gets them killed.  They decide to follow Prince Gin and sneak onto his boat.  Things don't go well and Sora is under the prince's spell.  But for some reason, it doesn't affect Daemon.  He's able to get word back to the Empress, but they are unprepared for how bad this battle will be.

The book has myths and wonderful storytelling.  I enjoyed the writing and the fast pace.  There is a focus on friendship and family along with all the fighting and magic.  I cannot wait for book two.

I gave this book 5 stars.  I won an arc from Evelyn and I can't thank her enough for my beautiful personalized copy (with letter and swag).   I also have a finished copy ordered and can't wait to get it.  This cover is gorgeous! 

Review will be up on my blog 1/26.
Profile Image for Blodeuedd Finland.
3,434 reviews294 followers
April 13, 2020
I am thinking magical ninja warriors at the moment, just that will suffice. In this world those with magic (ok this country, which is rather unfair to be honest, why just this country!?) are sent to become Taiga warriors. Trained to be the best warriors and to hone their skills, to protect country and Empress.

It is very YA. It was a fun ride, yes there are things that bothered me, but sometimes the read can still be enjoyable for the moment.

Like how the Evil Person was way too powerful. Why even have armies? That person could have the world at his/hers feet without an army. Then you are too powerful.

And how a love triangle came in at the last 30 minutes. That was very weird and I guess that will play out a role in the next book. But at the same time, why call it love triangle. These kids do not love, they are playing with lust. So eh, it works.

And how no one listened to one another. I mean if I was in charge I would put the obvious two and two together. But eh, it works, even old people can act like teens I guess.

I liked the concept of the world.
I liked the magic even if I wanted to know more how it worked, oh and the evil magic was waaaaay cooler (but yes too powerful.)

I liked the evil quest, in a adult fantasy that would have been very epic and bloody. Yes what, I missed the bloody parts. But now someone says, there was blood, ha, no I mean gore. Byt ahem, yes this is still YA so it is obvi better like this. I would say the evil quest is the one that intrigues me the most, I kind of want evil baddie to win so I can see how it plays out. Omg I think I am rooting for evil baddie *shocked* Yup I am rooting for the evil person! How on earth did this happen?

Ok so I guess it takes writing a review 2 days later to realise that you want the bad person to win. Who would have guessed. But the quest is just so interesting!

I am rambling. Right, Sora who should focus on her studies and stop being a fool, and Daemon her partner in magic and fighting. They are the ones that are gonna end up rescuing the world. Again, when I learned Daemon's history, well he became the more interesting story for sure.

There are more to come, but I happy to leave them like this cos then the evil person has the upper hand at the moment. Mowuahahaha, I will end it here then. No need to read more.

A fun little fantasy.

I think this might have been my first by Eileen Stevens. But I enjoyed her narration and she made the book, as often is the case for me when it comes to YA. Her voice worked great for these younglings and she did male and female voices well.
Profile Image for Vivianne.
340 reviews65 followers
January 4, 2020
Spoiler free mini review.

2.5 stars.

Overall this book was fine. I liked most of it but it was predictable and bland.

What I liked about it was the overall plot. It was very action driven, clear and full of twists, I didn’t really get bored due to that. I mean magical ninjas in training; who doesn’t want to read about that! I overall had fun reading it, which is the most important! Furthermore I really liked the ending! It made me really want to read the next book even though I wasn’t blown away by this one.

But I really felt like it was for younger readers. This can be because I’ve read a lot of YA fantasy and sometimes I feel that there is nothing left I haven’t read. I just felt like this whole story was very.. unoriginal and predictable. This made it forgettable and boring for me after a while.

I also wasn’t really invested in the story. Felt like my hand was held throughout it. EVERYTHING in this book was very surface level. I really missed debt; in the characters, in the world, the magic, the history, the villain. It really fell flat and made me not cheer on certain characters. I couldn’t care less. Also, the multiple pov didn’t add anything for me and just made it a bit confusing. Sora and Daemon would have been enough.

But there are four things in this book that knocked off that extra star:
- The way some characters where portrayed. For example the Empress; Aki, was not very empress like. I can’t put my finger on it but I felt like an empress would never behave that way. I just felt like the whole court and counsel was just there to be there.
- I hated how the love story played out. That was the only thing unexpected about this book. But it was also just weird since there was no chemistry between these characters.
- The magic. Was just a big no no for me. The way Taigas use magic with saying e.g. “I’m a spider. I’m a spider.” when they want to climb a wall, was just very laughable for me. It made absolutely no sense. Also, the way the others with the green floating particles that need to be controlled. Sigh.. The magic system was also pretty confusing and not well explained. Limits? Control?
- Finally, I really despised that they used code names in this book for the characters. They were absolutely ridiculous and didn’t add anything; Fairy, Spirit, Broomstick, and Wolf? JUST NOOOO!
Profile Image for Becky.
201 reviews40 followers
December 18, 2020
”Try harder at school. Push yourself when you become a warrior. But more important, be the best person you can be.”

This was an interesting read!
I did quite enjoy it. Looking through lower rating reviews I completely see their points as well but for me and he enjoyment I had reading this I decided to give it a 4⭐️

It was sloppy in some places and some parts felt kinda rushed, like towards the end the wrap up of the book was pushed in the last 50 pages or so, I was worried that when that happened it was gonna be one of those where everything was solved much to easily, but it wasn’t thankfully. I’m not sure how the sequel will go but regardless I think I will read it because I really loved the characters. I loved Broomstick & Fairy and Spark & Wolf, they all have personalities I enjoyed and Fairy is hilarious- I think she might be my favourite 😂

”Oh, I’m sorry.” Fairy said, sneaking in a sardonic curtsy as she avoided an incoming throwing star. “I was hosting a tea party for out visitors on the other end of the battlefield and we got carried away. Was I supposed to be here sooner?”

I did really like the magic in this world, it was interesting to think about, idk how original it is - I certainly haven’t read a magic system like it before, and it did intrigue me.

I think what disappointed me the most about this book was the plot twist that was around half way through I’d guessed it quite a bit earlier from how emphasised certain bits were, just continuing referring to something that happened and I was pretty sure that it meant something completely different. Uncovering this before the reveal didn’t affect my enjoyment too much, it was more I already knew it was coming so it didn’t have the intended surprise for me.
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