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The Shrike & the Shadows

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Men have gone missing before.

The village of Krume is plagued by a haunted wood and a hungry witch. It’s been that way for as long as Hans and Greta can remember, though they have never seen the witch themselves; no one has.

When men start to disappear once again in the cover of night - their bloody hearts turning up on doorsteps - the village falls into frenzied madness.

Hans and Greta, two outcast orphans, find themselves facing accusations of witchcraft and are met with an ultimatum: burn at the stake, or leave the village forever. 

With nowhere else to go, they abandon their only home.

As they venture into the strange forest, their path is fraught with horrific creatures, wild and vivid hallucinations, and a mysterious man tied to the witch's past.

The Shrike is watching, just beyond the deep darkness of the woods.

365 pages, Kindle Edition

First published March 3, 2020

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About the author

Chantal Gadoury

12 books388 followers
Chantal Gadoury is an Amazon Best Selling Author who is originally from the countryside of Muncy, PA. Chantal likes anything Disney, plays a mean game of Disney trivia, enjoys painting and has a interest in British History. Chantal first started writing stories at the age of seven and continues that love of writing today. As a recent college graduate from Susquehanna University, with a degree in Creative Writing, writing novels is a dream come true.

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5 stars
49 (21%)
4 stars
70 (30%)
3 stars
74 (31%)
2 stars
31 (13%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 173 reviews
Profile Image for amanda.
344 reviews26 followers
September 26, 2019
I believe most if not all of us know the tale of Hansel and Gretel.

Two children are cast out by their parents but leave breadcrumbs to find their way back home. They come upon a witch’s house and she wants to eat them yada yada blah blah. There are many variations to the story but that’s the basic gist of it. And of course there are many retellings.

The Shrike & the Shadows is one of these retellings. It is the story of Hans and Greta and of course the Shrike. The Shrike is hungry for men and when she comes you will know, as she leaves the hearts of her victims on your doorstep.

The villagers of Krume soon turn against the siblings and cast them out of the town and into the haunted forest to the waiting and hungry clutches of the Shrike. Will they be able to escape her clutches? Or will they fall victim to her hungry heart and lips?


Have any of you ever played the game Heavy Rain? In the beginning the main character is searching for his son and intones over and over again: Jason…Jason…JAAYYYYSOOOON. It’s hilarious in a way. This is how I felt reading this book. Over and over again Greta called for her twin, Hans, looking for him, and all I could think was that fucker could really use a tracker or a bell placed around his neck.

This was…disappointing to be honest. It showed a lot of promise in the first half but at the first titty suck it quickly went downhill. And yes, I said titty suck. There’s sex in it. A lot of it. Now, I’m no prude. Not at all. I enjoy romance and erotica to a point but when there’s a demonic witch bitch flitting about and literally tearing the hearts of men out, the last thing I want to be doing is humping. I put my kindle down and rolled my eyes. I understand that tensions are high but jesus christ, PUT IT AWAY AND FOCUS PEOPLE.


The characters are alright. I could throttle Hans though. Minor spoilers but Greta defending him throughout the book and blaming the Shrike’s hold on him. Um, girl. Your brother was going around saying that you nagged him LONG BEFORE THE SHRIKE CAME INTO PLAY. He was an ass long before any of this. Bairn was meh. Tolerable. I wasn’t shocked at his big reveal. More like…oh, wow that’s crazy *flips page*

The end felt rushed and I had to re-read it a few times to fully digest that it was the end. I found myself internally yelling at the characters that yes, you said this before many many times.

I did enjoy the setting of the book, this was a new fresh way to bring to life Hansel and Gretel and the Shrike was a really interesting character, my favorite actually. She actually struck fear into me. I just feel that this could have been executed much better. The timeline was also tricky. I was confused regarding the deaths of the twins mother and father and felt that that could have been explained more. The cover for this book is beyond gorgeous though and really well made. I am always here for dark retellings of fairy tales so I’m happy I got the chance to read this.

Thanks very much to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of this ARC. All opinions are my own.

The Shrike, kinder, comes only at night.
Profile Image for Vonda.
318 reviews104 followers
December 9, 2019
Dark and grim retelling of the fairy tale Hansel and Gretel.. Witches, wolves and a renegade priest included. A top notch read for any horror fan.
Profile Image for Marta Cox.
2,530 reviews190 followers
October 17, 2019
Well this was certainly a different version of Hansel and Gretel and if you are interested in an adult retelling then this might be the book for you. Hans and Greta are nineteen and sadly orphaned . Greta unfortunately has caught the eye of Emory the local holy man but what he wants to do to Greta is as anything but godly ! He bares a grudge when he's spurned and pretty soon manages to convince the village that Greta is a Witch. Hans and Greta are forced into the forest knowing that something malevolent lurks there but to reach the next village they don't have a choice. Unfortunately the Shrike is not a story told to scare children but is very much real and the twins are about to become her next target !
I was initially confused as to the age of the twins because they are referred to as children which obviously made the advances of Emory even more abhorrent. The Shrike is someone who controls males and when she's done with them removes their heart's but sadly I wasn't quite sure just why she returned their heart's to their loved one's. What I can say is Greta felt very lonely and was a direct contrast to Hans who wasn't that likeable and honestly his attitude towards women just stank ! There are supporting characters namely Brugg who wasn't really explained and then of course Barin ! Barin was a spot of goodness in this story as he's done terrible things but now wants to do what's right. Yes there's romance and yes adult content but this was not for this reader sexy at all. As it ended only one of the twins actually left the forest but it's clear a return is planned because let's face it the Shrike really needs stopping. Expect characters you won't like, depravity and to be left wanting more explanations.
This voluntary take is of a copy I requested from Netgalley and my thoughts and comments are honest and I believe fair
Profile Image for Kristi.
817 reviews196 followers
October 10, 2019
The Shrike & The Shadows – The Witch of Krume Book 1 by Chantal Gadoury and A.M. Wright is a retelling of Hansel and Gretel only the names (and places) have been changed to protect the innocent … okay, just kidding about that last part! It’s actually about Greta and Hans, the village of Krume, the haunted woods that surround it, and the Shrike (the witch) that preys on the not so innocent men of the village.

To start, this is not your classic fairytale that you’d read to children! For one, The Shrike is a witch that preys on men by using their lust against them. She lures them in to the woods by appearing as a beautiful woman and then things end badly for them, heart ripped out of the chest kind of badly. Did I mention there’s sex in this book? Ok, well yeah, there is, so like I said, not your classic fairytale. The villagers of Krume are a superstitious lot and at the bidding and lies of a few nefarious villagers – I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the pervert douche Father Emory here - are certain that the siblings are practicing black magic. Hans and Greta have a choice: Stay and burn for the crime of witchcraft or be banished from the village. Hans (who I’ve nicknamed the Horndog in my own mind) and Greta (the patient) choose banishment so in to the forest they go and what a forest it is! Here they encounter a series of misfortunate events and some unfortunate creatures. I’d like to mention that The Shrike is an absolute terror. I’m just going to leave it at that.

For me, this is where the story really takes off. The authors did such a wonderful job in the telling of this tale! It had tremendous atmosphere, was easy to envision, and the characters were well-developed and flawed – just the way I like them! It was an absolute delight to read and I’m really looking forward to the next in the series.

A big thank you to NetGalley, The Parliament House, and Xpresso Book Tours for the opportunity to read and review this book.

Side note: I’ve been sick with some funky chest cold so I read this last night and didn’t go to bed until 5:30 am until I finished it and I don’t regret it a bit!
Profile Image for Kat Mullen.
117 reviews28 followers
September 12, 2019
“Brooding is not an answer.”
Gotta love it when your main character calls out the guy and Greta was not taking shit from anyone.

This is not the Hansel & Gretel retelling you share with your kids. It was dark and twisted and it was so interesting to see this take on the story as I’ve never read a H&G retelling.

I was a bit confused over the timeline, such as how old Hans and Greta were when their mother died and how long Barin has been around, but as this was an arc (thanks Chantal for the copy!) it might be something that gets smoothed out by the final.

The authors were fabulous at making me care for our main characters and making me hate the antagonist (Emory can rot). But I was super intrigued by The Shrike, she’s a cool villain.

Lastly, Barin. ‘Nuff said 👌🏼
Profile Image for Erika Sarutobi.
581 reviews22 followers
April 2, 2020
3.75 stars.

Now the whole time I was reading through this, I honestly thought it’d be a standalone so it affected my opinion on the book a bit. Nevertheless, the writing style is phenomenal and I love it so much! It’s dark and the vibes, especially from the forest, it set in from the very first chapter captured me instantly!

A lot of things happens in the book and it has a great pace but sometimes the pacing is too fast that there's no time for the suspense to settle in much since the Shrike would attack and out of nowhere just stops immediately and the characters just run for it. This cycle repeats itself a lot until the end.

Most of my issue with the book is with the characters and their actions, mostly with Greta. She falls down a lot, instant attraction and obsession to Barin with the too many moments of “just met Barin but believes everything he says.” Hans with criticizing Greta for her attraction while he slept with all the girls in town and his constant lust.

Besides that, I wanted more out of the Shrike rather than popping up here and there and wished there was more information about her (this is my only issue when I thought it was a standalone). I wanted to know more about Greta’s vision (but they ended so abruptly and never happening again) as well as Han’s nightmares.

Overall, this is a really good Hansel and Gretel retelling regardless of my issues with the book. The writing style is amazing and I loved all the psychological and dark stuff going on and can’t wait to read the next book especially after that ending!

Trigger warning: sexual content, violence, attempted rape and gore.

Thank you Netgalley for providing me with a digital copy for an honest review.
Profile Image for Pretty Little Bibliophile.
657 reviews105 followers
September 6, 2019
Having read Gadoury’s work before and being an avid lover of them, I was totally excited to pick up this Hansel and Gretel retelling! The Shrike and the Shadows is truly one of a kind, and I have never come across such a retelling before.
The book was really full of emotions and action throughout – there was never any boring part and each word weaved together with the other to fulfill the reader's appetite and also kept him wanting for more. There is an amazing brother-sister bond and the world-building – the setting, to be precise – is eerie and whimsical and almost fantastical. We see various facets of human natures – the Reverend is a bad man who uses his power for all the wrong things and he is a vengeful person too. The same vengeance also shows itself through Alda and her lies. There is darkness, yes, but there is also the infallible human goodness too – Barin is an excellent example of that.
Throughout the story, we see the characters growing – the character arc of Hans is especially significant to read.
The thrills throughout continue to send chills down your spine and the brilliant imagery rend The Shrike in the Shadows an awesome read.
I really enjoyed this book and I rate it a 4.5/5 stars.
Profile Image for Aly.
2,462 reviews
September 30, 2019
This was an interesting read and not what I expected. It's an adult twist on the Hansel and Gretel story, the twins are nineteen and the witch is called The Shrike. She takes older boys and men and rips their hearts out. The Shrike lures the men through lust, appearing to them as a beautiful woman and bringing them to her. Hans is basically ruled by lust the entire book, even before The Shrike starts invading his mind. Hans sleeps around with all the girls in the village and that's what gets him and Greta in trouble. He can't resist The Shrike and it's up to Greta to save him. I did like Greta for loving Hans and doing whatever she could to help him, even when he's pushing her away, but she doesn't realize her strength. Barin was a good character, basically a werewolf under The Shrike's control, but he's slowly breaking free of her. I thought the book would wrap up, not leave us hanging! Guess I'll have to wait for book 2, although it's going to be a while lol.
Profile Image for Brianna Sugalski.
Author 3 books201 followers
August 18, 2019
The Shrike and the Shadows is a disturbingly dazzling venture into the depths of not only the woods, but the dangers of human-townsfolk psyche—and the horrifying truth behind folklore. Readers (and most certainly fans of dark historical films "The Witch" and "The Village") will enjoy Gadoury and Wright’s inventive take on Hansel & Gretel, and the bloodthirsty entity hunting them.
Profile Image for Permanently_Booked.
754 reviews54 followers
March 4, 2020
"There's a beast in all of us." - Barin

Retellings are always a favorite indulgence of mine. It's more so exciting when you come across one that isn't done as often. This novel is a journey into a dark and twisted ADULT tale of Hansel and Gretel.

After rumors of witchcraft begin to plague their local village, Hans and Greta are forced to leave or Greta burns at the stake. The story takes them on a trail through the Witch's forest where they are forced to face their inner demons, fears and Witch induced delusions of the macabre.

I thoroughly immersed myself in this novel. The world building is simple but the background to the Shrike, the Village and the Woods is easy to follow and feels like a fairy tale written by the Brothers Grimm. The characters have a vast amount of mental thoughts that tended to drag longer than necessary. In some cases the turmoil they were experiencing was deluded due to this aspect. However, connecting with Hans and Greta was very easy. They are both humanly flawed and express many fears and doubts we struggle with every day. They have a fierce loyalty that arises when times are at their lowest (even though Hans frustrated the hell out of me). Their bond, though fractured at times, never truly broke. There was a beautiful strength in that.

I don't want to go into too much detail of the Shrike but she is exceptionally well done in this novel. This is what horror movies are made of and what nightmares wish they could be. This is my first read of the year that made my inner horror lover completely satisfied. She is her own unique experience for the reader.

The ending was not what I predicted and honestly left me in a state of "well damn." The only true dislike I had were the chapters that went on way too long with nothing really happening at times. I feel less would have been more with this one.

I also want to point out that along with the graphic and bloody scenes there are sexual scenes and they do not all fall on the romantic side of things (some are horror movie level). Trigger warnings for attempted assault should also be noted.

If there is a second book in the making I cannot wait.
Profile Image for Tasha Meehan.
282 reviews16 followers
Read
October 18, 2019
DNF

This book has no trigger warnings for sexual assault. It was pretty early into this when the first mention of it happened, I stopped and asked one of the authors if I'd be coming across any more scenes like that one. I did not get a straightforward reply.

Books with triggers should state it somewhere in the description, and on the actual book. It should definitely be mentioned when you're outright offered a copy of the book to read.

I am grateful, but I am not putting myself through that level of anxiety for anyone.
Profile Image for Shatarupa  Dhar.
601 reviews74 followers
July 21, 2020
Series: The Witch of Krume #1

Synopsis:
The Shrike snatches the menfolk of the Krume village from time to time. There reside, Hans and Greta, where the latter dreads the day that Hans would be taken away from her. But after an attack on the village, the twin orphans are banished from the village into the dark woods. What terrible fate awaits the nineteen-year-olds there?

Review:
Ever since I read Between the Sea and Stars by Chantal Gadoury, I knew I would read everything she writes. Especially her retellings. While the former is said to be a retelling of The Little Mermaid; sub-titled the Witch of Krume, this is an imaginative retelling of Hansel and Gretel.

The author introduces the Shrike in the foreword. A murderous bird, it kills in a gruesome manner, leaving behind the heart on the doorstep the only indication that it has killed again. The story starts with a prologue of ten-year-old Hans who has had a terrifying dream while his twin sister Greta slept peacefully, followed by grown-up Hans and Greta when they are nineteen years old. Having only each other for company, Greta is the target of lascivious intent of the local priest, Father Emory, who's the sole authority on God in their village. But is the Father who he really says he is?

They lost their mother when three, and their father when sixteen. But Greta got the rotten end of the stick as there were whispers of her being a witch who had a hand in their parents' deaths. Not that Hans was altogether spared. Narrated in the third person, with the storyline running between Hans and Greta's experiences, this made for a riveting read! Though I didn't find any need for their names being mentioned before their part of the narration started, something which is required only in first-person narration. Especially since he/she did the job.

Their times in the woods is fraught with new dangers every day. There is a big bad beast too, though how bad is for you to read. The story seemed as unpredictable as it was predictable. While I seemed to know what will come next, reading it was somehow more chilling. Though it did seem irritating at how often Hans thought without his head. It is such a dark, dark retelling which I absolutely loved.

There is an element of romance too, between Greta and someone significant. That person has the story told from their perspective too, and I then understood why the mention of names was necessary. But what I found more fascinating was the author's play with the darkness that resides within us. And the twist that was there in the end, I so didn't see that one coming! The story has an ambiguous ending but there's an epilogue with the promise of a sequel. Though I do wonder how I'd wait for it, and for how long.

P.S. There are so many gruesome scenes in this story, which made me come up with this poem:
This story is not for the faint of heart,
as there are dreary dreams and relative reality
that sets it apart.
There are whisperings in the mind,
someone lurking in the Shadows
who wants you to go it blind.

The Shrike is waiting to attack,
even though the beast with the heart
will in all likelihood fight back.
Dreams of death and decay pervade,
but the light at the end is what spurs you on
through this breathtaking escapade.


Thank you to The Parliament House Press for an e-ARC of the book.

The other books by the author that I have read and also recommend are:
Between the Sea and Stars
Blinding Night

Originally posted on:
Shaina's Musings
Profile Image for Sara.
411 reviews66 followers
January 8, 2023
I have to be honest. If you told me a week ago that I would absolutely adore a Hansel and Gretel retelling, I would probably laugh awkwardly and nod along just to please you. Then I would go on my way, trying to forget we ever met. Now the joke's on me.
This book was outstanding! It's a fast-paced dark retelling that keeps you glued to the page. It's a bewitching page-turner, not letting you escape until the Shrike doesn't have your heart. In its goriness and creepy illusions, it's up there with the House of Salt and Sorrows. There was blood and screaming and disfigured monsters everywhere. There is no shying away from the slaughter the Shrike left in her wake. It's disturbing, it's not a light read and therefore may not be for everyone.

When I finally dived in this magnificent book I thought it’d be a young adult retelling of Hansel and Gretel. I requested the ARC because of the to-die-for cover and the interesting synopsis. If you think the summary seems amazing, be prepared to be blown away by the sheer brilliance of the whole book.

The story follows Hans and Greta. They live in a small village near the cursed woods where the feared Shrike lives and preys on men and boys. Since a long time ago, the Shrike lulled the men into the woods, placing their hearts on their families doorstep the next day. When after a chilling period of peace Greta wakes up with screams coming up from the village, she knows the Shrike is back. But it isn't until when the priest, Father Emory, plants a seed in the village's folk about Greta being a witch and Hans bedding his sister that they are forced to leave the only home they ever knew. But it was just a choice between the lesser evil -- stay and be burned on the spike like a witch, or go into the woods and await the death to slowly claim you.

Hans and Greta are twins, but they are like fire and air -- they bicker and spout hateful words but they depend on each other and can't imagine a world where the other doesn't exist. So they fight together and they love each other fiercely. I really loved them both. They were crafted so realistically, both in their vices and virtues!
Hans was like a fire, burning bright and shielding his sister from danger, but when he lost his temper he was the one endangering those he loved. He was infuriatingly likeable, like a book when it ends with a cliffhanger and all you want is to scream and demand Why. Why are you like that?
Greta, on the other hand, was like the air -- giving the space Hans needs and nurturing him, but extinguishing his flame when he became a threat. She was gorgeous and strong, and like a butterfly not coming out of her cocoon until she was situated in a different environment. She was the one keeping Hans out of trouble, but instead of receiving a proper thank you, she got berated for being too girly. More than once I wanted to bash something against Hans’s head to make him respect his sister again, but that’s exactly it. That's the woods speaking, it's all Shrike’s doing. And I couldn’t help but simply adore the imperfectly perfect twins!

"They had been so good at keeping their true feelings deep in their hearts, and they were paying for the consequences of their actions."

And then there’s Barin. A brooding werewolf who brings on the romance we all deserve! It was sweet and made me swoon despite being engrossed with the disturbing side of this story.

Also there is going to be a sequel! When I first read about this book, I thought it was going to be a stand-alone! Now I feel kind of cheated because I have to wait for a sequel that doesn’t even have a release date yet, but at the same time, I can't wait to venture back into the woods!

ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thank you to the authors!
Profile Image for Bella.
250 reviews26 followers
September 30, 2019
"No Man has ever escaped her with his life"
-Barin

In the village of Krume lurks something dark, evil, and gruesome in the shadows. There's constant talk about this evil force. Rightfully so, The Shrike is something to fear. Everyone talks about her but, no-one has yet to see how she really looks like. Men have gone missing before, and now it's happening again. The shrike is at it again. Killing the men and boys and ripping out their hearts and leaving them on doorsteps. We meet Hans and Greta whom are orphaned. The village of Krum think that they're prating witchcraft and want to burn them. Hans and Greta have to choose between staying in their village and fighting or leave the village forever; they choose to leave. Now venturing through the dangerous and scary forest, they encounter weird creatures, frightening mishaps, and......THE SHRIKE!
First of all, I want to gloat about how beautiful written this book is. If you haven't guessed by now, this novel is inspired by Hansel and Gretel (one of my fave tales)...just more adult themes. I loved the atmosphere of the book as well as the horror elements incorporated into the story. Often times I found myself hating Hans because he behaved like your usual male (thinking with his penis). He was possessive and controlling. Greta was a bit naive but, she was strong willed and overly protective of her brother. Their bond is admirable. The Shrike is everything everyone imagined. She knew how to manipulate the men and boys to seduce them and get into their heads. She did a few times to Hans when him and Greta were in the woods. Throughout all this Hans and Greta meet a stranger who wants to help...someone who knows The Shrike personally and who could possibly help them defeat her.
I want to thank the authors for providing me with a ARC in exchange for an honest review. Honestly I really enjoyed this book and I can't wait until I get a physical copy. The cover itself is absolutely stunning. I'm really looking forward to the sequel.
Profile Image for Jenn (The Book Refuge).
1,567 reviews2,259 followers
October 12, 2019
Well, well, well. This book was quite a surprise. I really enjoyed it! I didn't know what to expect of the story, but I have wanted to try some New Adult Fantasy, fantasy that was a bit darker, and a bit sexier, and this one sure delivered. This one was a Hanzel and Gredal retelling with a cursed town, werewolves, and a forest haunted by a man eating witch. No Gingerbread House here.

Pros:
Very dark set up. The Shrike is a witch who is picking off men and boys in the small village of Krume. She kills them and leaves their hearts on the family door step. Super creepy. The town has turned to a new preacher for guidance, and he seems convinced that they need to blame a witch for their problems, and his lecherous hands are wandering to Greta.

Hans and Greta are twins who have been left alone in the world after both of their parents die and they only have each other. There relationship was mostly realistic, but Hans is definitely the more annoying of the two.

There are other aspects I want to get into but I want to keep this spoiler free. I really did have a great time with this story. It was engaging, mysterious, and it had a great cliffhanger.

Cons:
The first half was built up very nicely, but somewhere around 60% there was a sharp left turn into the sexual. I know this is New Adult, and it isn't the sex in of its self, its how the sex arises and who is having it. It seemed a bit out of place and it was a bit random.

Also, the origin of the Shrike was confusing to me, they did reveal who she is but not what or how. Hopefully we will get more into this soon.

I give this 4 stars. I was very into it, it was a fast read, and I want more.

Profile Image for Lili.
41 reviews13 followers
October 12, 2019
The Shrike & the Shadows was given to me as an eArc by Netgalley in exchange of an honest opinion.

Have you ever heard of the Hansel and Gretel story? Of the evil witch that eats children? Well this book is not the typical retelling that I’m used to reading of the aforementioned fairytale. I was completely shocked to have read adult content in a retelling (I’m just not used to it). This book is completely dark and twisted. Perfect for this spooky season.

I’m giving it 3.5 stars. It wasn’t that bad to not recommend but I would not read it myself again. First with the things I like about it: the atmospheric feeling of the forest and the village. Although the words used were simple, I could imagine the forest of Krume, as if I have been there myself. The descriptions of the witch were well done. I would get creeped out at times. I do appreciate the dark twist of the plot.

Now, for things I didn't like. The brother and sister were okay main characters. Barin is the only character that I really liked and felt for. I would get annoyed by the sister because of all the crying. I do see how the author attempted to make her a strong character but maybe all the self pity and crying went too far. The brother was just a self righteous little prick.

Overall, I do recommend it to those who enjoy a dark/ adult retellings.

Trigger warning: sexual assault
Profile Image for T.B. Caine.
567 reviews51 followers
November 1, 2019
Thank you to Netgalley for giving me a copy to review!

4.5 rounded up to 5.

Dark fantasy retelling of Hansel & Gretel, lots of adult content so this is not a YA book! (I'd personally count it as New Adult but idk how Parliament House would categorize it.)

My only complaint is that the ending felt a bit too sudden for me and that there isn't really a resolution. Yeah it is a series, but I would have liked even a minor resolution and not have it so open ended.

For a book with a monster that kills men when they're alone, Hans really does go off by himself A LOT and then wonder how he got in those situations. He's a lustful and easily aggravated 19 year old, which is pretty accurate for most 19 year old men.

I don't have tons to say just because I did just enjoy everything I read. It was a good experience and I need the second book like right now. I basically was rushing to read the last 20% just because I needed to know what was going to happen, so I was definitely sucked into the story. I love the worldbuilding and I like the use of POVs.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
301 reviews75 followers
October 26, 2019
A more grown up telling of the story of Hansel and Gretel, with a dash of Red Riding Hood mixed in. I really enjoyed the more adult theme of the book, the Shrike is much scarier with a tree of death than a witch with a house of candy! I also appreciated how evil she truly is for no real rhyme or reason, just because she can and wants to. On the flipside of that I wish that there had been a better explanation as to where the evil itself came from, as we learn more about her history its obvious that she wasn't always evil, she was overtaken by something in the woods that we never really get an explanation of. The ending was also very unsatisfactory to me,much too abrupt. Perhaps there is sequel planned? I liked this book but it didn't enthrall me the way I expected it to.

Thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for providing me with an advanced copy for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Shayne Leighton.
Author 10 books326 followers
September 30, 2019
Beautifully written. A stunning collaboration by two extremely talented novelists. Shrike & the Shadows is the perfect balance of horror and fantasy that fans of darker spec fiction will absolutely love. The world-building is lush with dynamic characters readers will fall in love with. Not to mention, visions of the Shrike will totally keep you up at night.

I love my fantasy novels when they're moody, and this fits the bill!
Profile Image for Heather.
37 reviews1 follower
February 15, 2020
For a Hansel and Gretel retelling, it had it all the witch, the siblings, and the scary woods but it all came with a twist. The authors did a good job at retelling this classic story. I kind of hope there is going to be a second book, since the ending didn't feel finished.
Profile Image for Joanna Bennett.
1,110 reviews29 followers
December 30, 2019
Retellings are an interesting thing. I love that authors can take an older idea and create it into something new. It’s a remarkable thing. I will say that not many retellings have really impressed me. This one is based around Hansel and Gretal. I have never read one for them before so I was very intrigued. There were things I liked about this book but I also had issues too.

One of the things I liked was how different the retelling was. I wasn’t sure what to expect before reading but it did leave me engaged for the most part.

The book’s chapters are base around two point-of-views (Hans and Greta) until later on when another character gets their own as well. I do usually enjoy multiple point-of-views but for this book in particular it seemed to slow down a bit of the story. I also didn’t feel that the third one added anything new and could have been left out.

Since Hans and Greta are siblings, there obviously is a dynamic there but it usually felt one-sided. Hans may not have been dillweed to his sister to her face but he sure knew how to run his mouth around town. He used her as an excuse/crutch to not marry and stick his dilly dally in whoever wanted it. He definitely was a character I could care less about. As for Greta, she was sweet and wanted to always see the best in people. She didn’t care what people thought about her and wanted to help the villagers even when she knew what they thought about her. At least she had more sense than her brother.

The other characters in the book are pretty minor besides the Shrike and Barin. The Shrike is an interesting character and there was a bit of background to understand how she came to be. The thing is, I still don’t think I fully understand why though. How did she decide one day that she was going to rip out hearts? Did the woods make her? Is something else in the woods? Is she possessed? The possibilities are quite endless at this point.

Like I said above, the plot was engaging. Of course there were some slow parts but I did find myself curious and kept reading. The ending was definitely my least favorite part of the book since there wasn’t much closure. I also didn’t like the relationship that was forming between Greta and another character. It was very instant and I am just not a fan of that.

Overall, it was good but I just needed a bit more in certain areas of the book. I didn’t find myself connecting too much with the characters and definitely wanted a better ending. Maybe the book isn’t truly over and there will be a sequel? Who knows.

Book provided by Author for a review.
Profile Image for Kimberly (novelhaus).
117 reviews28 followers
September 26, 2019
First of all, thank you to NetGalley, Xpresso Book Tours, and The Parliament House for the e-arc to review!

Hans and Greta are two outcast orphans living in Krume, a village on the outskirts of a haunted wood plagued by a witch. The witch is known as the Shrike, and she terrorizes the villagers by taking the men and leaving their hearts as a bloody token of her visit. When Hans and Greta are soon met with accusations of being witches themselves and are forced to enter the wood the Shrike calls home...


First things first, I absolutely love the premise and the idea behind this story. It is a dark and twisted Hansel and Gretel retelling that definitely gives the creeps. The setting is well done, evoking foreboding and dread. The writing had flashes of brilliance, however, between those flashes I felt the writing lacked a bit, becoming mundane and too simple.

I had such high expectations for this book, so ultimately I was left a bit disappointed and there are two main reasons why.

First is that I actually had a lot of trouble connecting with both Hans and Greta. I found Hans to be rather unlikeable. There were mentions of how he wasn't acting how he normally was but since I felt I never got to see the supposed 'real' Hans, I didn't feel affected by anything he was going through. With Greta, she was far too naive for me and seemed to be crying all of the time? Granted, she was going through a lot but I found myself being annoyed with her rather than sympathizing.

Secondly, the story felt so slow. I felt like there was no clear goal with the plot and that I was just a passenger on some wayward vehicle with no set direction. This wouldn't have bothered me as much if the characters were more well-written and likable, then the more emotional part of the journey with the two characters would have been more captivating and able to carry the story better.

Overall, it wasn't bad. There were parts I really liked, the overall intent behind the story, the setting, the twist at the end, and of course there was Barin. But some inconsistent writing and lack of plot points as well as two protagonists I wasn't completely sold by have let this story down a bit.

If you like dark, spooky tales that are definitely more mature in theme, I would recommend you give it a read and see what you think!
Profile Image for Dawne.
Author 2 books3 followers
October 26, 2019
I received an ARC of The Shrike and The Shadows from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Men have gone missing before.

The village of Krume is plagued by a haunted wood and a hungry witch. It’s been that way for as long as Hans and Greta can remember, though they have never seen the witch themselves; no one has.

When men start to disappear once again in the cover of night - their bloody hearts turning up on doorsteps - the village falls into frenzied madness.

Hans and Greta, two outcast orphans, find themselves facing accusations of witchcraft and are met with an ultimatum: burn at the stake, or leave the village forever. 

With nowhere else to go, they abandon their only home.

As they venture into the strange forest, their path is fraught with horrific creatures, wild and vivid hallucinations, and a mysterious man tied to the witch's past.

The Shrike is watching, just beyond the deep darkness of the woods.

“Greta looked at the familiar faces of the frightened townsfolk. It was only ever in nightmares where the monsters lived, never at the foot of a neighbor’s door; ready to steal a beating heart from a warm chest.”

“You will soon learn that the first embers to alight in a fire are the most desperate.”

“I know.. Nightmares are just monsters hiding in our heads,” he breathed. “They are only as powerful as we make them.”

“Fear is a powerful thing.”

“There’s a beast in all of us,” Barin said finally after a long moment of silence.
I suppose there is,” she replied. “And the forest only feeds it.”

4/5 Stars!
68 reviews
September 10, 2019
Trigger warning: sexual assault

I love fairy tale retellings. I especially enjoy them when they add an entirely new dimension to the story, as Chantal Gadoury did in The Shrike & the Shadows. This is a dark Hansel and Gretel retelling, but it really only keeps the bare bones of the original tale: the siblings, the woods, the witch. It's recognizable, but not trite or overdone, nor does it rely on the tropes of the original children's story.

I definitely got a Salem Witch Trials vibe from the beginning of the book, and the priest made a convincing antagonist to play into that. Keep in mind, he's present as an authority figure, not necessarily a religious one; the problems he causes could be caused by anyone with clout and bad intentions.

I enjoyed the sibling dynamic between Hans and Greta, and I can't wait to see more in the next book!

I received an ARC of this book from the Author in exchange for this review.
Profile Image for Ari.
734 reviews172 followers
Read
September 29, 2019
DNF at 31%

This novel seemed to have all the qualities that draw me to read a work of fiction: eerie setting, close bond between two leads, a worthy antagonist. But...I have to put it down unfinished and pick up something else. The book thus far, in one word, boring. I'm not at all drawn by the leads—I find Hans to be selfish and Greta to be enabling—I don't feel a sense of any impending doom even after having met the Shrike and seeing what she can do (though she had potential), and I'm just not at all motivated or invested to continue reading. Granted, part of this might be due to this being an ARC and not the final published version and I don't want to judge it too harshly, but for the time being, it's to be set aside.

ARC received from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Jessica.
772 reviews22 followers
November 5, 2019
A dark re-telling of Hansel and Gretel, where the Shrike really scared me! The authors managed well to pass on the fear and horror the twins had to endure.

Unfortunatly I don't like Hans at all... He's often cruel towards Greta, and while she insists that it's the woods and the Shrike that's affecting him, I think that he's unsympathetic from the beginning (the way he views women...). I really didn't care what would happen to Hans and I grew tired of Greta's constant caretaking and excuses for him.

I liked the concept, but felt it could have been executed better.

I received an ARC from the authors and I'm giving my honest review.
3 reviews
December 27, 2020
The Shrike and the Shadows is a brilliant retelling that takes the familiar, flips it on its head, and cranks it up to one thousand. Right from the start, readers are sucked in with the complex characters and high stakes, and it never stops the whole way through--with twists and turns, mysterious back stories, spine-tingling thrills, and a spooky atmosphere, it's got something for everyone.

I had the pleasure of serving as the editor for this book, and I genuinely think it may be one of my favorite projects to date!
Profile Image for Juliana.
43 reviews10 followers
September 6, 2019
this dark and enchanting retelling had me on the edge of my seat!! this is a Hansel and Gretel retelling escalated to 100 and is wickedly beautiful! a must read if you are a fan of books like to kill a kingdom and a curse so dark and lonely. 5/5 stars absolutely!!!
Profile Image for Chiara | _ckarys.
379 reviews262 followers
February 11, 2020
I recieved an e-arc copy of the book from the authors in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

The Shrike and the Shadow is a new adult retelling of the story of Hansel and Gretel. I will be honest, I’m not a big fan of the original fairytale, but since this was a new adult twist, and having already read other books by Gadoury, I decided to give it a try nonetheless. Sadly, the experiment didn’t work for me.

Issue number 1: The lack of trigger warnings. It is not the first time I am contacted by Parliament House or its authors, and once again there were no warnings about explicit mature content. Personally, I don’t have an issue with them, but I know that many readers do, and they have a right to be warned—especially when approached for a review—about similar content. So for anyone who might want to give The Shrike and the Shadow a try, trigger warning!!! There is an attempted rape scene very early on in this book, as well as gore and sex (though frankly I’m a bit less adamant about pointing out this sort of content).

That being said, issue number 2: The pacing, which is incredibly slow. There are 30 chapters, and the better part of half of them are used to set up Hans and Greta’s escape into the woods. I do appreciate the care with which the authors represented the bigotry of a medieval small village, but at a certain point I got a bit tired of reading about the misogyny and zealotry and wanted to proceed with the story. Another thing that I thought slowed down the pace were the many flashbacks, which were at times hard to pinpoint as such.

Issue number 3: The characters. Throughout the entire book, I found it impossible to relate or get attached to any of them. The one who left the biggest impression was Hans, and it wasn’t the best. I didn’t appreciate his cocky attitude, the way he used and discarded women for his pleasure and the way he treated Greta was just annoying to say the least. On the other hand, Greta was an extremely weak character, hardly ever standing up for herself and incapable of taking care of herself. My dislike of Greta as a character made it hard to feel anything for her love story, which I found to be rushed and quite strange. Greta feels like a child most times, while, despite appearing young, her love interest is in fact older than her—which shows in the way he acts and thinks.
My dislike of the characters extends to the Shrike. I cannot understand this villain or her motivations. She was just evil for the sake of being evil, and crazy for the sake of being crazy.

Issue number 4: The magic. I can accept that in a fantasy world, sometimes something is magical because you need it to be. But my issue with the magic system in this book was that it seemed to have no patters and no rules. For the majority of the book, we’re led to believe the woods are magical because of the Shrike. Toward the end, we learn that the Shrike was actually a product of the woods, but how or why the woods have the power to change a person is never explained, nor is it ever explained how the Shrike’s magic works.

In short, I didn’t like this book. I feel like these are issues I could have had with any book, but my dislike of the original fairytale definitely didn’t help. However, if you’re a fan of Hansel and Gretel and want to try a retelling of this fairytale, you could give this book a try and see if you enjoy it more than I did.
Profile Image for Sheila G.
506 reviews97 followers
April 11, 2020
I received an ARC of this book via the publisher, The Parliament House, in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! In no way does this affect my rating or review.

description

All included quotes have been taken from an ARC and may not match the finished publication.

Content Warning: Death of a loved one, Murder, Gore and graphic injuries, Body Horror, Attempted rape, Premarital sex, Cannibalism
”We must all of us be cautious of the woods. The Shrike comes for all young boys and men now. Don’t speak to strangers! And don’t leave the path.”

The Shrike and the Shadows is an incredibly dark story, highlighting the dangerous paths that lust can lead one down. A Hansel and Gretel retelling, it draws inspiration from horrors like The Blair Witch Project. The tale is definitely tailored to mature readers, as there is a lot of sexual and horror content that is not suitable for young readers.

It is disturbing what the mind will believe once it has been deceived. Hans and his sister Gretel have always looked out for one another. Being twins naturally blessed them with a special connection. Their life in Krume, however, has never been very pleasant. Living on the outskirts of town near the woods, they haven’t managed to keep out of the town’s gossip and prying eyes.
”Make no mistake, Hans--the Shrike is evil.”

Despite the poison the town harbors, Hans loves having dalliances with some of the women there. Living alone with his sister is a lonely existence for a young man. So, he sneaks away to indulge in his escapades whenever able. Gretel, none-the-wiser, stays at home, refusing to go into town. The villagers had not taken kindly to them after their mother passed years ago, and their father in recent years. When their mother was found in the woods mangled, the villagers began whispering that she was a witch and deserved her fate.

The town’s cliche hypocritical “religious leader” only makes matters worse when he tries to blackmail Gretel after she refuses his sexual advances.
”But there is a kind of evil that is shrouded by what should appear as good. There are men like Father Emory who play their part. Suck the trust from those around them. Fill the minds of men and women with lies. And they are often the first who are willing to cast the first stone of condemnation.”

Hans stands up for his sister, but his devotion to Gretel comes into question by one of his lovers and makes him doubt his decisions of commitment. Ultimately, this is the moment where selfishness infiltrates Hans and begins to turn his focuses on his personal desires instead, and is the beginning of the downward slope for his character.

When a man comes up missing from town, the superstition of the Shrike (the witch of the woods) reignites. Coupled with the recent allegations of Father Emory against Gretel of being a witch herself, the twins are forced to flee town. In a place where men and boys aren’t safe, Gretel fears for her brother’s safety, and that he will become the next target of the terrible Shrike.
What Gretel doesn’t realize is that Hans’ demeanor is slowly shifting, as the Shrike has already begun the process of seducing his heart to her will.

Following the path through the treacherous woods to find a new life for themselves, the twins are accompanied by Brugg, their long time friend and mentor of sorts. The woods, however, has different plans for them. Death follows in their wake and a shadowy figure with unclear intentions joins the twins on their journey. With a harrowing past, this character may be the savior that holds the twins together.

This gripping, horrifying Hansel and Gretel retelling certainly makes one question: how far will one go in order to fulfill their own desires? Hans' character especially undergoes this transformation, from the loving brother to a bitter, resentful "protector" of Gretel. Complex, and not always likable characters gives this already edgy story even more bite. Heartache, betrayal, and revenge weave a tale that is dark and gruesome to teach its readers how selfishness comes at the heavy toll paid with other’s trust and dignity. As to the overall rating, this story's reliance on the amount of gore and disturbing content ultimately placed it on a lower rung for me personally.

Vulgarity: Moderate.
Sexual content: Markedly- including explicit sex scenes and disturbing sexual rituals.
Violence: Markedly.

My Rating: ★★★

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