Calvin Park's Reviews > Between the Shade and the Shadow

Between the Shade and the Shadow by Coleman  Alexander
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it was amazing
bookshelves: spfbo-2018, fantasy, favorites

I really enjoyed this one. Coleman Alexander’s Between the Shade and the Shadow is a mixture of a coming-of-age story and a quest fantasy wrapped in a literally dark, forested world. To top it off there are several unique elements from Sprite society, to the assumption of their culture that light is bad (since even moonlight burns them), to a fascinating and mysterious magic.

There is a lot to like in this novel, but I think what Between the Shade and the Shadow does best is worldbuilding and the main character. The world feels different, alien even, and that doesn’t really change even as we discover more about the world and its cultures as the novel goes on. The magic system is also interesting and has a very druidic (think druids in D&D) feel to it. It is a fascinating magic, no doubt, but I do feel like it might have benefitted from a little more explanation. Regardless, this unique world has a great deal to explore and I can’t wait to read more in this setting. The world isn’t the only thing worth noting in Alexander’s work, however. The main character is someone you quickly come to care about. This is a story where a single individual stands against powerful forces and is changed—less by those forces and more by what happens inside herself. Not only is the main character well written, but her Shadow also has excellent characterization.

Some of the side characters fell a little flat for me, as I felt like I didn’t understand their motivations. This was particularly true of one of the antagonists. I like to feel a little something more than “I want to become the most powerful blah blah blah.” This didn’t do too much to distract from the story, however, because while I didn’t necessarily understand the motivations, several of the antagonists are absolute bullies and you quickly come to hate them. So, I had an intense emotional reaction to the “bad guys,” I just would have liked to have had a bit more fleshing out of their motivations. There we also a number of typos throughout the manuscript.

If you love coming-of-age stories, interesting magic, and mysterious worlds, then this book is for you. Highly recommended. This is yet another excellent book that I found because of SPFBO 2018. Huge thanks to everyone that makes SPFBO possible! 4.5/5 stars.
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Reading Progress

July 14, 2018 – Started Reading
July 14, 2018 – Shelved
July 14, 2018 – Shelved as: spfbo-2018
July 17, 2018 – Finished Reading
December 14, 2018 – Shelved as: fantasy
December 14, 2018 – Shelved as: favorites

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