Francis Blair's Reviews > The Brightest Shadow

The Brightest Shadow by Sarah Lin
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really liked it

If I'm being honest, I actually didn't particularly like this book. The characters were difficult for me to develop any empathy for (other than the Deathspawn, more on that in a minute) and many of the training sequences felt dragged out without ever seeing any real progress.

So why four stars? Well, just because *I* didn't enjoy reading this doesn't make it a bad book. The work that was put into developing the world—not to mention the steadily ramping plot—was absolutely top-notch, and probably was the main factor that kept me going through the last half of the book. In particular, learning more about the main antagonists of the story was easily my favorite part.

In this story, humanity is at odd with a race of monstrous creatures known as the deathspawn (they refer to themselves at the mansthein). More often than not I found myself rooting for these characters over the stories other human focal points, and every tiny detail of mansthein society that I was able to wring out of the book just left me with more questions, and more interest to find out more.

Normally, I'd say that being more interested in the enemies is a bad sign, but in this case it is actually the story working as intended. Lin did a fantastic job making much of the morality of the book ambiguous. Character question their decisions constantly throughout, both those they make voluntarily or otherwise, and there is much speculation about whether these mansthein are really the enemy that everyone believes them to be. The legend of a hero that is prophesied to destroy them only further complicates the matter, as the hero is anything but what people expect them to be.

So, this book wasn't really for me, but I admire what it accomplished.

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Reading Progress

January 20, 2021 – Started Reading
January 20, 2021 – Shelved
February 9, 2021 – Finished Reading

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