Rating: 4.5 Star
I knew from the dedication that I was going to love this book. The author describes it as a Slytherin romance, which feels incredibly accurate! The MC Alessandra was a delightful, morally grey character, who was completely unapologetic about it. She was witty, and ambitious and not at all sorry for creating waves in high society or insulting the king, or even for killing her first love who broke up with her. I love seeing morally grey characters feel so free rather than always doubting themselves or being worried about whether they’re a good person or not. Alessandra was a sassy, sexually empowered, say-what-you-want women, who doesn’t care that she’s supposed to be a demure lady looking for a husband. Instead she’s having a great time being with whomever she chooses, waiting for the right opportunity to meet the king and get him to fall in love with her. this was a true delight to read, and we need more characters like in our YA Fantasy. Aside from Alessandra, the side characters were also wonderfully written. I enjoyed her female friends, who were very different but lovely all the same. Seeing their lives develop alongside Alessandra was the perfect addition. It was also great to see Alessandra made her own dresses and for her to actually have a hobby in a time/ world when women were supposed to just read, embroider etc, added to her excellence as a character. The others she met during her time at court were also great, her banter and experiences with them brought the lightness and fun to the story. I wasn’t expecting the King to be just as morally grey and ambitious as Alessandra. They truly were perfectly matched, his actions were just as carefully thought through and ruthless as hers, and I loved it. The time they spent together was intriguing and every new nugget of backstory we learned about him made me like him even more. Their story took was unexpected turns but it worked perfectly, and watching them work together, as well as come to understand each other better, was very enjoyable. I loved the court intrigue, the balance between political alliances and what the person actually wants, and between what is acceptable, and what pushes the boundaries but not too far. I love it all, it’s so fun and of course includes lots of scheming and plotting, and then the escaping to have some real fun. This book had a great mix of all of this and more, I coulnt get enough of it. The author found the balance between what would be realistic and what can be altered to make a great story really well. The pacing was well done, and the book flowed well, it didn’t have any slow areas and each scene felt so well places; which is especially important for a standalone! I loved watching Alessandra navigate through the court politics as well as her role with the Kallias. However, I did find Kallias a bit contrasting; in some ways he was strong, ambitious, morally grey but then he gets rather soft and mushy when it comes to Alessandra. Which I suppose makes sense, from a romance point of view but it didn’t quite connect for me. However, overall, I still enjoyed his character and interactions with Alessandra. The ending was very predictable, so I was a little disappointed that more drama didn’t happen, although the book flowed very and it made sense with the story. The overall villain I hadn’t guessed (but I also am terrible at guessing endings!) so that was a fun twist! Overall, I absolutely adored the book, especially as a standalone, it had my favourite type of main character as well as a story full of scheming! I will definitely be reading more Tricia Levenseller books based on this.
Alessandra is tired of being overlooked, but she has a plan to gain power: 1) Woo the Shadow King. 2) Marry him. 3) Kill him and take his kingdom for herself. No one knows the extent of the freshly crowned Shadow King’s power. Some say he can command the shadows that swirl around him to do his bidding. Others say they speak to him, whispering the thoughts of his enemies. Regardless, Alessandra knows what she deserves, and she’s going to do everything within her power to get it. But Alessandra’s not the only one trying to kill the king. As attempts on his life are made, she finds herself trying to keep him alive long enough for him to make her his queen—all while struggling not to lose her heart. After all, who better for a Shadow King than a cunning, villainous queen?
Title: Shadows Between Us
Author: Tricia Levensellar
Date Published: February 25th 2020
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends