Shadowblack, Sebastien de Castell ARC Book Review

Morning mortals! For those who missed yesterday’s post, why not nip back in time and read it, today I’m reviewing the second book in the Spellslinger series Shadowblack and some things might not make a huge amount of sense if you haven’t read that first!

Goodreads Summary:

It’s a few months since Kellen left his people behind. Now aged sixteen, Kellen is an outlaw, relying on his wits to keep him alive in the land of the Seven Sands. He misses home, he misses family and more than anything, he misses Nephenia, the girl he left behind.

Then he meets Seneira, a blindfolded girl who isn’t blind, and who carries a secret that’s all too familiar to Kellen. Kellen and Ferius resolve to help – but the stakes are far higher than they realise. A Shadowblack plague is taking hold – and Kellen can’t help but suspect his own people may even be behind it.

Like Spellslinger this is a fairly well contained novel on it’s own. You might understand things fractionally better if you read book one first but it certainly isn’t necessary. As someone who can never find the first book in a series in the library that suits me to a tee.

We join our heroes as outlaws, in new places but with similar struggles. Ferius is still a badass, Kellen is still an endearing failure and Reichis is still the best character. We do meet some new characters however, including the satisfyingly blunt Seneira and the somewhat unusual Rosie. It’s good to throw some more characters into the mix in a second novel and these do the job nicely.

Where book #1 felt more like an action novel this book has a bit more of a pronounced mystery element to it. That’s not to say that there isn’t action in spades in this book, just that the mystery was more prominent in this instance. That suited me also since I was raised on Agatha Christie and I adore a mysterious evil force.

Again, however, I have been forced to deduct a star for pointless romance. In this book, not only is Kellen still mooning after Nephenia which I still don’t understand, but there’s a whole other female character for him to pointlessly stare at. I just can’t understand why the author keeps spoiling these perfectly good stories, which have well written female characters, with romance plots which are devoid of any purpose and aren’t written that well. It frustrates me no end.

This is still an entertaining book that will appeal to a lot of different people. I’m interested to see if this develops in later books (if there are later books) as I think that the characters and the relationships I am invested in can only get better as time goes on. We shall see.

My rating: 4/5 stars

Shadowblack releases on the 5th of October so keep your eyes peeled for this lovely blue cover!

By the way, I received a digital advanced review copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review, all opinions are my own.

What say you? Have you enjoyed this little two parter of a review? Proud of me for actually reading books in the right order? Let me know in the comments below!


3 thoughts on “Shadowblack, Sebastien de Castell ARC Book Review

Add yours

  1. Heh, this time we’re totally in agreement 🙂 While I was more forgiving of Nephenia than you (teenage hormones, natch), the flip in Shadowblack from ‘there’s this pretty girl who is mean to you’ to ‘there’s this pretty girl who is wonderful in every way and you are totally bowled over by her’ was so abrupt I couldn’t figure out whether Kellen had been hit on the head. Maybe I should’ve thought ‘heh, teenage hormones, natch’ again, but… this time it just felt forced for me, like ‘oh, YA, best pop in a romance then’. By the end Seneira came into her own as a character, but even so – Kellen did so much growing up here, it would’ve been nice if he’d been invested in saving her / her family without needing to have a big fat crush to spur him on. Maybe next time? Still a lot of fun though (and yes – Reichis, every time!)

    Liked by 1 person

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