(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)
Welcome to the Half-Light City.
Imagine a city divided. On one side, the Night World, ruled by the Blood Lords and the Beast Kind. On the other, the elusive Fae and the humans, protected by their steadfast mages. A city held together by nothing more than a treaty-and even then, just barely…
I was born of a Fae mother, but I had no place amongst her kind. They called me “soulless.” An abomination. Perhaps they’re right…I’m a wraith, a shadow who slips between worlds. I was given into the service of a Blood Lord who raised me to be his most feared assassin. Still, I’m nothing more than a slave to my master, and to the need that only he can fulfill…
Then he orders me to kill Simon DuCaine, a powerful sunmage. In the blaze of his magic, my own disappears. Instead of seeking revenge, Simon shows me mercy. He wants to free me. But that’s one thing my master and his kind will never allow.
And even if I thought I could trust Simon, stepping from the shadow into the light isn’t as simple as it sounds…
I was a little apprehensive in the beginning of Shadow Kin simply because I’m very familiar with the whole ‘assassin falls in love with his/her mark’ trope. However, I loved M.J. Scott’s take on this old trope because of course nothing is simple in the Half-Light City.
One of the things I really liked about Shadow Kin is the world-building. There are four factions: vampires, werewolves, humans and the Fae. There is a sort of tense peace between the four races but there’s a lot of compromise. The most horrific compromise is the fact that any human who goes to the Night World chasing vampires is lost to humanity and their remaining family have little recourse if their loved one goes missing or becomes blood-locked. (Blood-locking is when a human drinks vampire blood and becomes addicted to it, eventually going mad.) And of course since the Fae are vulnerable to iron, they also limit the total supply of iron for the entire city. Werewolves don’t seem to do much except fight with the vampires and fight each other for dominance. It’s obviously a lot more complicated than this but that’s the beauty of this book: the world-building is excellent and M.J. Scott is a good enough writer that she can play with the political tensions while still focusing on the interpersonal conflicts.
Of course my favourite part of the book has to be the characters. Lily is a woman that doesn’t belong anywhere: the Fae don’t want her because she’s a wraith and she’ll never truly belong with the vampires even though she does Lucius’ dirty work. She’s been manipulated and used for her whole life so when she tries to kill Simon, fails and then he offers to hep her escape Lucius she obviously doesn’t believe him. I can’t really blame her because I certainly wouldn’t in her situation. But Simon is one of those few people that is entirely sincere in his desire to help people; it’s almost a fault with him. He and Lily make an odd couple but their romance is very sweet. It’s not easy and even the caring Simon can act like a total jerk (particularly in the last quarter of the book) but that just makes it more realistic.
The plot is fast-paced if a little predictable. Well, mostly predictable—there was a major surprise regarding Lily’s powers at the end of the novel. Still, the creative world-building, well-developed characters and sweet romance more than make up for a little predictability. In addition to that, the ending resolves the main plot while leaving so much more for Scott to explore in the rest of the series. Shadow Kin is a good start to the Half-Light City series and I can’t wait to read more.
I give this book 4/5 stars.
[Book review by ForTheLoveOfBooks–CS.]
” I’ve left some clues for you.
If you want them, turn the page.
If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.”
So begins the latest whirlwind romance from the bestselling authors of Nick & Nora’s Infinite Playlist. Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favourite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash the right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?
This is the first book I’ve read by collaboration partners Rachel Cohn & David Levithan. I’ve read Will Grayson Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan and The Lover’s Dictionary by Levithan. At first I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book because a lot of bloggers have raved about this book, and I’ve come to realize that I don’t fall into the category where “everyone likes this book.” I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. Clearly I’ve got a date with this book again at the end of the year! And once again my cover gushing continues, but I really can’t help it! The cover of this book is adorable and I like all the colours of the buildings and lamp posts. Of course I can’t forget the heart-shaped crossing sign and snow flakes.
First off I will say how the book is written. David Levithan wrote all of Dash’s chapters while Rachel Cohn wrote Lily’s chapters. The story takes place in New York City, where Dash is spending Christmas by himself, he’s told both his divorced parents that he’s spending Christmas with the other, when in reality he’s by himself and quite happy with this arrangement. Lily on the other hand is upset and angry with her parents celebrating their 25th Wedding Anniversary in Fiji and Grandpa spending Christmas in Florida whilst she’s stuck with her brother Langston and his boyfriend Benny. The Red Moleskin Journal of Dares is Langston’s idea because he believes Lily needs a boyfriend and thus the story continues with the journal being passed back and forth between the two protagonists. Of course not everything goes smoothly with journal passing in New York City, but are Dash & Lily meant for each other? Read the book to find out! Continue reading