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I have seriously loved Tessonja Odette’s books in the past, so I was excited when she announced a new project, which is actually an updated story that was previously released. Tessonja Odette completely rewrote the story, so there are plot changes, name changes, and other modifications. I did not get to read the original, earlier edition when A Throne of Shadows went by Shadows of Lela, but I was excited to read this one since it’s an enemies-to-lovers romance and described to be perfect for fans of Throne of Glass, Air Awakens, and Shadow and Bone. Of those three, I have yet to read Air Awakens but it is on my TBR as I enjoy other books from Elise Kova.
I did receive an electronic copy of the book early (Advanced Reader’s Copy/ARC) in exchange for an honest review. I am getting a physical copy of this book. I’m like a serial killer in that regard, I need a trophy for my bookcase. Sometimes I’m good with just a copy on my Kindle (generally romance books fall in this category) but as this is fantasy, I want… need the physical copy. Plus, I want to support Tessonja Odette. I have most of her other books on my shelves and I plan on having this entire series on there too.
As mentioned, I have not read the first edition of this trilogy when it was released. It was actually on my TBR until I saw in one of Odette’s newsletters that it was going to be rewritten, then I removed it to wait until they got re-released… aka now. So I don’t know what happens in this series, while there are a few copies left at the time I received the ARC, I did not purchase them as I wanted to go into this read with a fresh set of eyes. I’ve read every other book Tessonja Odette has released to date except for Twisting Minds, and I thoroughly enjoyed each of those books, which is why I applied to join the ARC group, so I could be one of the first to read all her new releases. And I hope I can continue to be on that list in the future, as I seriously enjoy her books.
So, there might be some bias, but I’m still going to give my 100% honest opinion. I’m not going to rate a book 5 stars when my standards for 5 stars are unattainable. I realize that, but I’m not going to change my rating system any time soon. If you want to know how I rate books, please check out this post.
A feisty outlaw.
A conniving prince.
A war of magic and shadows.
Wanted by the crown for a murder she didn’t commit, Cora dreams of getting revenge on the mage who framed her. In the meantime, she hides in the forest and hones her magic. But when she discovers her enemy’s violent hunt for faerie creatures, she forms a plan for vengeance.
Prince Teryn, heir to a bankrupt throne, will do anything to keep his country from sinking into ruin. When he meets a feisty outlaw wanted by a neighboring kingdom, he gets his chance. The woman has an impressive bounty on her head, one that could pay off his kingdom’s debts.
If Teryn can help Cora save a few magical creatures, he can gain her trust, hand her over to her king, and collect the bounty. But Cora has plans of her own, and none of them include being betrayed by her handsome new traveling companion.
The closer Cora and Teryn get to their desires, the harder their tasks become. And it isn’t just their budding attraction that’s the problem. A secret war is coming, one stemming from ancient feuds and forgotten fae magic. They must work together to stop it, or else both their kingdoms will crumble to ash.
A Throne of Shadows is the first book in the Prophecy of the Forgotten Fae trilogy. Perfect for fans of Throne of Glass, Air Awakens, and Shadow and Bone. If you like breathtaking magic, fierce heroines, and enemies-to-lovers romance, then you’ll love this epic fantasy tale.
- Published: May 4, 2022
- Page Count: 472 pages
- Genre: YA Fantasy and Folklore
- Available on Kindle Unlimited: Yes
I haven’t included that last one in all my reviews but I think I’m going to going forward. I normally mention in my monthly round-up if something is available on there, but not in the reviews themselves. So, I think that’s a change I’m going to include moving forward.
Thoughts on A Throne of Shadows
I started reading this book without reading the short description/synopsis, so I would be more surprised going into the book. It’s told from multiple POVs in the 3rd person (limited) including our main characters: Teryn and Cora. But there are a few others mingled in as well. For the most part, the chapters each take only contain one POV. Though sometimes it went back and forth depending on what was happening.
The first third of the book introduces us to the characters:
Cora is an 18-year-old witch who ran away after being framed for the murder of a Queen and Princess. She has lived with the Forest People (descendants of the Fae) for the last six years learning how to use her powers (sense and control emotions). One night she is kidnapped by a group of hunters and discovers that unicorns are real (previously believed extinct for 500 years). Not only that but they are being hunted by a group who work for the Duke that framed her. She decides to leave the Forest People behind to help a unicorn, whom she names Valorre, in rescuing the rat of his kind. He doesn’t remember his past or his original name.
Teryn is our other main character. He is a prince of a kingdom that is facing financial ruin due to his father. The only hope he has is getting the dowry of a Princess that was once with his half-brother. But in order to do so, he must complete the Heart’s Hunt, which means retrieving the horn of a unicorn, the pelt of a unicorn, and a live unicorn to serve as the Princess’s pet. She didn’t think anyone would actually be able to complete the hunt, so she could avoid marriage altogether. However, there is one additional way Teryn can get the money to save his Kingdom and that’s by finding and turning in Cora.
Before the latter part was revealed, I instantly knew it was going to be an enemies-to-lovers type of book. He needs to kill a unicorn and she’s going to be protecting them. The added layer of the bounty on her head is just the icing on the cake. As this book is a rework of a trilogy, I knew not everything was going to be resolved or fully explored in the book.
Only that’s not all that’s going on. A beast is eating the trapped unicorns once they are too old, hungry, and fatigued. A beast that Cora saw the night she was framed for murder. While she’s terrified, she is resolved to continue helping Valorre free the unicorns. It’s at this same camp that Cora’s and Teryn’s paths cross, which is about 40% into the book. The two meet at a stand-off as Teryn fails to throw a spear at Valorre (literally doesn’t throw it) and Cora threatens to kill him if she ever finds him intending to harm a unicorn again.
I won’t spoil what happens in the rest of the book, but it is a slow-burn relationship between Cora and Teryn. They aren’t the only romance in the book, we also have the relationship between Larylis (Teryn’s half-brother) and Marleau (his arranged fiance that started the mess for Teryn). While things develop in both pairings, don’t expect happy endings quite yet for anyone. This is going to be a trilogy, so things are still in their early phases.
Tessonja did a fantastic join of weaving the multiple plotlines together while building a compelling world without either aspect feeling like there was an information dump. Things were brought up naturally so they built on one another. At first, it felt like reading two completely different books, with chapters going back and forth between the two tales until they came together. This did make the beginning a little slow, but I couldn’t put the book down the moment the two tales collided. The characters are strong-willed and take control of their situations. Neither main character was just along for the ride. Sure Teryn at times did, but he also was an active player in events instead of only reactively responding to them. Something I thoroughly enjoy in characters.
Almost everything that was brought up in this book was resolved, while still leaving some things opened ended for the continuation of the series. It also leaves the mystery of what’s to come with how the story ended. Since how resolved some things appeared to be in the conclusion of A Throne of Shadows, Tessonja could come in with a twist in the next installment, especially with the prophecy still looming. And I’m looking forward to seeing what happens in the rest of the trilogy. This isn’t currently slated to come out until April 2023, but I’m looking forward to it!
Overall, I would give A Throne of Shadows a 3.75 out of 5 stars based on my rating system. If it hadn’t taken me until 40% of the book to truly get to that “I can’t put this down” state I would’ve rated this higher. But also, I’m not currently seeing myself picking this book up a hundred times over to re-read (though I could always be wrong), which is the main reason I’m knocking it 0.25 stars. I went back and forth on that rating three times before settling on where I was putting it.
Sometimes, I rate books in the 3.75-star range and they end up being books I return to constantly or recommend the most (examples: Bargainer Series, Zodiac Academy, a good portion of romance books on my Kindle, etc.).
Does that change my rating? No.
Because I don’t believe in giving out 5-star ratings unless a book is a true masterpiece in every regard and lives me unable to pick up another book for months. That rarely happens. So, don’t let the 3.75-star rating fool you. I think this book was excellent. And I’m glad I got to read this book early. And I can’t wait to see what Tessonja releases next.
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