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The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller was a book I saw time and time again show up on my recommended list from Amazon. So, I thought I would give it a go. Especially as I was intrigued by the description of it, it sounded like an enemy to lover kind of book. Though perhaps only on one side. This is one of my favorite tropes since the banter between the two main characters is usually enjoyable. Whereas, other types of romances just don’t have that. And if I’m going to read a romance, I need a good plot to back it up.
“They’ve never found the body of the first and only boy who broke my heart. And they never will.”
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?
- Published: February 25, 2020
- Page Count: 336
- Genre: YA Fantasy Romance
Thoughts on The Shadows Between Us
The first page of the book was enough to draw me in. There aren’t a lot of female characters that are so open with sexual exploits. Many books start at their first true sexual relationship and then build them from there. Alessandra is not that character. She has been sleeping with men for three years and blackmailing them into keeping quiet about their nightly activities. Not only that but she has been proposed to many times by these suitors, but always turned them down. As she has her sights set for the highest prize and bachelor, the Shadow King, who cannot be touched by anyone or even go within five feet of anyone. And everyone is trying and failing at getting him to court them. But Alessandra doesn’t back down from a challenge or let anyone tell her what to do, from the clothes she wears to the activities she does.
The Shadow King, Kallias, is drawn in by her and invites Alessandra to stay at the castle. Eventually revealing that he wants Alessandra to pretend he is courting her, so his council stops trying to set him up for marriage. Since he doesn’t have any true powers until he turns 21, and he’s only 19 at the time. He doesn’t trust anyone in his court after the murder of his parents to a point where he has no friends. So, Kallias looks to Alessandra for this. And only this. Which she agrees to as she plans to marry the king and kill him on their wedding night. What better way to manage that than gaining his trust?
However, she falls for him. Even though she learns he cannot be touched by another person or his shadow powers will stop working within their company. If he remains alone, he is invulnerable as he can turn into a shadow. This is something Kallias especially wants when his parents’ murderers are on the loose, one of his kingdoms is in rebellion, and someone is stealing from the nobility. Alessandra becomes torn over wanting to touch him, and ensuring that nothing can happen to him by making sure that never happens. To a point where she forgoes her plans to kill him.
Most of the book focuses on their relationship as friends and the troubles that face the beginning of Kallias’s reign. Alessandra helps him solve all the issues, which gains her his trust and affection. Spoilers since it kind of give away some of the ending, if you’re looking for steamy, spicy romance this book is not for you. There’s not a single sex scene, well there’s sort of one but it’s a fade to black. And honestly, it’s not much before that fade. And the kissing scene is very PG as Kallias decides to give up his plans of immortality and decides he wants Alessandra. I don’t mind this as I thoroughly enjoyed the plot of the book with solving the murder of Kallias’s parents, the Robin Hood situation, and managing the kingdoms.
The Shadows Between Us is a good standalone book. I found myself unable to put the book down. I literally stayed up until four in the morning to finish reading it. Because I had to know how it was going to turn out. Though this is classed as a fantasy romance book, it was more of a murder mystery of trying to figure out who killed Kallias’s parents and is actively trying to kill him now. The romance between Kallias and Alessandra flows very naturally to the point where several times I was wondering if Kallias would actually give up immortality for her. As I mentioned, it’s more of a friendship between the two that becomes something more. And less of an enemy to lover type book as I had initially thought. Since there’s not a betrayal, and Alessandra never once acts towards her plan of killing the king. Also, all the things Alessandra worries the king would shun her for end up being things he doesn’t care about. She slept with other men: oh well, who cares. She killed her first lover: whatever. Hell, Kallias even laughs over that last one and instantly pardons her and promises to still publicly propose to her. It was a bit surprising considering the lengths Alessandra went to trying to cover both of those details up. Not a typical enemy to lover book by any means.
Overall, I would give this book a 3.25 out of 5 star rating. And once I get through my massive in person TBR, I plan on getting more books from this author.
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