As I scrolled through list upon list of new releases for 2019, a few books had covers that just jumped out at me. Circle of Shadows was a complete cover buy for me… it wasn’t until after I’d purchased it that I looked up the actual synopsis of the novel.
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
Sora can move as silently as a ghost and hurl throwing stars with lethal accuracy. Her gemina, Daemon, can win any physical fight blindfolded and with an arm tied around his back. They are apprentice warriors of the Society of Taigas—marked by the gods to be trained in magic and the fighting arts to protect the kingdom of Kichona.
As their graduation approaches, Sora and Daemon look forward to proving themselves worthy of belonging in the elite group—but in a kingdom free of violence since the Blood Rift Rebellion many years ago, it’s been difficult to make their mark.
So when Sora and Daemon encounter a strange camp of mysterious soldiers while on a standard scouting mission, they decide the only thing to do to help their kingdom is to infiltrate the group. Taking this risk will change Sora’s life forever—and lead her on a mission of deception that may fool everyone she’s ever loved.
Love, spies, and adventure abound as Sora and Daemon unravel a complex web of magic and secrets that might tear them—and the entire kingdom—apart forever.
Geminas vs. Parabati
Immediately, I drew a parallel between geminas and parabati. There are some major similarities between the two different bonded warrior pairings. For starters, geminas and parabati are both forbidden from romantic relationships. Having just finished The Dark Artifices, I automatically assumed Sora and Daemon would end up having feelings for one another. It was also immediately evident that I was right, but the feelings are one sided.
Geminas apparently also go through some kind of bonding ceremony, but the ceremony isn’t exactly described. Whereas we get a glimpse into the parabati ceremony with Emma and Jules, we don’t actually learn (in this book) how Daemon and Sora came to be geminas.
I love a good magic system. The Society of Taigas has a relatively simplistic magic system. Taigas form mudras with their hands and then chant their spell – which allows them to basically channel all different types of animals. I enjoyed the simplicity of the Society’s magic.
However, this isn’t the only magic system in the book. The Rebels who follow the villain of the story are gifted by the villain with the Sight. This allows them to actually see the magic they’re using. In fact, they have to see the magic otherwise they can’t use it. The strands of magic the Rebels use are emerald green in color and the Rebels do not have to form mudras to use it. This gives them an advantage that taigas do not have.
Overall, the two different magic systems were my favorite part of this novel. They weren’t overly complicated, but they were definitely well thought out.
While Sora and Daemon leaped off the pages at me, a lot of the other characters fell short. They were developed well enough, but they didn’t seem as alive as the main characters. Fairy was decently developed and I could picture her in my mind, but I couldn’t even begin to describe Broomstick to you. This might not be a problem for some people, but when I’m reading I like to have a visual of every character so I can cast the movie in my mind.
I guess what my point is here is that Evelyn Skye developed her characters’ personalities well, I just couldn’t visualize them. Oh, and I still really liked most of the characters.
One of the main reasons my rating is lower than normal on a book I enjoyed is it read a lot like a draft. Meaning I found a lot of grammatical errors and it was almost like no one edited or proofed the work. While the plot, characters, and magic were all really interesting, I couldn’t quite get past the mistakes I found. Normally I’m okay with one or two errors in a print book, but I expect a higher quality of editing in physical books than I do in my eBooks. This one was a miss in editing, but I, overall, enjoyed the novel.
Yes, I enjoyed this book. Yes, I will pick up the sequel. Yes, I would recommend it to people who enjoy fantasy. I would also recommend it to people who are particularly interested in magic systems as I feel this novel has a really solid one.
Are you particular about grammar in books? Does it bother you when you find errors? Have you read Circle of Shadows? What about the Crown’s Game series? Leave me your thoughts in the comments.