Shadow Soul (A Dance of Dragons #1) by Kaitlyn Davis
Age Group: Young Adult
Release Date: February 20, 2014
Amazon ♥ Barnes and Noble
GAME OF THRONES meets GRACELING in a new fantasy series by bestselling author Kaitlyn Davis. Jinji has been haunted by the death of her twin brother for ten years.
Now, on the dawn of her joining, the nightmare that claimed him has returned for her. Prince Whylrhen is determined to prevent the past from repeating itself. His kingdom is expecting a new heir, and he will stop at nothing to keep the child safe.
Though they've never met, the two share a deep secret—magic. Jinji can weave the elements to create master illusions and Whylrhen can pull burning flames into his flesh. But neither of them knows what they are truly capable of until a chance encounter brings them together.
For their story has played out before, in a long forgotten time—an age of myth that is about to be reborn…
I'm glad to say that I was pleasantly surprised when I read "The Shadow Soul" by Kaitlyn Davis. I found myself getting more into the book than I thought I would, and definitely enjoyed the first book in "A Dance of Dragons" series.
The information about the book related it to "Game of Thrones", which I can see. "The Shadow Soul" is also set in a kingdom where there's more brewing under the surface than it might first appear, and backstabbing and spies are the norm. However, there are some (better) differences between "The Shadow Soul" and "A Song of Ice and Fire," (which is the proper name for the "Game of Thrones" book series).
Since I have read both series, I can say with certainty that Davis' book is much more of an easy read. It's not as dense as "A Song of Ice and Fire" and I was able to finish "The Shadow Soul" in only a few days. It was also easier to follow all of the action in "The Shadow Soul" and that helped move the story along.
"The Shadow Soul" follows two main characters, Jinji and Prince Whylrhen (or as he prefers, Rhen), through their journey from strangers to unlikely friends. Each chapter alternates between the two of their point of views, helping the reader get a fuller understanding of what each is going through.
While Jinji has lost all of her friends and family and is going on this adventure to try to avenge them, Rhen has his own motives. He's the third son of the king, also known as the spare one that's not really needed or noticed. He has been living his life in hopes of doing something that matters, while also protecting his royal family and the kingdom that he loves.
I enjoyed the relationship that blossomed between Jinji and Rhen. While both of them had secrets that they were hesitant to tell the other, their friendship seemed to grow in a believable and organic way. Both of them save the other's life early on in the book, and throughout their journey they look out for one another in a way that can't help but bond the two of them. As their friendship grows, they begin to trust each other more and more, even getting to the point where the reveal secrets that neither one had shared with anyone else before.
Throughout the story, the stakes were always raised. There was no part that lagged while Davis was telling her story of far off lands, and the drama continued to the very end. "The Shadow Soul" definitely does not have a finite ending. Instead, it leaves things open and sets up for the next book in the series. Both characters are left in situations that make the reader want to grab the next book to see what happens, but sadly we have to wait awhile before we can see what exactly is in store for Jinji and Rhen.
Do I recommend this book? I do. To those readers who like fantasy and adventure, or to those who tried to read "A Song of Ice and Fire" but couldn't make it through the first chapter without falling asleep – this could be a series for you.
Kaitlyn Davis graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Johns Hopkins University with a B.A. in Writing Seminars. She's been writing ever since she picked up her first crayon and is overjoyed to finally share her work with the world. She currently lives in New York City and dreams of having a cockapoo puppy of her own.