Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Promise of Shadows by Justina Ireland [Review]

Promise of Shadows3.5 out of 5 Robots!

Promise of Shadows by Justina Ireland
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release: March 11, 2014
Hardcover: 371 Pages
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers
My Copy: Publisher (Edelweiss)
Reviewer: Shannon
Buy the Book: Amazon

Book Summary:
Zephyr Mourning has never been very good at being a Harpy. She’d rather watch reality TV than learn forty-seven ways to kill a man, and she pretty much sucks at wielding magic. Zephyr was ready for a future pretending to be a normal human instead of a half-god assassin. But all that changes when her sister is murdered—and she uses a forbidden dark power to save herself from the same fate.

Zephyr is on the run from a punishment worse than death when an unexpected reunion with a childhood friend (a surprisingly HOT friend) changes everything. Because it seems like Zephyr might just be the Nyx, a dark goddess made flesh that is prophesied to change the power balance. For hundreds of years the half-gods have lived in fear, and Zephyr is supposed to change that.

But how is she supposed to save everyone when she can’t even save herself?
(Courtesy of the Publisher)

Shannon's Thoughts:
First of all, the book description is very misleading, because it makes it sound like Zephyr is bubblegum lazy teenager who gets thrown into a bad situation. But, that's not really how it goes down.  First of all, the book opens right in the middle of the story.  Zephyr is in the Underworld, in Thanatos, as punishment for killing the god who murdered her sister.  We don't know how or why her sister was killed.  Or how Zephyr managed to actually kill a god, since it should have been impossible.  Sometimes this storytelling technique works.  But I don't think it worked here.  I think the problem is that not only do we have to sift through the mystery building aspect of the murder, but also through the fairly complex mythology.  I was very disoriented at the beginning of the book as I tried to understand who Zephyr was as a person and as a mythological creature and how she fit into the larger Greek inspired mythology of the story.  There was just too much to cipher and not enough groundwork and upfront background information.  It was all a muddle.

About half way through the novel, the story started to come together and I started to enjoy myself lot more.  However, I still didn't feel very connected to the characters, who remain a bit two dimensional.  I do give props for giving us something different - especially where Greek mythology inspired stories are concerned.  And there were definitely some great touches.  I loved the descriptions of the Underworld the most.  I also think it is great that this is a standalone novel with a sweet and fitting conclusion. 

Overall, this wasn't a homerun for me, but there was some good things happening.  I just wish the storytelling was more straightforward and forthright and the mythology better laid out.

Disclosure:  I reviewed a copy free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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