Title: The Shadows Between Us
Author: Tricia Levenseller
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy
Pages: 336 Pages
Release Date: February 25, 2020
My Rating: ★★★★★
“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
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?
My Review: (100% SPOILER-FREE)
To start off this review, I just wanted to say that I had never read a book by Tricia Levenseller. Now? I want to read everything she has ever written…. immediately. I was blown away and this instantly became a new favorite.
There are a few aspects that really made this book stand out to me, and I think I’m going to format my review around them. Those aspects are: characters, political intrigue, romance, and originality.
Characters: The absolute Slytherin ruthlessness of these characters was….. *chef’s kiss* So good! The ambition of the Shadow King and Alessandra was unmatched and they were so unapologetic about it. They would talk about wanting to murder and conquer like it was just the simplest thing and I couldn’t help but love it. Why? Because that wasn’t all. They weren’t simply evil. These characters had beautiful friendships, romances, etc. that made me laugh, cry, and swoon. Interactions between the characters were so entertaining and their complex views and morals only made them better. Overall, the characters in The Shadows Between Us were very complex and I need more of them IMMEDIATELY.
Political Intrigue/Murder Mystery: This book is also set in a palace within the Shadow King’s court, where he is trying to root out an assassin. All of the court politics were so interesting and the murder mystery kept me guessing! Again, there were just so many characters with so many different titles and motives that it was genuinely fun to try to solve the mystery as the story progressed. Who could gain the most from killing the king? Who is working with who? Can they truly protect the Shadow King forever? So many questions that kept me hooked!
Romance: AAHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!! VILLAIN ROMANCE!!!!!!!!! SLYTHERIN ROMANCE!!!!!!!!!!
………Okay. Now that I got that out, I just have to say that I now have a new favorite couple. We start off with unapologetic, sexually empowered Alessandra. She is going to kill the king, and no one is going to stop her. He is apparently very evil, but guess what? She’s worse.
Right? WRONG! Our Shadow King is very daunting and powerful, yes. But guess what? He is also so lonely and pure. He has been concealing himself from an assassin for so long that he has shut everyone out and has not been touched by another person in over a year. Until Alessandra changes everything.
Guys….. Their chemistry is out of this world. The romance was a giant star for me with this book; I could not get enough of the electric chemistry and hilarious banter. I was rooting for them so hard and at the end I was dying from the suspense/drama. The relationship truly just worked so well, especially since they both fought so hard against their feelings. In the end, no matter how tough or evil you are, love pulls through.
Originality: I loved how original the premise was. I’ve read a lot of books with settings in castles/royal courts, but never quite like this. I mean, Alessandra is not an assassin. She is literally just an ambitious girl who wants power. Look at that synopsis! “1. Woo the Shadow King 2. Marry him 3. Kill him” WOW!! I have personally never read anything like this.
However, the discourse surrounding sexuality is really what made this book stand out for me. You rarely see books discussing sexual empowerment in YA, and this one took it head on. Alessandra has slept with MANY men, in a time where that is frowned upon for women. Is she ashamed? No. And should she be? Absolutely not. This is something we need to be screaming from the rooftops. Women should not be afraid of basking in their sexuality in the way that men are praised for! Some of the quotes I’ve included below reflect this. I’d highly recommend reading them and then picking up this book ASAP.
First is the best opening line of all time, featured above and here because WOW!
They’ve never found the body of the first and only boy who broke my heart.
And they never will.
Next is I believe the first line to make me laugh, which obviously happened very early in the book.
For some reason, my lovers cease to give me expensive presents once I turn down their proposals. Alas.
This next quote is PURE SLYTHERIN, I had to include it.
Who in the world would steal and then not keep the riches for themselves? That’s just bad business. Someone that stupid should surely be caught soon.
Pure friendship quote incoming!!!
Aren’t we all drawn to our friends in the beginning by trifling things? True bonds develop afterward, when character is revealed.
FEMALE EMPOWERMENT INCOMING!!!!!
The poets can say whatever they damned like. A woman’s worth is not decided by what’s between her legs but by what is in her mind.
MORE FEMALE EMPOWERMENT!!!!!
There is nothing silly about waiting until you want to. Don’t let anyone ever tell you otherwise. It is your body to do with as you will.
LAST FEMALE EMPOWERMENT ONE I PROMISE BUT PLEASE READ THIS BOOK
Waiting. Not waiting. One lover. A hundred lovers. There should be no judgement either way. A woman is not defined by what she does or doesn’t do in the bedroom.
I know I’ve done a million quotes I’M SORRY but please take this swoon-worthy quote to depart….
‘I’m thinking,’ he answers, ‘that you are quite beautiful, and every man at this table wishes he were me right now.’ My stomach starts to flutter. ‘You are king. Every man does wish he were you.’ ‘No. Every man wishes he had you at his side.’
BOOK LINKS AND EXTRAS:
Thank you so much for reading my review! I really hope you enjoyed, and if you want to chat about this, feel free to comment! 🙂