This book was the escape I needed. To be honest, I haven’t read many books recently, my mind too chaotic with all the world’s events but this captivated and held me from its first few pages all the way through the end.
The story jumps right into the action with the mysterious death of a River Sprite and raises plenty of curiosities that keep the reader hooked. We meet Ginny, a detective with supernatural gifts that give her a unique edge in her line of work but as the story progresses, we learn there is a far greater and more dangerous purpose to her gifts. Along with Ginny and a highly entertaining, diverse cast of characters, the reader embarks upon a journey to new worlds, through different realms, to uncover an ancient plot with dire consequences.
I’m so excited about this story. Ginny is a fantastic protagonist that defies stereotypes and is so immensely refreshing. Not the typical doe-eyed tween you’d find in most other stories but a tough-as-nails woman who can hold her own. To me, she is a breath of fresh air. Strong, independent, and with a stubborn streak but at the same time caring, passionate, protective. She’s someone at the height of her life who has her own baggage, has stumbled, fallen, and gotten back up. And throughout the story, she continues to grow. I found her relatable and a joy to read, the perfect balance of what you’d want to see in a protagonist.
Others in the cast include her detective partner Rory, a brotherly close friend by the name of Luko who is so easy to love. Leaders of various factions, an ex-boyfriend who’s both aggravating and sweet, and Shadow Man… I won’t say too much about him for the sake of spoilers but along with Ginny, he’s very much at the heart of this story and I absolutely love his character. Like Ginny, many of the characters we meet are unique in their own way and much has gone into their creation and development so it’s easy to care about them and become invested. The author does an incredible job of providing unique voices for various individuals which only further brings them to life. And like Ginny, Shadow Man defies male stereotypes for which I’m so grateful.
I’m genuinely impressed with this author and her story. The lore she has invented, the worlds she has created, the touches of realism that make everything feel more authentic. What I really appreciated as well is that the author wasn’t afraid to lift the veil of pure romanticism to show us a grittier, darker, and more mature side. Some realms and creatures will feel more familiar than others as they’re more commonly used in the fantasy genre (Fae, Sidhe, Weres, Vampires, Demons) but the author does a great job representing them in her own way. The Djinn were my favorite, from their culture to their aesthetics I felt they were so well done and, for me personally, they’re not creatures I often encounter in fantasy novels so they were a welcome surprise.
This is a book I wholeheartedly recommend to anyone who enjoys the urban fantasy genre. It has everything you’d want and hope for yet offers plenty of refreshing material and its own set of surprises and plot twists. It’s engaging, well paced, exciting, moving, and a true gem in my opinion. I can’t give this anything less than a 10/10 because there isn’t a single thing I’d change.