Content Warnings: self-harm, abuse, thoughts of suicide, death of parents, violence
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From the acclaimed author of Defy, Sara B. Larson, Sisters of Shadow and Light is a timeless and fantastical tale of sisterly love and powerful magic
The night my sister was born, the stars died and were reborn in her eyes….
Zuhra and Inara have grown up in the Citadel of the Paladins, an abandoned fortress where legendary, magical warriors once lived before disappearing from the world—including their Paladin father the night Inara was born.
On that same night, a massive, magical hedge grew and imprisoned them within the citadel. Inara inherited their father’s Paladin power; her eyes glow blue and she is able to make plants grow at unbelievable rates, but she has been trapped in her own mind because of a “roar” that drowns everything else out—leaving Zuhra virtually alone with their emotionally broken human mother.
For fifteen years they have lived, trapped in the citadel, with little contact from the outside world…until the day a stranger passes through the hedge, and everything changes.
What started so good quickly fizzled and I lost all my interest.
I’ve read almost all of Larson’s books and enjoyed them so I was looking forward to Sisters of Shadow and Light. Her books are some of the few fantasy ones I like. I don’t know if my expectations were just too high or what but this was a huge letdown.
In the beginning, I was incredibly interested. The characters were compelling and I was instantly drawn into the story. It felt like things were moving at a great pace. There was also a good balance of backstory without being an info dump in conjunction with current things taking place.
Once I got about 20% into things is when I started to lose interest. The pacing slowed way down and everything felt repetitive. There’s a lot of internal monologues/thoughts and the characters kept repeating themselves for the majority of the book. Things also just moved too slowly in general. Everything was happening internally when there should have been more of a focus on moving the story along.
When it comes to the ending though my complaint is the exact opposite. There was suddenly a lot of action happening and the very last twist that appeared felt too random. I understand that the author was wanting to set it up for a second book but this easily could have been a great standalone fantasy (which we need more of) and making it a series feels forced.
If you’re new to Sara B. Larson then I suggest starting with Defy or Dark Breaks the Dawn (though Defy is my favorite). There wasn’t anything problematic that I caught in this, though I did skim the last 40%, so I’m not going to tell you to skip it – it just wasn’t for me.
A digital ARC was provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Want to see some other opinions? Check out these reviews…
- Alexa from Writing the Universe was hooked from the very beginning and couldn’t put it down.
- Lili from Utopia State of Mind loved the sisterly relationship between Zuhra and Inara.