In Charlie Hall’s world, shadows can be altered, for entertainment and cosmetic preferences—but also to increase power and influence. You can alter someone’s feelings—and memories—but manipulating shadows has a cost, with the potential to take hours or days from your life. Your shadow holds all the parts of you that you want to keep hidden—a second self, standing just to your left, walking behind you into lit rooms. And sometimes, it has a life of its own.
Charlie as our main protagonist was definitely the reason this book was a four star as opposed to just a three. I liked the fact that we get a thorough background and we learn a lot about her motivations and why she has made certain decisions over the years. I loved her kind of snarky attitude and the way she doesn’t back down when put in a tight spot but still will feel real emotions like panic and desperation.
Vince I knew was going to be more integral to the story than what he seemed at the start. Charlie focuses on him a lot even though he is her boyfriend I just feel like he kept popping in more than usual. She always described him as quite stoic and how he didn’t talk when he didn’t need to so when we find out that he’s actually Edmund I was like oh he really changed. But then when the actual twist comes about at the end I did not see it coming at all! I for sure thought Red was behind the murders and didn’t really think any more than that so I was surprised for sure.
The other characters in the book helped move the plot along for sure but they weren’t very nuanced other than that. Odette and Balthazar I feel have so much potential as characters but we didn’t get to explore them as much as I wanted. Posey even I didn’t form a connection with her at all. Hopefully we learn more about each of them in the next book and they service more of a purpose.
In terms of the magic system and how the shadows work I’m still not quite sure I wrapped my head around it. They way it was all explained was a little info dumpy and confusing. We didn’t really get into much about how the shadows can alter feelings and memories and what it even means to be a gloam. Even the system with the Cabal wasn’t explored enough for me either, I feel like it wasn’t even mentioned until well over the half way mark of the book.
What really carried the story for me was the relationship between Charlie and Vince. I think the way it was portrayed and evolved as the story progressed was very relatable. Feeling comfortable in the start and then finding out they each have secrets and having those doubts creep in and then breaking up but they still love each other. Ugh, it was great! I would of even liked a few more smuttier scenes (plenty of blood and gore so why not more smut?)
⭐️4/5 I was left wanting to know more!