The Shadow & The Sun (Militess & Mage Series) by Monica Enderle Pierce. Published by Stalking Fiction on April 22, 2016. Buy on Amazon (e-book)
I received a free copy via NetGallery in exchange for an honest review.
Among the living or the dead, he’s never needed anything from anyone.
Shadow Mage Gethen is a powerful necromancer, keeper of the border between the living and the dead, and brother to the king of Besera. But with his dark powers failing and a vengeful entity attacking, Gethen should be happy when a formidable lady knight appears at his gates. He’s not. The price for her aid is steep — his allegiance in a war against his brother.
In battle or in bed, she’s never met a man she considered her match.
Militess Halina is undaunted by the threat of war between her country and neighboring Besera. She earned her titles by shedding blood and breaking bones. She uses her body to reward soldiers who serve her loyally, and to punish those who don’t. And Halina’s never met a man she couldn’t command or crush.
Passion and power unexpectedly ignite when a blizzard traps Halina at Gethen’s citadel. With the evil entity’s onslaughts rapidly deteriorating Gethen’s sorcery, they have little time to understand their unexpected attraction. But could their passion be the key to defeating an ancient enemy that’s hell-bent on obliterating their world?
I requested this book on NetGallery for a couple reasons. While I was browsing titles, the cover of this really caught my attention, when I read the summary I was intrigued (necromancers, who DOESN’T want to read about that?), and the genre was fantasy. It pretty much tickled all my favorites when reading a book.
In terms of characters I really enjoyed both our protagonists, Halina and Gethen. Halina is a strong female lead who knows what techniques to use for different battles, she’s intelligent, fierce, respected, and even with all her imperfections, knows she’s desirable. Gethen is also a very strong male lead who is strong physically and magically, but also has a great personality. He doesn’t shun the help of others (like a ‘manly man’ would) and he cares for the world he lives in. Now, even though I really liked the characters, there was something that made it hard to connect with them, especially at the beginning. Part of me wonders if it’s because they’re older.
The pacing was also very slow and if I hadn’t been given this copy I might have dropped it early on. It did pick up near the 3/4 mark, which I was glad for because every time I checked my progress nothing great happened, I was concerned. Would everything be rushed at the end?
Other problems I had were that the names were too similar so they were hard to memorize, there were a few grammatical errors, too many descriptions and not enough happening (considering this book is only 264 pages), and there were no page numbers. I also wish there’d been a map for all the places that were talked about. I know there were 4 kingdoms and that Besera and Ursinum shared a border. I also know that Ranith fell under Halina’s domain, but I just couldn’t picture the world.
Our antagonist was interesting but not amazing. At moments I found myself thinking, you’re still hung up over this? You do realize these people are dead now… The Witch just felt too petty but I did think her powers were REALLY cool. I mean, who wouldn’t want the power to freeze the world? She also really made our protagonists work for their goal of saving Quoregna (the name of this world), what with her sneaking around and death marks.
Even though I had all of these issues with the book, I did enjoy the story and that made me up the score quite a bit. Still, it’s not set in stone and my overall like/dislike of this book will depend on the series as a whole. This book felt like an introduction to something big and it makes me wonder what the next book could be about. Will there be another foe like the Rime Witch? Will it center around the apparent to-be war between Besera and Ursinum? Will we get to see Gethen use his powers like a badass (this book didn’t do a good job at showing the ‘fearful and all powerful mage’)?
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Final Thoughts: The Shadow and The Sun was an interesting fantasy book that felt more like a prequel to something big. It had quite a few flaws (slow progression, grammar issues, no page numbers) but also some great elements (strong female and male leads, well written fight scenes, and a great story). The pacing especially was an issue for me, however, I am interested in reading the sequel when it comes out.
Would I purchase this book for a friend/me? It depends on the series as a whole. If this were the only book No.