Alina knows she is not real – the fae queen spun an evil web to create her – but she wants more than to spend her days feeding off humans’ energy to survive. She isn’t content to lose herself in the dangerously attractive Reign. She wants a life of her own making.
Desperate to help the man who saved her life, Alina vows to find his missing sister. Alina is convinced that the general of the Fae Authority plays a part in her disappearance. She infiltrates the organisation and gets close to their strongest fighter. But while Samuel’s tormented soul and masterful touch stirs in Alina a feeling of being human again, her loyalty to Reign makes her Samuel’s enemy. Who should she trust?
This New Adult urban fantasy is packed with action and suspense and will have you yearning for more forbidden fae romance.
Disclaimer: We received a digital copy of this book thanks to NetGalley courtesy of the publisher Bloomsbury Spark (a division of Bloomsbury publishing). Possible spoilers ahead.
Why we chose it: The cover was gorgeous. The description sounded great and of course Bloomsbury published it so we could resist.
Review: We’ve written two reviews for this book and not one of them could successful capture our thoughts on it Third time’s the charm right? It’s led to us feeling frustrated and fearful that we’d never manage to actually write a decent review. The subsequent consequence of that would be people thing “Oh look there’s another book blog dying off because the writer behind it couldn’t manage to simply comment on something as simple as a book”
Let us tell you – writing a book review is not simple. It involves time and the right mindset to accurately put into words a multitude of emotions and thoughts that changed many times over a few hundred pages.
City of Shadows has brought us to this stage of frustration, fear and elation. It’s not at all what we expected. Initially as we read our way through our digital copy (thanks again Bloomsbury) we imagined it as a summer read. Easy – something that we could breeze through between the better books on our TBR. We did indeed breeze through it. One and a half sittings to be precise.
(We feel asleep a quarter of the way through because we hadn’t slept properly the night before, but anyway….)
We can no longer class this book as simply a summer read about a girl named Aline who isn’t really a girl, but a construct made by a mad Fae Queen. It’s no longer an easy ready to us that has some minor romantic elements sprinkled in among the magic and London, but a story about a being finding herself as a woman.
While we realised quite early on that we were actually reading the second book of the series, Pippa DaCosta managed to do a good enough job that we weren’t left partially confused about what the hell had happened in the first book.City of Shadows is strong enough to stand on it’s own although we would have liked to have read about the events that preceded this novel (Any chance of you helping us out there Bloomsbury? *wink*)
Throughout the novel Alina and the cast of characters that basically revolved around her go through much. There’s pain, death, magic and bloodshed, but more importantly there’s development. Alina experiences fear in many forms. The two main being whether or not she’d fade away. Vanish from existence because she’s only made from fairy dust right? And whether or not the being inside her would take over and leave a trail of bodies. It’s obvious that Alina regrets the events that have occurred before. It was interesting for us to see a character who was really quite young go through emotions most of don’t experience for years.
(On a side note: The perception of oneself as something that can easily fade away is also explored in This Savage Song by V. E Schwab which you can find here if you want)
Like all good characters Alina manages to eventually control the power inside her….or at least realise that it was up to the possessor of that power to direct it. Be a good fit for it. What’s important to say here though is that City of Shadows by Pippa DaCosta is a novel that surprises you and subsequently grows on you. It’s not exactly what you expect. As we’ve already stated, it’s not something we expected. but it happened none the less.
To conclude what we hope is a good review. City of Shadows is a quick read. We can’t deny that. It’s unlikely it will take you multiple sittings, but it’s not two dimensional or superficial. There’s enough complexity to keep you reading. We’re going to happily recommend it to all our friends (only with less decorum).
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Thank you all so much for reading!