Tuesday, April 25, 2017

SciFi/Fantasy Review: Promise of Shadows by Justina Ireland

Long Review after the Jump:

Promise of Shadows is Justina Ireland's second novel, and like her first (Vengeance Bound, which I enjoyed), it's a young adult fantasy novel with elements derived from Greek mythology and a romance plot with a large impact on the novel.  Unlike Vengeance Bound, which mainly dealt with the world we all live in with minor Greek mythology elements, Promise of Shadows dives full force into Greek mythology - our main character is a harpy, her struggle is with the Greek gods, etc etc.

The plot is as follows: Zephyr Mourning is a harpy, and not a very good one at that.  As a Harpy, she is one of the vaettir (basically demigods) and thus occupies a level below that of the full gods (such as Hera, Hades, Mercury, and a few invented for this novel).  But when her sister was killed by one of the gods, she managed to kill that god in return through the use of a dark forbidden power, and as such, was sentenced to Tartarus.

But a childhood friend breaks her out of Tartarus on the theory that she is the Nyx, a prophesized powerful Vaettir who will save the rest of the Vaettir from destruction at the hands of the gods.  Soon, she will try to discover the truth behind her power and her destiny, avoid death at the hands of Hera, and deal with a burgeoning romance with her childhood friend Tallon.

The general plot arc is solid, and like in Vengeance Bound, Ireland is very good at pacing - the story isn't too long and only drags a little at one point (at most).  The world built here is pretty interesting and It would've been nice to spend more time in it.

Unfortunately, the Romance plot doesn't work.  Zephyr falls in love with Tallon at first sight essentially, and the love is never really believable.  Tallon also isn't really developed too much as a character beyond having a mysterious set of powers, and his mutual interest in her isn't really justified either.  It just sort of happens, and it's a large piece of the book (Vengeance Bound also seemingly had love spring from first sight, but it spent more time developing the love interest, making it work a little better.)  It's not a bad book, but skippable.    

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