Game of Shadows by Erika Lewis
Tor Books – February 28, 2017
I was given a copy of this title, free, in exchange for my honest opinion.
Ethan Makkai has grown up in Los Angeles with an overprotective almost smothering mother, a group of bullies that pay too much attention to him and the annoying ability to see ghosts. He only has one person that he considers a friend- and even that proves to be questionable. The day he sneaks out for a little bit of freedom changes him and sets in motion a set of events that forever alters him.
This was one of my most anticipated books for this year, so I was really looking forward to reading this. I was not disappointed. Lewis does an excellent job with her worldbuilding. Because Ethan is new to Tara, we are introduced to his homeland at a nice steady pace. It’s not so overwhelming where the information is just dumped on you all at once. But, it’s also not so slow that you feel lost and so far from the rest of the characters. It is balanced between discovery and revelation. Lewis provides enough details and imagery that helps Tara and the people of Tara to come alive.
The characters are well-developed, each with their own distinct personality and voice. Ethan sets out on a reckless and uncertain journey in an attempt to rescue his mother. Along the way he discovers that everything that he thought he knew about himself and his mother turns out to be a lie.
His daughter and the general’s daughter go along with him on the journey. As each gets to know each other, they also get to know themselves better. Each one has come into their powers and destiny along the way. The villain in this story, Sawney Bean, makes for a terrifying opponent. While we get to see him fleshed out, there still seems to be something missing. It took me a while to name it, but I got it. In the end we still don’t what his internal motivation is unless it turns out to be something as simple as the desire for power. What has corrupted Bean’s soul?
This has a little of everything; mystery, action, sword fights, self discovery. This is a hero’s journey, and the hero constantly fights against all odds. There is also the sweet budding of a romance. I am so glad that the romance stayed in the innocent stasge—especially since there appears that a second book is coming.