Between the Shade and Shadow
In a culture which immediately assume darkness means evil, Coleman Alexander’s book creates darkness as a place to live for a people who burn under light (even moonlight). This doesn’t mean that there is no evil afoot.
Ahraia is a shade. A dweller of the night who has bonded with a shadow, a wolf named Losna. No one in her home can recall a shade ever binding a wolf as a shadow, though it could be said Losna bound her. Her shadow is not the only thing to set her apart from the people around her. She can’t kill with her ability to bind. It makes her sick, so she depends on Losna or her bow.
Ahraia’s life as the most powerful shade in living memory would be hard enough, but there are other forces at work, within and outside the darkness she calls home.
The world Coleman creates is intriguing and very well thought out. It has a very strong internal consistency. The characters of Ahraia and Losna in particular, are well drawn with their strengths and weakness. The people around her are given levels of complexity needed for their role in the story.
There is a promise of much more to come in this book, so not every thread is neatly bound, which is something I like. Though the conclusion is satisfying and well constructed, we know there is more out there, and given the skill with which this story is crafted, that more is going to be very welcome.
I recommend the book for lovers of fantasy and epic fantasy. Though the story is self-contained, the world it is set in is broad and looks to be fascinating.