Tuesday, March 11, 2014

{ARC Review} Promise of Shadows By: Justina Ireland

Title: Promise of Shadows
Author: Justina Ireland
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Shelves: Young Adult, Mythology, Fantasy
Publication Date: March 11th, 2014
Source: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Format: Physical ARC


*Book #3 of March Madness Reads*

Summary from Goodreads: Zephyr Mourning has never been very good at being a Harpy. She’d rather watch reality TV than learn forty-seven ways to kill a man, and she pretty much sucks at wielding magic. Zephyr was ready for a future pretending to be a normal human instead of a half-god assassin. But all that changes when her sister is murdered—and she uses a forbidden dark power to save herself from the same fate.

Zephyr is on the run from a punishment worse than death when an unexpected reunion with a childhood friend (a surprisingly HOT friend) changes everything. Because it seems like Zephyr might just be the Nyx, a dark goddess made flesh that is prophesied to change the power balance. For hundreds of years the half-gods have lived in fear, and Zephyr is supposed to change that.

But how is she supposed to save everyone when she can’t even save herself?

Review: First, a HUGE thank you to the wonderful people at S&S for sending me this galley for review! Promise of Shadows was one of my most anticipated reads of March 2014. I am a HUGE fan of Greek mythology, and I was really interested in seeing how Justina Ireland was going to create this story.

Characters: In terms of characters, I admit that I've seen (read?) worse. Zephyr had spirit and spunk, but she just wasn't a very memorable character. I was glad to see a diverse character, of dark skin and blue hair (super cool) but even this just couldn't make Zephyr stand out in my memories. As I will discuss later in this review, Zephyr's role was also a bit confusing, so basically, she is half human and half vaettir. Vaettir are half god and also contain powers, but are forced to live among humans. All her life Zephyr has only known the vaettir people to be those who wield good power, as opposed to the dark and evil powers she has. Sometimes I felt like Zephyr's character wasn't fully developed in terms of her thoughts and emotions. It seemed like she was hiding her true feelings even in her deepest internal thoughts. You won't hate Zephyr, but I have a feeling you won't love her too much either. The same goes for her love interest, Tallon. While he was one hunk of a character,
he seemed a bit... wishy-washy in my mind, especially in his actions and feelings. 

Writing: Ah. What do I say about the writing? It was equal parts love and equal parts detest for me. Promise of Shadows started off painfully confusing and slow. It is hard to understand what exactly is going on with the Greek mythology and fantasy fiction until the very middle. When you are reading this book, I advise you to take notes. It's super important to keep track of what is going on because there are just so many parts to this book, from the human figures to the godly characters. There are many elements woven into one not-very-well-executed storyline. 
My notes! :)

Sure, there were some really intense and vibrant scenes, but this wasn't a consistency throughout the entire novel. The writing varied between imaginative and capturing, to dull and confusing. Another problem I had with Promise of Shadows was the repetitive use of words on the same page. Although it's really not a major issue, it does make either the dialogue or just the writing in general really awkward and stilted. However, please bear in mind that I read an uncorrected version of this book, so the finished copy will hopefully be different.

Romance/Mythology: While Tallon and Zephyr's "love conflicts" were really entertaining and added an extra edge to an otherwise mundane story, I really wish it were more developed. I saw the potential in the smexy and smoldering attempts between Tallon and Zephyr, but like much of this book, it was hard to take this anywhere. And while I knew that I wanted more romance, I'm not sure I can say the same about the mythology. If you read Promise of Shadows, try not to compare it to the Percy Jackson series (which I made the mistake of doing). For one, Promise of Shadows is more of a young adult book, so there are different sides to the gods and creatures that wouldn't be suitable for children. And secondly, it just cannot live up to it. Rick Riordan's incorporation of mythology is just a lot easier to understand, especially when it comes to those who don't really know anything about it. While Greek mythology is SUPER AWESOME, it takes a bit of effort to comprehend and untangle. I felt like Promise of Shadows was a sluggish effort compared to what it could have been.

Conclusion: Oh *sigh*. Promise of Shadows really fell short of my expectations, and I think I might take a step back from fantasy novels for a while. Or go hunting for more. Either way, I would say to borrow it from a library if you want to read it because sadly, it is not worth buying. 


  1. Yup! Totally on my to-read list!

  2. I am so glad that I'm not the only one that takes notes when reading a book. The review you posted makes me want to read this particular story. It sounds fairly interesting and I want to see how the author incorporates Greek mythology in her work.