I have been dying to get my hands on this book ever since it was announced, so I jumped at the chance to be on the blog tour! Make sure you scroll to the bottom for your chance to win one of 10 copies of this book up for grab, and find the link to read an excerpt of the book!
Sara B. Larson is the best-selling and critically acclaimed author of the YA fantasy DEFY trilogy (DEFY, IGNITE, and ENDURE) and the DARK BREAKS THE DAWN duology. Her next YA fantasy, SISTERS OF SHADOW AND LIGHT, comes out November 5th from Tor Teen. She can’t remember a time when she didn’t write books—although she now uses a computer instead of a Little Mermaid notebook. Sara lives in Utah with her husband, their four children,
and their Maltese, Loki. She writes in brief snippets throughout the day and the quiet hours when most people are sleeping. Her husband claims she should have a degree in “the art of multitasking.” When she’s not mothering or writing, you can often find her at the gym repenting for her sugar addiction.
From the acclaimed author of DEFY, Sara B. Larson, SISTERS OF SHADOW AND LIGHT is a timeless and fantastical tale of sisterly love and powerful magic
“The night my sister was born, the stars died and were reborn in her eyes…”.
Zuhra and Inara have grown up in the Citadel of the Paladins, an abandoned fortress where legendary, magical warriors once lived before disappearing from the world―including their Paladin father the night Inara was born.
On that same night, a massive, magical hedge grew and imprisoned them within the citadel. Inara inherited their father’s Paladin power; her eyes glow blue and she is able to make plants grow at unbelievable rates, but she has been trapped in her own mind because of a “roar” that drowns everything else out―leaving Zuhra virtually alone with their emotionally broken human mother.
For fifteen years they have lived, trapped in the citadel, with little contact from the outside world…until the day a stranger passes through the hedge, and everything changes.
I had an idea going into this of how the story would play out and I couldn’t have been more wrong. Larson weaves a story about love, familial, romantic and the love for power. With plenty of twists and turns that managed to keep me guessing throughout the book I was hooked and finished it in a matter of days.
The story is told from two perspectives, that of Zuhra and Inara. Both interesting and strong characters in their own right. Zuhra’s whole life has revolved around her sister, ensuring her safety and health, she lives for the moment’s that Inara breaks through her Paladin powers to have conversation, no matter how few and far between they are. When the strange, almost sentient Hedge that has kept them trapped their whole lives lets a stranger through she see’s this as a chance. The strange boy knows all about Paladin, and might finally give her the answers she seeks to be able to help her sister for good. Zuhra’s love for her sister impacts almost every single decision she makes, and she would do anything to protect her, including risking her own life.
Inara’s perspective only really appears in the second half of the book, in holding in her Paladin powers she lives in a world of noise unable to communicate or truly understand her family. It is only in the moments when she uses her power, to induce the growth of a plant that she becomes coherent. Both her and Zuhra live for these moments of lucidity, when they can talk and spend real time together. She believes that her sister will protect her from everything, and Zuhra is the one person who can calm her down in her moments of madness.
Everything changes when a strange boy appears. He makes the sisters believe there might be a way to help Inara, to keep her lucid for good. But their mother is adamant that he not mention Paladins, let alone be allowed into the Library where the wealth of Paladin knowledge resides.
I flew through the pages of this book, totally unaware where they would take me but wholly invested in the ride. Larson manages to tell a story about sisterly love, familial love, romantic love and the love for power with such heartbreaking intensity there were moments I was sat on the edge of my seat, hoping beyond hope that everything would turn out ok. Though there is romance in this book the interweaving arc is the love these two sisters share for each other. I was terrified reading this that it would turn into the much overused setting sister against sister trope. I needn’t have worried. The love these sisters share outshines everything else, their feelings for boys, even the love for their mother. They have relied on each other for so long they could never imagine anything getting between them. The romance is at once bittersweet and all consuming, you know exactly who is meant for whom, but the journey to get there was beautiful to read.
I really enjoyed learning all about the Palladin magic system and their history, most of which you learn from Halvar (the stranger that the hedge lets through.) There are no ‘history dumps’ but the author introduces titbits of their lore throughout the story and entwines them so effortlessly that you don’t even realise you are learning something. It’s hard for me to talk about the entirety of this book without giving away major spoilers, but while I will say that the first half is set wholly in the Citadel and at parts I felt that it dragged slightly. In the second half we get transported, to where I can not tell you, but the pace significantly picks up and I read the last half in a matter of hours.
This was an easy 5/5 read for me. I truly didn’t expect to enjoy this book as much as I did. It ends on a cliffhanger that had me reaching for my bookshelf, hopelessly searching for the sequel I didn’t have. I need the next book now, and will definitely be picking up the authors other works to sate my appetite while I wait for the next instalment.
Enter here for your chance to win one of 10 copies of this amazing book. Open to US/CAN residents only.