“Between the Shade and the Shadow” by Coleman Alexander

This Fantasy takes place in an incredibly complex setting that is the negative of our world. Everyone in this quasi-elven forest lives in the darkness. In fact, the word “darkness” seems to by synonymous with “power” or “order.” Everything is reversed. Daylight is death. Light is evil.
Unfortunately, the complexity of the setting and the intricacies of the social network are not well described, and readers spend a lot of time floundering with what the conflict is really about. We must keep reading, hoping that all will be explained. This reduces the suspense, because we can only feel the tension second hand, as told through the feelings of the main character.
Having said this, the main character, Ahraia, is the heart and soul of the story. She is the usual Fantasy heroine, a developing young person with more power than she knows how to handle, caught up in political machinations crucial to the survival of her people. But she doesn’t understand where she fits in, and no one will tell her what is going on. Thus her strong sense of fairness and duty to her siblings pushes her to rebel at every turn, getting her further and further into trouble. She is our touchstone to the mysteries and to the emotions of the story, and our empathy is fully engaged.
In all, the story needs moderation. It contains enough information for three novels. It needs less description, less magic, less angst. The author needs to take control of his material and whittle it down to a more manageable size and shape
A great story with a great main character. Recommended for Young Adult and New Adult fans of epic Faery Fantasy.
4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

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