INFERNAL SHADOW by Taylor Crook
Review and cut by Krystle Matar
As shadows stretch across the land, Her light becomes our hope. Thomaras lives by a strict set of Get paid up front, never use your real name, and never be a hero. Little does he know that his next job will tear his rules, and his life, apart.
Ashea is only safe when she’s on the move. Pursued by nightmares and the consequences of her own growing power, one small mistake traps her in a cell that could be her end. To escape, she is forced to trust a man that can’t be trusted.
Half Granite Ogre, half Human, Torin travelled south into Haven to live among his mother’s people. Quiet and unassuming despite his size, Torin is about to be thrust into a conflict that threatens Humans and Granite Ogres alike.
Watching it all from another plane of existence, a dark entity slowly exerts its power. Influencing. Manipulating. Waiting.
Infernal Shadow offers readers some familiar and well loved fantasy staples: the incorrigible but highly capable rogue, a daring escape, mysterious bloodlines, dark magic. It is earnestly written and well edited.
However, I failed to connect to this story. The prose felt clunky to me with repetitions that were at times only distracting, and occasionally contradicted itself. I sometimes struggled to follow the logic of the character choices and actions (such as Ashea falling asleep practically in the middle of a tense prison escape) and repeatedly being told how brilliant and capable Thomaras was unfortunately lost my interest. As a matter of personal taste, these sort of distractions rapidly interfere with my enjoyment, and so Infernal Shadow is cut from SPFBO9.
Fantasy fans can still find plenty to love in this book, and so if it catches your interest, I definitely recommend checking out the Goodreads page, or scooping up a copy from Amazon!