The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller

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It is what originally caught my interest, but I lose interest in everything sooner or later. Everything save you. Because in you, I found my match. In you, I found my equal.

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Summary

Alessandra has been overlooked her entire life. But she’s had enough and she has a plan, it’s quite simple actually:

  1. Woo the Shadow King
  2. Marry him
  3. Kill him and take his kingdom

Which may end up harder for Alessandra as no one knows the extent of the newly crowned Shadow King’s power. Some say he can command his shadows to do his bidding, others believe his shadows whisper to him the thoughts of his enemies. 

Uncertainty, certainly won’t be Alessandra’s downfall in her quest. As attempt after attempt is made on the King’s life, Alessandra finds herself doing the opposite of her plan. Constantly saving his life at every turn in order to keep him alive long enough for her plan to work. 

Because after all, who better for a mysterious Shadow King than a cunning, villainous Queen?

Thoughts on the Plot

I found this book to be endlessly fascinating. However, most people either love or hate this book. I have yet to see a truly neutral review. 

The plot, however, well, Alessandra is the plot. She strongholds this story like she does her ambitions. 

If we were to dig a little more into the plot. It is severely lacking. There is barely any world-building in this book. We kinda get the sense that other kingdoms exist, but that’s it?

The time period of this book was also super confusing because there was electricity? 

Modern enough for light bulbs and nothing else it seems. 

The story also has a lot more telling than showing, which was disappointing because any build up to the twist at the end clearly got lost in translation for me and I didn’t fully see it coming. 

The politics in this book seemed to be decently fleshed out. I understood how the courts worked and why the people did not necessarily take well to the Shadow King.

I also wanted to understand how the magic worked, but that was left up to my imagination. 

But pretty much everything else falls to the wayside and that is because of Alessandra. So let’s chat about her. 

Thoughts on the Characters

Alessandra is our Queen B with an extra large capital B. 

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She isn’t taking anyone’s nonsense and is forging her own path ahead. And while I love Alessandra for her sass, cunning, and wit. 

It was a little weird to imagine this Bridgerton-era social politics and then someone like Alessandra (who is openly & proudly promiscuous) form such a close bond with the King was interesting. 

I’m so used to these types of female characters not ending up with the King. Let alone him courting her and option. 

But I am here for the female empowerment, it just felt super out of place in this sort of era. 

There were also LGTBQ+ characters which were refreshing and I feel like this book is less ‘Slytherin romance’ and more Bridgterton meets Gossip Girl when it comes to the social politics, which seem to rule this story. 

Then we have our Shadow King aka Kallias and my God

Whatta man, whatta a man, whatta a mighty good man…” – Salt-N-Pepa

Any man who writes letter is a YES in my mind. 

What I like about Kallias is that he accepts Alessandra for who she is. He is not bothered by her previous trysts or tries to change her. 

And the twist at the end surrounding Alessandra’s incredibly stupid mistake broke my heart for Kallias. He deserved better than that. 

Though I will say, his character was truly sentimental and sometimes it felt weird. Like is he a water sign? (Specifically a Cancer?)

But aside from being a certified soft boy, Kallias is also conniving, selfish, and almost as power-hungry as Alessandra is. 

And the side characters? Absolutely lovely. 

It was really nice to read about Alessandra talking to her friends Hestia and Rhoda about something other than boys! They actually had discussions about things that interested and mattered to them which I really enjoyed.

And it fit right in with the female empowerment theme this book has going on. 

Overall Thoughts

To be honest, I am on the side of readers who loved this book. 

Alessandra and Kallias remind me a little bit of Jude and Cardan. They both are young, hungry for power, and willing to do what it takes to grab their power and hold on. 

Alessandra is relentless in her pursuit of what she believes is her and is not sorry for doing what she feels is right. 

Kallias is a soft boy forced to be a harsh and tough King. 

And if you look at this story from the viewpoint of it being about Alessandra and Kallias, this is a fairly fleshed out and fantastic story. 

Unfortunately, when you look past these two, you see a story that does not make much sense. Climaxes fizzle out, the characters make incredibly dumb decisions that only serve the scraps of plot left, and there is no world-building or explanation of the politics or magical systems. 

But they’ve got piping and electricity ya’ll

Anyways, 4 stars out of 5 stars because like I said, Kallias writes letters and I love his dynamic with Alessandra and I just want to spend an afternoon making dresses and chatting with Alessandra Stathos. 


Goodreads / Amazon / Storygraph

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