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Book Review: Of Thieves and Shadows

Table of Contents

Some secrets are best left to the shadows. But shadows have a mind of their own.

The ancient land of Quinaria teeters on the brink of war, as its most precious resource is unearthed and exploited. Three nations have maintained tenuous peace for centuries, but as the life-giving nevethium dwindles, rumors of an ancient evil long thought dead spread like wildfire.

Elaysia never wanted to lead. As the high chieftain’s only surviving heir, she’s thrust into a role that jeopardizes the already fragile peace. A deadly attack on the day of her induction strengthens her resolve—and her suspicion that her parents’ murders and these disturbing rumors are connected.

With newfound companions, she embarks on a journey to uncover the truth. But as they unravel layers of secrets, they find themselves in the clutches of a dictator whose unethical nevethium experimentation threatens to bring about a new world of terror and violence.

Elaysia and her allies could be all that stands between war and a dying world—if their conflicting ambitions don’t destroy them first.”

Title: Of Thieves and Shadows

Series: The Heart of Quinaria #1

Author: B.S.H. Garcia

Page Count: 538

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.5/5.0

Date Read: July 10th, 2023

Of Thieves and Shadows was my 15th SPFBO-9 read. This one has been creating a bit of buzz around the Twitter and Discord book communities since the entries were announced. I placed it in my top 20 to read from this round of the competition as I was a bit excited for this one myself.
 
This read didn’t disappoint. It started a bit slow for me but it didn’t take long to get the story and the characters rolling once we got beyond the initial introductions. I also wasn’t sure how I felt about some of the characters early on but I really grew to enjoy them throughout the book. I’ll touch more on this in the character development section.
 
The pacing did seem to start a little slow for me and I did struggle with some names early on. But it didn’t take me long to get used to them and feeling the pace picking up after our initial introductions to the story, world and it’s characters. The pace felt good for the first half of the book. By the second half though, things really ramp up and in turn my desire to read this one increased as well. I burned through the second half in almost a weekend as I found myself wanting to find out what was going to happen next.
 
The world building was unique for me. The more fantasy books I get under my belt, I begin to see a lot of the same themes. But I felt the author did a really good job with this in creating her own world populated with politics, religion, regions, cultures and creatures. Once our main parties leave their starting points in the story, we really start to see how grand a scale this world is and still has the potential to be.
 
The character development was done really well for me. As I mentioned I wasn’t sure how to feel about some of the characters early on. A couple were just kind of annoying to me. Not due to how the author created them, but in their own attitudes and actions. I’m sure these were by design though as we get to see so many characters grow throughout this story. One common theme I’ve had in recent reads was untrustworthy characters. This continues with Of Thieves and Shadows. And we have more than one character that follows into this category. Even by the end of book one here, I still have some suspicions of a character or two.
 
I loved the ending of this book. I would definitely advise fellow readers that if it’s in the first half of the book and you’re wondering there things are going or if the pacing is going to pick up, please stick it out! The author is going to get us to that destination and then some by the end! I’m excited to see where this series goes from here. It certainly has potential to become a favorite.
 
I’d recommend Of Thieves and Shadows to lovers of fantasy that enjoy those political twists and lean a bit into the darker side of things as well.

World Building 4.5/5
Pacing 4.5/5
Character Development 5/5

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Chad Barnard

Owner/Operator of The Hiking Reader Blog. Sharing thoughts on books and hiking trails and trying to find ways to continue to incorporate both hobbies together.

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