The tagline for Shadow in the Empire of Light is “Magic. Murder. Mayhem. But keep it in the family.” When I read that, I knew immediately that I needed to get this book into my eyeballs as soon as possible. This is the story of Shine, the non-magical member of a magical family, a gothic noir featuring intrigue, drama and a telepathic cat.
Many thanks to Rebellion Publishing and Hanna Waigh for sending me an ARC to review! All opinions are my own.
STAR RATING: 3/5 ✶
RELEASE DATE: 06/08/2020 (ebook); 21/01/2021 (paperback)
SUMMARY: Shine’s life is usually dull: an orphan without magic in a family of powerful mages, she’s left to run the family estate with only an eccentric aunt and telepathic cat for company.
But when the family descend on the house for the annual Fertility Festival, Shine is plunged into dark intrigue; stolen letters, a fugitive spy, and family drama mix with murder, sex and secrets, and Shine is forced to decide both her loyalties and future… (from Solaris)
OPINIONS: I loved the concept of Shadow in the Empire of Light. I really got into the first hundred or so pages, but once that first thrill of concept started waning, I noticed my interest waning. It ultimately took me quite a long time to actually finish reading the novel. The writing style turned out not to be fully my cup of tea. While reading, I was fully convinced this was a debut novel based on the writing, so I was quite surprised to find that the author had published a few novels already and won awards for her writing (although, do note that I did not read a finished copy, so some of what tripped me up might have been smoothed over in the final product).
The characters were interesting and irreverent, fitting well into the genre of the book, and I especially loved the cat, Katti. I did get tripped up by the unusual character names a few times – I was very glad to have the character table in the front of the book to refer back to throughout. Shadow in the Empire of Light was also certainly full of twists that I did not see coming, surprising me throughout my read. I wish the writing had worked better for me so that I would have been able to enjoy it more.