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The winner of the very first round, it managed to survive and prevail over all of the rest of the novels in our later rounds. As the story begins, Jinji is a sixteen year old girl preparing for her formal joining in marriage to Maniuk, a future leader of their small Arpapajo tribe, along with Jinji herself.

Jinji has the magical ability to see the elemental spirits of the land, which appear to her as brightly colored strands of thread weaving through the air, and to weave them into illusions. But too soon, Jinji has a truly devastating tragedy to deal with, one in which the shadow plays a role, bringing the white, empty eyes and unspeakable violence. Jinji nearly gives up in despair at her loss, until she is found by Whylrhen, or Rhen, a younger son of the king of their country.


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Rhen, discontented with his life as a spare prince, is secretly traveling through the kingdom in disguise, investigating the dangers that threaten it from the neighboring kingdom of Ourthuro. Jinji joins him in his adventures, though she uses the spirit threads to disguise herself as a boy, taking on the appearance of her dead twin, hiding her sex and her magical talents from Rhen.

The Shadow Soul (A Dance of Dragons, #1) by Kaitlyn Davis

As Rhen seeks answers to his concerns about foreign invaders and Jinji seeks to avenge her people against the terrifying shadow, their friendship grows. But unexpected dangers, both within the kingdom and without, will try both their friendship and their souls. The Shadow Soul is an engaging story with appealing main characters. Both Jinji and Rhen have good depth and complexity in their characters. The pacing of the plot is smooth and moves along quickly. An unexpectedly perilous voyage to Ourthuro, the Golden Isles, which are literally built on gold and other metals, is a nice change of pace along the way, and some new characters are introduced who may become significant later.

This is the first book in a trilogy, so readers will need to continue with the series to get all of the answers and the complete story. The Shadow Soul will now face off against the nine other winners chosen by these blogs, and we wish it the best of luck! View all 7 comments. Nov 04, Mark Lawrence added it. I haven't read this book yet , but it is one of the 10 finalists in the Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off.

That's 10 out of hopefuls! Read about the competition here http: See ratings and reviews of all the finalists here: Thanks to Netgalley and Patchwork Press for giving me this book to review.


  1. The Shadow Soul!
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  5. However, both are hiding secrets, Jin is masquerading as a boy and has magic, meaning she can weave elements and create illusions, and Rhen is a prince on the search for foreign enemies and can pull flames into himself. While they go on a search to di Thanks to Netgalley and Patchwork Press for giving me this book to review.

    While they go on a search to discover what is happening in the kingdom Ourthuro, an evil power is after them and only Jin and Rhen hold the key to defeat it. I really enjoyed The Shadow Soul as it is a good fantasy, is well written, and I was not bored from beginning to the end. There was a lot of traveling in this book, action and a hint of potential romance for future books. I got really invested in the story and characters and I enjoyed having the POV of both the male and female protagonist.

    Rhen is really cleaver, much more than people expect, is very loyal to those who are close to him, has a good sense of humour and wants to prove himself. Rhen and Jin just clicked and I liked how they acted together and I wonder how it will change in the next book. This and my other reviews can be found at Amethyst Bookwyrm This review is also posted on my blog.

    I received a copy free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. She and the princess of Ourthuro were the best parts of this entire book.

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    A native american protagonist? Who has incredible magical powers and seems to be a spirit dragon who just now finally got reborn? I totally unders This review is also posted on my blog. I was seriously shaking my metaphorical pom poms at her the entire time. She could not be badass enough.

    But - let the word vomit begin - that was essentially all I liked. A HUGE one, but the only one. The Ourthuri princess WOULD have been another one, in the short chapter she had a part in, had she not been entirely forgotten about. What theme am I seeing here? The killing off and villainizing of people of color just to further the plot of white people. That was underlying in the entire novel. YES, we can see that the friend is annoyed. YES, we can see that the further the conversation goes, the more things are forgiven. They can figure these things out, I promise. Those two things would have knocked off just a star or two if they were all that I disliked.

    Rhen had one redeeming factor to himself. Upon meeting Jinji - who, up until the last three pages or so, he thought was a boy - he realized that nothing he could say could make up for what his people did to hers, in terms of erasing their culture and forcing them to conform. I applaud you, Rhen! As the third prince in line, Rhen is typically looked over and entirely ignored by everyone in his family. And, he feels the tiiiniest bit of guilt about it, but, not enough to stop doing it. Summed up - the Ourthuri king tried to have him killed. Jinji was trying to save him, ran into the princess, struck a deal with her that if she helps her save him, he later provides protection and safe haven when she runs from her abusive and fear-mongering father.

    Does he do that? And just confronted the one thing she confided in him was the only thing she wanted to confront to avenge her family. Literally ONLY because he found out she was a girl. He never did ONCE in the entire rest of the story. Even when the Ourthuri king almost killed him. When he was running away, did he take caution? Feel any guilt at all about the princess? He literally called it a game. Like hiding from the palace guards.

    Rhen pissed me off a little bit too much. Otherwise, save yourself from wasting your time. Go find your female PoC protagonist somewhere else. Read all my reviews on http: However, the princess does make an appearance in the book. Jinji is the last of her people, which are massacred by a shadow force. When she's trying to survive by pretending to be a boy she meets up with Rhen, a prince who's onto a plot to destroy his family. It was described Read all my reviews on http: It was described as A Game of Thrones which is very dangerous as it sets the expectations very high without even having started the book.

    I don't think it lives up to that claim. It is far less political perhaps this will be more in the later books , and more of a standard YA fantasy where two teenagers need to save the kingdom, both with a secret one of them actually is a girl, the other a prince. While I don't think it was the most memorable story, it was enjoyable to read. This being said, the shadow thing that is roaming around is actually quite interesting, so I'm curious to find out where that is going.

    Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review! This took a bit to get into after reading the prequel first. I really liked Jin's character but she is too secretive for her own good. She needed to try to trust someone but even Rhen who saves her, opens up his secrets she is silent.

    It takes a while to understand her relation to spirits in this too. Rhen I really liked. He too, wore a mask to the world. But he is a deeply caring, brave person with lots of depth. There seem to be a couple things This took a bit to get into after reading the prequel first. There seem to be a couple things going on in this book and it was interesting to see how they each had their own agenda with the switching or perspectives. Jul 26, Melanie rated it liked it Shelves: The Shadow Soul was a good fantasy read. After reading the prequel I was really looking forward to continuing the series and this book did not disappoint.

    I liked the characters and found the story fascinating. There were a few moments where the story didn't hold my attention, but the ending made up for that. I'm undecided on whether or not I will continue the series As she prepares for what should be one of the proudest moments in her life, she finds herself bound to darkness -- a shadow that moves from her waking dreams into her reality and steals everything from her. She is found by a prince of the new world who shuns his royal standing, preferring adventure. He too is bound to the spirits, but unlike Jinji, his people fear such magic.

    Danger and secrets bind the two together as Jinji seeks answers and vengeance against the shadow that killed her people, while Prince Rhen tries to uncover a plot against his kingdom before it's too late. The chapters flip back and forth between the two characters' points of view. Davis takes the time to dig deep into the their thoughts and actions, such that, by the end of the book when the action and intrigue picks up the pace, their separate perspectives are so well woven.

    Even when the chapters duplicate scenes, the emotional weight from each perspective adds so much more to the moment. Considering what Jinji has lost, Davis does a good job of keeping Jinji focused on that pain, as would be expected after such tragedy, without letting her pain drag the story down. There are times when it seems like Jinji is losing that focus as she gets more and more wrapped up in Rhen's situation, but Davis brings it back and around to tie both their fates together.

    However, when things do come together in the end, there are some pacing and detail issues that become lost due to the focus on Jinji and Rhen's perspectives alone. The political issues and the war itself become lost in the periphery because of this, which would lead to disappointment to anyone who accepted the book's claim that it is like Game of Thrones in any way. Further, it is wonderful to have a female protagonist of colour, and her introduction and the introduction to her culture is beautifully detailed.

    But the book stumbles in having that character's entire people obliterated shortly after and having the only other people of colour villainized. There are some issues with editing and pacing that are to be expected from a new author, but the story itself is sound and the characters are strong and endearing, so much so that when I finished reading The Shadow Soul, I promptly purchased the sequel, which is always a good sign!

    On to the next novella!!! I would like to know more about Orthuri and it's customs, maybe I will discover some less barbaric customs in this book than were revealed in the prequel in the Kings treatment of his daughter and her personal guard. The cover's main element is a female depicted as a dark daunting shadow figure that appears to be brandishing a dagger of some sort.

    So the cover seems to be promising plenty of action? Would the cover make me pick up the book from a bookstore shelf? I'd say yes, but in totally honesty I would be picking up the book on the assumption from the cover that my daughter may like the book. The cover makes me think the books may be like the Sarah J. Maas series Throne Of Glass. Jinji has awoken early and gone to her secret place out in the forest to enjoy the peace and quiet before the preparations begin for the ceremony. She is still in a relaxed peaceful state when her best friend Leoa finds her.

    Jinji's mother has sent her to tell Jinji it is time to prepare. Leoa has brought the luxurious, white furs and skins. The two girls hear a scream and rush off to investigate. Leoa is the faster runner so ahead of Jinji. Jinji then see's the person who has killed her friend, it is Manuik! Manuick the very man who should be protecting her but there is something odd about his eyes. It's as if he is possessed..

    The other point of view this book is told from is that of Prince Whylrhen the somewhat wayward third son of the King of Whyl. Rhen is a "spare" rather than a true "heir" to the Whyl throne. Rhen has the reputation of being a carefree, ladies man, the truth is however totally different from that. Rhen is doing what turns out to be more important than anyone could have thought it would be including himself. We follow Rhen meeting Jinji or rather Jin as Jinji has woven the spirits she can control and changed or masked her face to look like her deceased brother Janu.

    Though she has woven the image of his face she cannot bear to sully his name by using it herself as a lie, so she shortens her own name and continues to be disguised as a boy named Jin throughout the majority of this book. Jin does not trust Rhen for some time and initially hides her "spirit weaving" from Rhen, she also keeps her spirit woven mask on so Rhen thinks she is male. Having said that Rhen is highly reluctant to reveal that he is in fact a Prince. So they are both hiding things and keeping secrets from each other.

    Shadow Dance

    Even when they become closer and Jin can she a fire element spirit weaving around Rhen as well as through travelling together, Jin keeps up the pretense of being male. Rhen does not discuss his "gift" either not trusting in it himself to speak to anyone or admit he has this affinity with fire. His "gift" ends up becoming extrmemly useful and in fact life saving at one point in the book.

    Rhen chooses to kind of commandeer a ship. Captain Pygott, in charge of the ship allows Rhen to join the ship on it's trips as and when he wants. Rhen has used this regularly to escape his royal duties or "burdens" is perhaps more accurate as to how Rhen views the Royal part of his life. Captain Pygott has been a more "down to earth" accessible father figure to Rhen.

    Captain Pygott, Rhen and Jin and the rest of the crew learn the truth about the unmarked ships sailing in the seas near to Whyl. There is a fight between an unmarked ship that turns out to be Ourthurian , it is during a fight between the two ships that Jin accidentally reveals some of the extent of the spirit weaving gift she has. I really could rattle on forever about this book, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book from beginning to end. For example at the end of a chapter told from the point of view of Rhen there will be a little cliff hanger or things you're just not quite told, then the point of view will switch to Jin's and some of the things that happened in Rhen's chapter may be re-told from her point of view but go on a little further in time.

    I loved the characters. I specifically adored Jin, her constant battles with her inner demons, and her strong cultural beliefs that she cannot and will not forget her Arapapjo heritage and all it stands for. The relationship between Jin and Rhen begins as friends, and they then grow to confidantes and then an almost brotherly relationship. So did I enjoy this book? I adored the book and it's characters. Would I recommend this book? Would I want to read more in this series?

    I intend to purchase, download and read the next novella "The Silver Key" straight away! Would I read other titles by this author? Yes once I've read all that's available in this series I'll be checking out Kaitlyn's other titles. Mar 14, Sarah rated it really liked it Shelves: Um yeah, what should I say It was a free ebook so I was glad to have something while I was traveling up and down the US east coast, but nonetheless, I feel like the story could have been more intruiging Feb 26, Gabriela rated it it was ok Shelves: Mixed feelings about this.

    The plot is interesting and it flows nicely, the writing is decent and it has some good elements but I can't really recommend it because of the following factors: The three socieies were thinly disguised from real life ones, the Arpapajos are inspired by a Native American society, Rhen is a prince in a kingdom similar to a medieval European one and the Ourthuro seemed to be inspired in an African tribe.

    The Ourthuros Kindle freebie. The Ourthuros are considered the villains in this story but the reason is never explained. Their characterization is reduced to black skin, being naked and tattoos and their behavior is very similar to all the negative stereotypes of black people.

    Having said that, there are some criticism to the colonial practices and prejudice that the Arpapajos suffered. There are some mentions to the dangers and vulnerability that Jinjin has to deal with because she is a woman. On the other hand, Rhen drugs women. He thinks it's a necessary action to secure the kingdom via a reputation of womanizer.

    His behavior is never criticized and he never thinks the possible consequences of "ruining" these women in the society they live because he lives gold. I don't agree that it doesn't matter only because he doesn't "do the deed". Rhen is supposed to be charming and tormented but is poorly developed as a character. Jinjin is far more interesting because she has a real conflict in the story.

    They are supposed to be friendly since the beginning but I only felt that the relatioship had some depth after Rhen shares his secret. I read the blurb for the next novel and, even if it seems there are some interesting parts, there aren't enough to convince me to read the sequel. I received a free ebook through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I was pretty skeptical. But I set that skepticism aside when I read the blurb because despite the overly aggrandizing opening the rest of it sounded pretty good.

    I will clear up one thing first: But since his parents are well-known dancers and he knows ballet, it's an assignment he gets. Mac quickly forgets the story is a distraction once he meets Trelain Medveyev in person. There's just something about him that draws Mac in. Though Mac's not sure what it is; he's straight, after all. As the two spend more time together, Mac begins to realize that maybe there is a physical attraction between them that can be explained.

    If Mac's sexuality isn't enough of a hurdle, another wrench is thrown into the mix. Terrebonne is also interested in Trelain, and he makes a decisive move while Mac's head is still spinning. But Mac sees this as an opportunity; he might be able to use the connection to investigate Terrebonne more closely. Until that close investigation leads Mac to wondering if he might have feelings for his suspected thief, as well.

    But Mac isn't the only person looking for the Golden Dancer. The original owner wants it back. And he is prepared to stop at nothing to see it returned to his collection. Even if it means danger for Terrebonne and everyone close to him But I'm glad I picked it up. I'm always a fan of Tara Lain's writing. She has a way of developing characters and worlds that allows the reader to feel like they're very much along for the ride. And this one is no exception.

    There are certainly a lot of twists and turns along the way here--especially with the romantic elements. I hadn't expected the outcomes of some of the conversations and situations that came up.


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    8. But none of those unexpected events seemed out of character or out of line with the story. I had honestly expected more tension and drama with the parents especially Trelain's based on how they were described in the story. But I also know that it's common for a child to describe their parents differently than they really are--especially if they have any reason to feel unsupported by them.

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      If you're looking for a fun, interesting, and engaging read, then look no further. One person found this helpful. This was my first time reading a book by Lain. I enjoyed it enough to look for others. The sexytimes are really hot, but almost too perfect as nearly every realistic threesome will experience some level of inequality the majority of the time.

      Daniel, Mac and Trelain quickly and unrealistically form the perfect triad where no one ever feels truly jealous or left out or gets their feelings hurt. That goes against human nature. I'm not sure WHY each man falls in love with the others except that they are all gorgeous. Trelain, particularly, seems to be adored mostly for his hair and eyes. It's all a bit too pat and everyone is perfectly happy. One of my best friends is in a longterm triad; it's not all rainbows and kittens.

      But, if you can overlook or buy into the fantasy of a nearly instant, perfectly equal, balanced throuple and some eye rolling at the end of the action plot , I think you'll like the interaction between the MCs and will definitely like all the yummy mingling that goes on. I just wish the MCs' motivations and falling in love not lust processes had been given more time and detail. Let me start off by saying that this book is amazingly well written. Lain's characters are impossible not to love, so complex and multi-layered.

      After reading the synopsis blurb, I knew immediately I would fall for Mac Trelain seemed the obnoxious spoiled type. I really did not expect to fall for all 3 guys; but Ms. Lain made it all but impossible not to. Add into the mix the fact that this is not a prestated HEA novel and you've got me having to stop reading at times just cuz I'm was freaking out that 1, 2 or all 3 of them might just be dead by the last page.

      A real roller-coaster ride that I am glad I stayed on till the end. Truly top-notch story telling at it's best. See all 35 reviews. Most recent customer reviews. Published 1 year ago. Published on June 30, Published on June 20, Published on June 16, Published on June 10, Published on June 1, Published on May 30, Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers.

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