This was an audiobook that I picked up as it was the SPFBO Community Discord’s Book Club title for January. Of course, I didn’t manage to actually finish it in January… because of course I didn’t. It’s been one of those years, so far. ^^;
THE CHOSEN ONE IS DEAD.
Speak the truth.
That is what Elenor has been taught to value above all else, but when her brother dies, leaving her next in line for the Throne of Lirin, truth becomes a matter of opinion.
Stand for what is right.
Gabriel thought his years of fighting against oppression were over when he agreed to assassinate the royal family. He never expected to end up helping one of them.
As the carefully woven webs of deception surrounding Elenor and Gabriel begin to unravel, Princess and Rebel must set aside their differences and work together for the sake of the Kingdom they both love.
Meanwhile, from the rainy streets of Lirin to the scorching dunes of the Mondaer Desert, the ripples of their actions have inadvertently broken a chain of events five centuries in the making. Ancient forces move in the shadows, calling in debts and striking deals. A monster with a thousand faces fingers his knife, ready to kill, and a pair of fugitives run for their lives.
With Magic itself misbehaving and old alliances crumbling to dust, it is up to an unlikely group of friends and enemies to pick up the pieces the chosen one left behind.
This is the story of the Kingdom of Lirin (mostly). The King of Lirin is a tyrant, and as such, a rebellion has formed, and it’s their intention to assassinate the King and Queen so that the rebel heir can take over. When the assassination goes sideways and the heir dies instead, his sister Elenor becomes the heir. The rebellion still really wants the King and Queen gone though, and its leader, Gabriel, along with his friends Fay and Tellen will go to many lengths to make it happen.
This one took me a little while to get into, but once I got into it, it was quite hard to stop listening. This was one of those stories where, you’re not quite sure at first who you should be cheering for, in the long run. Some characters who seem good do things that seem bad, and vice versa. There’s a fair bit of backstabbing, betrayal, switching sides, etc. There’s also a really interesting magic system that changes and grows throughout the story.
I really liked the characters in this one, most notably Gabriel, and Fay. They are school friends (and lovers) who have joined a rebellion to change the world. I liked the way their relationship with each other and with other characters changed as the book went on and things happened. I really liked Fay’s attitude, which includes a lot of swearing. Having a snarky, foul-mouthed, rogue-like character is usually something that will endear me to a book, and this is no exception. Daemon was another character who was very interesting to read about, because he’s very mysterious and powerful, and you can never really tell what his motives are.
The narrator, Marian Hussey did a great job with this one. The audiobook is quite long, coming in just short of 25 hours without speeding it up, and I never got sick of the sound of her voice. She voiced all the characters with unique accents and personalities, and made me really enjoy the experience.
All told, Where Shadows Lie was a well written epic story with a well built and sprawling world that it was easy to get lost in. If you like the idea of magic and dragons mixed with political shenanigans with both LGBTQ+ rep and disability rep, this would indeed be a book for you. 4/5 stars!~