Saturday, December 17, 2022

Shadow Princess by Caroline Peckham


I've been bingeing this series over the last week or so because it's just that addictive. The last time I read something that was this cheesy but emotionally wrenching was during my college manga phase. You think anime is all fun and games until you decide to read the entire Hana Yori Dango series in one summer and find yourself drinking wine by the glass and clawing out your hair in chunks. Then you know pain.

SHADOW PRINCESS is book four in the Zodiac Academy series. Book three, THE RECKONING, was my absolute favorite book in the series so far-- it was action-packed, dramatic, emotional, and stunning, with character development and the answers to questions that had been steadily building over the previous books. SHADOW PRINCESS, on the other hand, is... the weakest? Ah, don't hate me!

But, like, seriously. I've been Tory's staunch defender for the last couple books. I know she has real emotional pain and boy, does this book prove it. And even though she has some of the best lines in these books, she is also such a stubborn fool. Her sleeping around doesn't bother me, but her emotional pigheadedness does, as does her constant need to be a jerk and never change. Darcy has changed a lot over the four books. You can tell that she's on the verge of becoming the powerful woman she'll one day be: she doesn't take any shit, she's nuturing, and there's an emotional maturity to her that Tory really lacks. It makes it really, really hard to like Tory, who doesn't change. She just remains a self-centered asshole who insults everyone to cover up the pain inside.

And don't even get me started on Darius, who is literally the exact same way. They're both Sad Dracos in Leather Pants, I swear to God. Every time I find myself warming to the guy, he does something stupid. Maybe I just don't like him because I was shipping Tory and Caleb and this feels like a reprise of the Rhysand/Tamlin situation that put me off the ACOTAR books. I don't like it when one ship kind of feels like end game, only for the author(s) to play a big switcheroo. That said, the ending legitimately made me tear up and scream, NOOOOOOO. I would hate to be a reader picking these up as they were coming out and wondering what was going to happen next. I mean, really.

So why three stars instead of four? This book started to feel really dialed in. There were too many POVs. I didn't need to see Max mooning over Geraldine. I don't really care about Max. I also don't really care about Seth. In fact, I hate Seth and this book just made me hate him more. I actually preferred it when the books were mostly just in Tory and Darcy's POVs. It was more fun for me when you could only guess at what was going on in the guys'  heads. Subtlety is an underappreciated art form. I found myself skimming chunks of these books and noticing a lot of repetition. The word "growl" and its various iterations are used 175 times and smirk was used 121 times, just to give you a taste. I was pressed to look it up when I noticed the words "I smirked" TWICE on the same page.

Also, Washer doesn't need that many cameos. He's gross. I don't want it. Stahp.

ALSO, why do they celebrate Christmas? Is there a Faerie Jesus?

3 out of 5 stars

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