REVIEW: How Black is the Shadow

How Black is the Shadow (The Ashborne Chronicles, #1)
by Andrew Layden

Get it here


When sixteen-year-old Kat’s brother falls through a frozen river, she vows never to return home without a relic to bring her brother back to life. 

Kat leaves her farmhouse in the dead of winter with only a head full of fireside stories to guide her and a horn of her brother’s ashes to keep her company. During her quest for the relic, Kat wanders into royal hunting grounds and saves a prince from getting skewered by a boar. She is invited to live in the castle as a reward and agrees, but only to use the library for research. 

Kat only wants her brother back, however she finds herself caught among the nobles’ destructive ambitions. To get the information she needs to locate the relic, Kat must join in their game of politics. But she isn’t the only one looking for the relic and the other lords will sacrifice Kat to make sure they get the relic for themselves.


*A free PDF copy of this book was given in exchange for an honest review*

I need this to be a movie and I can already imagine some of the cast. 

Perhaps I started reading this book at a wrong time. My first impression of this was that it was a slow start and I took a break from reading it, for a few weeks actually. However, the moment I picked it up again, I read over 250 pages in one sitting. I was hooked.

The story began with Kat and her family sharing stories around the fire. Initially it may seem like it has nothing to do with the storyline but it sure plays a large part. Most of the events that happened in the first few chapters seem odd, but after having a general idea of what was happening, the flow of story was incredible. Kat’s character and traits could be easily learnt through her actions, speech and her internal conflict.

I love that the characters were very well developed. All of them were rounded and complex. I liked that some of them may seem a little two-faced and mysterious which adds to the whole appeal of this story. Dark and mysterious. The title however, was a huge enigma to me. Despite being mentioned a few times, I don’t quite understand. Nonetheless, there is no bigger mystery than who can and who can’t Kat trust in the king’s circle of politicians.

While reading the book, I can’t help but to doubt everyone from the king’s group of politicians, the queen and especially Piper. Everyone seems to be hiding something and knowing more than they should. What I can say, without ruining much of the story, is that everyone has their own hidden agenda and Kat’s newfound friends are extremely loyal. 

I’ve grown attached to Kat. She is an amazing female protagonist that can be looked up to. I love her relationship with the other characters and especially, her spirit. Stubborn, tactical and with a goal in mind, she is a protagonist that a strong will, weaknesses and a past that haunts her yet gives her strength. Her character development is remarkable. 

One thing that I didn’t like was the ending. Personally, it felt too rushed. The ending was also confusing. I had to re-read that part again in order to understand it but I can’t really come to a solid conclusion. It was the ending to this book that had me disappointed. It felt like a really sharp drop after the intensity of the events leading up to it. It also made me rethink about how I feel towards some characters. 

This is the first book in the Ashborne Chronicles so I believe it will definitely be revealed more in the next book. However, I do hope that some characters do make a reappearance. 


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s