BOOK REVIEW: Shadow Trials by Isla Frost #youngadult #fantasy

HARRY POTTER MEETS THE HUNGER GAMES
Ever since magic stormed the world, the price for human survival is surrendering your firstborn to the monsters.

But this year it’s Nova’s turn, and the monsters better watch their backs.

I am the firstborn in my family. The first of three. And today I will pay the price for my siblings’ lives by surrendering control of my own. I will step through the runegate, and I will never see my family again.

What the others do with the firstborn is shrouded in mystery. All anyone knows is they are never heard from again.

I will step through the runegate willingly.

But I can keep secrets too. And I’ll do whatever it takes to bring the others to their knees…

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MY REVIEW – 5 stars!

I’m not quite sure I’d compare this book to Harry Potter, like the tagline in the book description suggestions, but it did have a slight Hunger Games feel to it — but with a paranormal twist. There’s a ton of mystery to this one and a lot of asking “why” as I read from beginning to end. The book does end on a cliffhanger, but that’s not at all unusual for a fantasy YA book. That being said, the characters at times act extremely immature so if you’re expecting a YA with more “adult” characters, this probably won’t be a good selection for you.

I enjoyed the main characters, and while there was a lot of angst, drama, and quite a bit of violence, I needed to know why everything was happening. What was the grand plan for the first borns? While book one doesn’t answer many questions, and in fact makes you ask a ton more, I found it to be intriguing enough I needed to keep reading. There were times I wanted to smack the characters for being idiots, but they’re teenagers and act accordingly.

While there’s a romantic thread that slowly builds in book one, it’s not the main focus of the story. It’s very much a fantasy worldbuilding, and we’re plunged headfirst into the mayhem. Even with magic, different factions of supernaturals, and the “classroom” lessons, this is in no way a Harry Potter type of tale. However, I enjoyed it a great deal. From the beginning, the students are warned they may not make it through training, but it has an ominous tone making you wonder — what happens to them?

Having never read this author before, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’m certainly glad I picked up Shadow Trials, and I will definitely check out her other books. It’s fast-paced, action-packed, and full of drama and teen angst… a definite page-turner!

*Disclaimer: The author did not request a review. I purchased/borrowed this title from Amazon. The review above is only my opinion.

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