50. Shadowscent: The Darkest Bloom by P.M. Freestone

Over the weekend I convinced my friend to let me into a bookstore. I was given strict instructions to only buy two books and was marched out as soon as I’d bought the two books. This was one of the two books I purchased and I have to admit that I finished reading this the day after I bought it. I was most annoyed to find that it is in fact the first of a series (as least I presume there will be a series as it ended on a cliffhanger) but am invested enough to want to wait for a sequel.

Synopsis (as taken from amazon) is as follows:

In the empire of Aramtesh, scent has power.

When disaster strikes and the crown prince lies poisoned, long-suppressed rivalries threaten to blow the empire apart. It’s up to Rakel, a poor village girl with a talent for fragrances, and Ash, the prince’s loyal bodyguard, to find an antidote.

To succeed, the unlikely pair must uncover cryptic, ancient secrets as well as buried truths from their own pasts in an adventure that will ignite your senses.

Ability to read – I found it quite easy to read, although it did take me a couple of chapters to get into the book. I encountered resistance when trying to get into the book and I didn’t have a smooth entry. However, I didn’t have a problem reading this and was able to make sense of what was being described and what was happening to the characters I was following.

Characterisation – There are two main characters to this book; Rakel and Ash. Through the book I felt I learnt as much about the two characters as I did gain more questions about them. On some level I feel like I learnt more about Ash than Rakel, I gleamed more from Ash’s actions and words rather than from Rakel but by the end I was convinced I knew Rakel more and Ash less. As characters, they both bounce off each other rather well. Both complimenting each other but yet there is still room for argument and discord. I felt that each character went through a ‘journey’ through the course of the book but I don’t feel like their journey’s were wrapped up or at all near completion when I got to the end of the book. Since I’m pretty certain there will be a sequel, I’m interested to see where the characters go and how they’ll evolve.

Visualisation – It was easy for me to visualise what was happening in the book because of the level of descriptions provided. This was a vast world with many places that Rakel and Ash both visited. It would have been easy to get lost amongst all the scene changes. I thought the world created to have been fleshed out quite nicely and it was definitely a credit to the author. I found my imagination could take much from what was given in the book and give me a clear visual image of what was happening. I could see the characters clearly and see what they were doing and how they were interacting with others without issue.

Uniqueness – I did find myself catching glimpses of other books while reading this. I don’t mean that this book copies by any means, I just refer to the overused plots of YA genres that have been floating around recently. I got echoes of Throne of Glass as well as Rebel in the Sands. So, for me, the idea wasn’t unique as it follows in the footsteps of so many others. However, there were elements that set it aside from others and pushed it into a unique camp. The magic is different, the idea that scent has power was different and the mysteries surrounding the different unknown organisations was different. There was just enough here to separate it from the stereotypical fantasies that have been lining YA shelves for years. I thought that the world created was unusual and unique and larger than I had first imagined. I enjoyed all the overlapping stories and that I got to see the POV of both main characters through the chapters.

Hannah xoxo

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