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A Shadow of Blood & Magic by Daisy Hale
Through blood she gains life, from magic she receives power, with both, she is one.
Cassandra Woods is not supposed to exist. Fearing for her life she flees her home, escaping punishments for the crimes she committed against the tyrannical Queen of Striga to join forces with the coven’s enemy . Leonardo Sage, a General of the Lamian army and a High member of the Clan is assigned to watch over Cassandra, he must put his prejudice aside as he struggles with his feelings for her but she has a secret, the real reason she left Coven and he is determined to find the truth.
Cassandra’s life is in even more danger when an Assassin, an outlawed Shifter is sent to kill her, but all is not what it seems and Cassandra must trust the Clan to protect her, but a threat from inside their own ranks surfaces and Cassandra finds herself in the middle when she saves the life of the Prince of Lamia.
As war rages between the kingdoms, Cassandra must choose a side. The lives of the people hang in the balance, and it is up to Cassandra to save them, but will she make the right choice?
Love or loyalty. Which one will prevail?
I really, really wanted to be submerged into the world of Caligorven, be swept away and grabbed by incredible magic and impeccable story-telling. I really, truly wish I’d been more impressed by the world building and the character development throughout A Shadow of Blood & Magic. As of now, I feel like it is a story full of incredible potential, but in need of another round of developmental and line edits.
Some of the important scenes, or parts of the story I would have loved to see – because there were places I did enjoy and wanted to experience throughout the plotline – were skimmed over or brought in with a bit of ‘Telling’ and very little ‘Showing’ of how they went down. I can imagine pretty well how Leonardo explained to Cassie about Twin Flames, I can make up my own story about how he relayed the vampire traditions to her, but I would have absolutely loved to have it written down. Later on, especially the last few chapters of the book, leaving out things and skipping scenes became the main practice. I believe Daisy was hoping to create suspense in relaying as little as possible and wanting the reader to sit at the edge of the seat to find out how things will get resolved. To me, personally, it had the opposite effect. Quite frankly, I was annoyed.
I was annoyed by Leo rushing into things that should have been considered more carefully.
I was annoyed that the scenes felt clipped, rushed and that I couldn’t wrap my head around the reasoning behind the characters actions.
And I was so damn annoyed that some of the characters ended up on the other side of where I thought they belonged to without any explanation to their motivations and what drove them to behave in a certain way.
Even though there were several scenes throughout the book I found delightful and several more I quite enjoyed the fiasco of the ending ruined the reading experience for me. I don’t mind the open ending, I don’t even mind the cliff hanger, I simply think the presentation of the whole ordeal was lacking.
I hate being negative, so here’s a few things I did enjoy:
Snippets of conversation between Cassie and Leo/ Cassie and Ally were positively amusing
I found the true proposal incredibly beautiful.
The crowning ceremony
Overall plotline and the potential the world and characters hold.
Things I think need more consideration:
World building and how to relay it without info dumping or rushing.
Character development and personalization, especially when it comes to dialogues and discussions of great importance.
I am glad that readers have different tastes in books and their expectations vary. Even if I found the presentation of the story lacking you may enjoy it full heartedly!