Reader Review: Gold Shadow – L.C. Perry
Gold Shadow [#1]:
I recently received a message on Goodreads from L.C. Penny enquiringly as to whether I would be interested in possibly reviewing her young adult dystopian novel. After reading through the premise and finding it to my personal liking, I asked if she could possibly send me a copy if her offer still stood. I soon found myself immersed in the novel and, to my initial surprise, it was very captivating.
This first book in the soon-to-continued series follows Ebony – an 18-year-old girl who’s been living underground as a slave for as long as she can remember. She’s been raised learning that her strength is the only thing that will protect her from the horrors of what lurks within the Root Cities, far beneath the surface. Though, when rebels from the world aboveground find themselves in her path, she’s faced with the possibility of getting free and really making a life for herself. The issue is, the monarchy is only planning on getting stronger as the oblivious Princess Irene gets ready to be wed to a suitor, but Ebony thinks she knows a way to show the Princess the truth of her kingdom.
The book gets moving quickly, which I really liked, as that meant that my attention was caught and maintained from the start as I grew increasingly interested in the storyline that was unravelling. From the start, the novel has been written in a way that makes good use of descriptive imagery – the world and the scenarios are well developed and explored, and the small details that contribute to the scenes make it feel all the more three dimensional. The audience is thrown into the character, her personality, and her life off the bat – which means that we’re able to get an idea of just how in-depth the characterisation really goes. Even though the reader is provided with enough context for the character to feel real and develop somewhat of a connection with her, there is still information withheld which makes the audience eager to explore her past and her present even further. There’s obviously a lot more details to uncover about Ebony’s backstory and what she’s been through as a person (not just as a cliched book character) so this prompts the audience to continue reading. As the book progresses, this also can be seen to be the case for the story and the world itself overall. The world has obviously been developed very well and there are a lot of different elements to take into account, so the reader does indeed feel truly immersed.
One of my favourite things about the book is that, as the cast grows, there are a lot of various characters introduced that obviously have diverse and contrasting personalities, traits, and backstories of their own. This makes for a very fascinating mix of people which the audience wants to get to know and explore – and that offers further potential for more characters to be developed in the continuation of the series as well. It’s nice to see the various types of mindsets that the characters have and, quite obviously, this allows the reader to feel involved as they’re going to form their own outlook on these specific attributes of who plays a part in the overall story. The ways that the characters interact with each other and challenge their emotions are written incredibly well which means that I was able to pick up on the emotions that they were feeling in certain situations and put myself in their shoes. Not only does this directly pull the reader into the action of the story, but it also causes them to consider the future of the characters and the future of the plot a lot more as they’re immersed in such a personal way as they’re able to experience the characters developing alongside the story. The audience can relate to the feelings and, in turn, this means the story maintains attention a lot more easily.
Another aspect of the narrative that I enjoyed was truly the fact that it takes on and approaches such a dark premise in a raw way. There are sensitive yet important issues that are addressed throughout the narrative and the various characters, though I felt that this made the storyline all the more riveting and compelling as it also allows the readers to get closer to the characters individually. I like the openness and the vulnerability that certain elements of the plot line takes on and addresses. I also liked the parallel storylines as you’re able to see how they become connected and you’re able to see the truth behind the hugely diverse lifestyles that the characters lead.
Though, there were some aspects of the book that lacked, though this is a given with almost any novel out there. At the very beginning, before the introduction of the main character’s name and identity, I found myself getting confused when trying to pinpoint who was doing what and who was speaking in the dialogue scenes. Even though this doesn’t last for all that long, the few starting scenes are written in a way that poses puzzling for the reader, and this could cause them to lose interest in pursuing the story further. Throughout the development and continuation of the plot, there are some apparent cliches that make the situations and the premises feel familiar and, in turn, this means that some elements and plot points of the story are indeed easy to predict. For example, the way that Irene acts is rather predictable as it’s stereotypical of her character trope. Though, again, this isn’t always necessarily a bad thing as it does move the story along. During certain scenes, the dialogue does feel ‘wooden’ – I found that there were some points of certain chapters that ran off for a bit longer than was necessary and, once in a while, found my attention lacking as I wanted the scenes to move forward and for the plot to push through.
However, when it comes to the ending of the book, I think it was rounded off nicely. The ending is open which leaves the audience with questions and with a want to continue exploring the storyline of the characters and the details of the world that has been established, which is effective because the reader is more likely going to want to continue reading the second book.
To put it simply; I didn’t think that this book would entrap me as much as it truly did and, continuously throughout reading, I found myself getting more involved in the story and paying more attention to the various characters and the roles they played in the overall plot. The world is well-established and the story is very well-developed in a premise with quite a bit of originality, so it makes for a very interesting read. Though there are some tropes and cliches that make points of the story predictable, I found my interest to be maintained to the end, and the continuation of the series has a lot of potential.
Thanks for reading this short review and I’ll write you later.
If you’re a fan of Pierce’s Browns ‘Red Rising’ series or are generally interested in the thought of a dystopian planet, then I’d definitely recommend that you check out this book.
If you enjoy tough but vulnerable characters who work together to overcome adversity and kick ass whilst doing so, then give this a read.