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book review

Book Review: Embrace of the Shade

EMBRACE OF THE SHADE by Amanda Muratoff and Kayla Mansur is a romantic fantasy adventure with darkness and passionate love. Check out what Steph Huddleston has to say in her review of this indie author novel.

“Book Review: Embrace of the Shade”

Reviewed by Steph Huddleston

This is the book cover of Embrace of the Shade by Amanda Muratoff and Kayla Mansur

A romantic fantasy adventure filled with magic, darkness, and passionate love

Embrace of The Shade tells the story of two thieves, both chasing after a magical object that can change the course of their kingdom. Thrown together by circumstance and an undeniable attraction, Kin and Amarie must choose if they will follow their hearts or the greater purposes upon them both. 

This novel makes a stellar first impression. Readers should hold on tight as they whirl their way through a kingdom filled with mysterious and magical libraries and do battle with wit, sword, and magic. Kin and Amarie are both beautifully complex characters who have on-page chemistry fans of the romance genre will adore—just like I did. 

Passionate, dark, and ruggedly handsome, Kin is impulsive and quick-to-act. Amarie on the other hand carries out her missions with strategies and plans for even the least-likely obstacle. The pair have a number of great dialogue exchanges throughout the book, including one of my favorites:

“‘I’m rather accustomed to bursting in without a plan. It’s worked well for me so far, especially when I run into you.’

‘You do thoroughly enjoy hijacking my plans, don’t you?”

The romance in Embrace of The Shade is thoughtfully executed, with plenty of passion and sizzling kisses to go around. The banter between Kin and Amarie is entertaining and humorous, and readers will appreciate the authenticity between the pair. This is not first love for either character, but rather the experienced and wise love that is able to recognize the uniqueness within one another. 

“…he’d wrap up the world and present it to her in a stain-glassed box.” 

While the romance in Embrace of The Shade is excellent, the fantasy elements of the book don’t feel quite as well executed. The magical realm within the world is fascinating and engrossing, but some aspects are not so clearly explained. Kin is a magical being called a “shade” which means he accesses a darker magic in order to manipulate the physical world and his body. While his magical abilities are clear enough, Amarie’s are not. This lack of effective worldbuilding left me confused at times, but I was willing enough—and suspect you will be too—to carry on thanks to its stronger aspects.

It should be noted that Embrace of The Shade is the first book in a broader series (The Pantracia Chronicles) so it is entirely possible the questions surrounding the magic of the kingdom will become clearer as you read on in the series. There is plenty to enjoy in this first book, with a number of twists within the plot and a delightful romance. There are significant characters introduced late in act three of Embrace of The Shade, who will clearly become more important in time, giving us something to look forward to.

Embrace of The Shade is a great choice for lovers of the fantasy romance genre and for those who enjoy head-butting characters beating the odds to be together.

ISBN: 978-1733701105

Paperback: 268 pages

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