book review

Book Review: Shadowfire

SHADOWFIRE by Jessica Leigh is a bewitching tale of magic and immortals. Check out what Manik Chaturmutha has to say about this indie urban fantasy novel.

Book Review: Shadowfire

Reviewed by Manik Chaturmutha

A bewitching tale of magic and immortals

Jessica Leigh has created an enrapturing fantasy world with Shadowfire. The story follows Bria Disraeli, an aerialist and suspected mass murderer. Bria’s life goes downhill when she unwittingly causes a massacre in an aerial dance competition. Consumed by guilt, she spends three years in prison before the Seraph prince, Kyrian, comes to her rescue. 

Soon, Bria realizes she’s a mage, and there’s more to the  universe than mortals; a parallel dimension exists where the mages, Daemeyri, faeries, seraphs, vampires, merpeople, and immortals live.   

Bria also learns that the reason behind the massacre is her magic. She needs to learn how to control her magic as well as aid the unification of the world and infiltrate the Resistance. 

With Kyrian by her side, she sets out on a quest to unite the Instrument of Korre, which is key to the world’s unification. Both the Mage government and the Resistance wish to acquire it. 

Shadowfire shows readers how the desire for power and dominance can corrupt. It is told with aesthetically appealing prose. Several sentences are didactic and leave a lasting impact on the reader. 

“You must have love in your heart and face the world with it. Only that way can you magnetize the positivity in the stars to change your life for the better.”

Shadowfire expounds on deceit, friendship, compassion and the desire for power. It is sad to see how often the desire to dominate propels us towards unscrupulous actions. The themes emphasize the value of friendship and shuns class discrimination. 

Character development is another strong point of the novel. Bria and Kyrian adapt to their surroundings and become better people along the way. Jay’s character, meanwhile, undergoes a negative transformation, going from a friend to a selfish and manipulative person—a really intriguing development.

The transition from realistic to fantasy is quite unanticipated. It takes readers some time to realize that the demons and immortals are not a figment of Bria’s imagination. The transformation soon blends into the narrative, and readers are drawn into a fantastic world. 

However, sometimes the pace of the narrative is disrupted by description, like with the seventeen circles of Astraera. The novel’s pace dwindles near the middle of the book but becomes quite fast-paced toward the end, with a climax that invokes a torrent of emotions.

This thought-provoking fantasy novel encourages us to dwell on the corrupting influence of power, to appreciate true friends, and to be wary of manipulative people. People who wish to read a didactic tale with strong messages should definitely give this fantasy a shot. 

Genre: Fantasy / Urban

Print Length: 899 pages

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