Shadows and Fire – Siri Kågen

Jenny has never fitted in anywhere, she felt out of place and angry with the world. One night something mysterious starts to happen when she storms off into her bathroom after an argument with her mother. Before she knows it she is sucked into another world where she is truly alone and scared beyond belief. We follow Jenny through her travels across the new world, meet dangerous characters and start to unfold the secrets surrounding Jenny and the fire she holds within.

I was sent this review copy by Pegasus Publishers (thank you!) and I was so excited to start reading this because the blurb made it sound so interesting. I’ve not read fantasy for a long time so I was a little apprehensive about diving straight in but I really started to enjoy being dropped into the world of Abran. Kågen beautifully describes the world around Jenny, with details down to the dust on the ground, and the smell of the rain, the detail was at times a little overwhelming but it gave an impressive image to envision when following Jenny through her story.

Nearly the entire of this book was in third-person from Jenny’s perspective with near enough constant flicking between her thoughts and the world moving around here. Kågen teeters on the fence of getting a good balance between the two. At times I found myself wishing for the story to progress that tiny bit quicker, the extra details being given through Jenny’s thoughts were not always necessary and slowed the pace right down. Other times I had to go back and re-read sections because I felt I’d missed something by reading over a sentence too quickly. Overall the balance was there and the different use of narrative and monologues made an interesting read. However, the constant change of pace became difficult to keep up with so it took me a lot longer to finish this book than planned.

The last few chapters were the most interesting, more action and character development came through the pages and the pace evened out. I was actually pretty heartbroken (*SPOILER ALERT*) when Kay died, I had really liked his character and felt Jenny’s pain. Kågen did a wonderful job of conveying her feelings through the pages at all times, but Jenny’s erratic and unstable behaviour came across brilliantly without her having to do anything. Just the description of her thoughts scattering through her mind in brief flashes was enough to give a clear view of her pain.

There were a few unanswered questions once I closed the final page but it left it open to proceed into another book which I would be excited to read. The world of Abran is definitely something I would jump straight back into.

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