I am a man after all. I cannot help the urges of my body. But I can absolutely help what I do with those urges. I will not let them control me.
-Vor, Bride of The Shadow King.
Sylvia Mercedes has once again proven to be quite adept as far as fantasies go. First published on February 23rd, 2022, Bride of The Shadow King is the first book in her new series, a swoon-worthy tale of love, deception, and duty.
If you like your fantasy mixed with the right doses of action and slow-burn romance, then this book will surely pique your interest.
BRIDE OF THE SHADOW KING BOOK SUMMARY
Bridging the boundary between the earthly and the supernatural, Bride of the Shadow King tells the story of an arranged marriage between a princess and a dark Shadow King. Princess Farraine has always lived in the shadows, shunned from court, and rendered almost nonexistent by her father.
When disaster strikes and the marriage between the handsome, and terrifying Shadow King Vor and her younger sister Ilsevel is placed in jeopardy, Farraine is forced to take her sister’s place and become the Bride of The Shadow King, to save the alliance and her people.
PLOT AND THEME
Set in dystopian times, Bride of The Shadow King is a finely spun story, fitting both the fantasy and romance genres, with adequate action in between. The book is written from a dual point of view (his and hers) and conveys all the emotions felt by both parties. From the unusual names of the characters to their unique behaviors, the story was well thought out and executed.
However, it would have been better if there was a glossary of words that would explain some of the trolde terms because not everyone would decipher all from the tone.
There is almost no fantasy book without action, and this one is not an exception. The characters live in a time where they always need to be wary and armed, in case they encounter an unsavory situation. The action scenes paint quite a vivid picture from the troldefolk who possess human features but are built from stone to their morleths that thrive in the shadows.
The plot also tries to teach a worthy lesson that humans can be inhuman, while the creatures they see as inferior, and not worth their time can indeed be more considerate. The troldefolk, unlike the humans, are bound by whatever they write and harbor no deception. But humans will always find an opportunity to cheat or create a loophole.
Since the entire characters cannot be discussed, I’ll be more focused on the main characters, with little mentions of the others. The author carefully crafted the female characters, ensuring that they possessed both physical and mental strength and that they also possessed some sort of grace and poise.
Farraine: Our heroine grows up never knowing the love of her mother who is indifferent or her father who treats her like she has the plague. Each of the king’s children has a god’s gift, but Farraine’s gift was seen as a curse instead. She did grow up nicely, taking care of her sisters, and only seeking her father’s acknowledgment or a tiny bit of affection at least. Imagining what she must have felt, up until being forced to take her sister’s place, caused me pain, to be honest. When it comes to strength and loyalty, Farraine gets an A+.
Vor: Our hero is the epitome of charisma. With his otherworldly good looks and brilliance, it wasn’t difficult to like him even more than the heroine. Vor was a gentleman, a loyal King to his people, and a feminist. Even though he was pained about going into a loveless marriage just to save his people, Vor still wouldn’t let his brother or anyone else speak ill of his bride in his presence. When Farraine asked him if trolde women are considered equals of men, his answer was so brilliantly logical, that I had to stop to take it all in. While the Shadow King acknowledges his desires, he would not let them define him, and that I think is commendable.
Sul: Ah! The brother to the Shadow King whose jokes I found irritating because most of them were mostly centered around women, especially human ones. I admired his loyalty to his brother and his people, but I soon got tired of his jokes and his general obliviousness to everyone else’s feelings. He did show he was not totally a douchebag in some chapters, but his character left much to be desired.
Hael: The King’s loyal captain and childhood friend, Hael was a force to be reckoned with. Even though she had been in unrequited love for years, and also had other personal problems to deal with, she did not let any of it affect her job. She left an impression, and I hope the next book in the series will shed some more light on her character development, and not just her job as the King’s captain.
Ilsevel: Farraine’s younger sister, and her father’s most prized jewel, Ilsevel was strong-willed and knew how to get her point across. Being the King’s favorite was nice but didn’t seem so great anymore when she had to be dragged into marriage to save her kingdom.
Lyria: Farraine’s step-sister, whose character started out annoying, but later became endearing to say the list. Lyria was strong, and a true princess at heart. Not letting anyone rattle her, or gauge her innermost emotions, Lyria was the picture of grace.
The author carefully crafted her female characters, ensuring that they possessed both physical and mental strength and that they also possessed grace and poise even in the face of trouble.
This book is a 4/5 for me, and I’ll recommend it to people who are fans of fantasy and do not mind reading a string of words they do not understand. The two cliffhangers at the end were a bit much in my opinion, plus I felt Aurae’s character was not exactly necessary since the book was more focused on Farraine and Ilsevel.
Bride of the Shadow King is a light and entertaining read, and I hope Sylvia gets all the accolades she deserves. I do hope the sequel is published soon so I can dive in because I need to know what happens next!
WRITTEN BY CASS