I’m just a PR machine for Sebastien de Castell at this point really. Can he write a book I don’t adore? Serious question here.
Forced to live as an outlaw, Kellen relies on his wits and his allies to survive the unforgiving borderlands.
When he meets a young woman cursed with a deadly plague, he feels compelled to help. But her secrets draw powerful enemies and it’s not long before Kellen is entangled in a conspiracy of blackmail, magic, and murder. As the bodies begin to pile up, Kellen fears he’s next.
I’ve come for the characters who grip my heart, and I stay for their journeys of self-discovery, bravery, and themselves (under all the dirt they travel in). I can always pick up a de Castell book and find a piece of home – in Kellen’s banter, in Reichis’ murder hungry soul, and in Feirus and her witty fighting style. These characters feel like home to me, their stories worn into my skin, their insecurities weaving around me.
But if you thought your heart couldn’t expand anymore, there are new characters in this story that will push their way in. More outlaws, more misfits, more people expanding this already detailed and imaginative world. No matter how much you think you can love them, they challenge you. They dare you to defy them – their antics, their surprises, and their fears.
And we are constantly happy to accompany Kellen on his quest to find himself. To find where he belongs. We approach him in darkened rooms, in back alleys, and in unexpected places (mostly getting beat up). But what I really loved in Shadowblack was the development of the question – how much is your freedom worth? To you? To others? When we find ourselves pawns in our family’s schemes, in larger struggles, how much will we fight to entangle ourselves? To walk away from a battle that isn’t ours? Or to have the freedom to jump into the fray?
And at the very end of the road, at the end of the night, who do we want with us in the end? What do we owe to each other? Because often there’s the easier road, then there’s the harder one, the one full of dirt, challenges, and sacrifices. But that ultimately offers us a piece of knowledge, of ourselves, that we can always put down, and have to choose to continue. We have to walk away from comfort, from taking the easy road because it isn’t the right road for us. There are lessons to be had and lessons to be learned.