Wings of Shadow is the finale I was waiting for from the beginning. Preto delivers a satisfying, tear inducing ending that will make you want to re-read from the beginning. There’s a cosmic rightness to this book, moments where you step back and want to appreciate all the threads Preto is weaving together. It’s sheer majesty and if you finished Heart of Flames and loved it, then you don’t need me to tell you to read Wings of Shadow. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.
I had a sister, once…
Veronyka is no longer an orphaned stable boy or a nameless Phoenix Rider apprentice: she is the daughter of Pheronia Ashfire, the last queen of the Golden Empire…and the niece of Avalkyra Ashfire, the resurrected rebel queen who tore the empire apart.
We shone brightly, burned fiercely.
Now that the secret is out, everyone at the Eyrie treats Veronyka differently, and with Tristan still a hostage of the scheming Lord Rolan—and Sev with him as a spy—Veronyka feels very much alone. Except for her beloved phoenix, Xephyra, of course, and her new friend, Kade, who has his own reasons for wanting to save Tristan.
Was it always going to come down to this? Sister against sister? Darkness against light?
Veronyka is determined to do whatever it takes to get Tristan back, even if that means revealing her identity to the world and inheriting a throne she’s not sure she wants. But when she discovers that Avalkyra has bonded with a strix—a legendary creature of darkness that feeds off the life force of others—Veronyka realizes she has more to deal with than an encroaching war with the empire. Val is willing to destroy everything to get her revenge on a world that rejected her, and if Veronyka wants to bring peace to the empire and Pyra alike, she must face down her sister once and for all.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
Wings of Shadow will hit all your emotional highs and lows. The way that Preto showcases complex sisterhood with a capital C. All the themes of change, re-creation and re-birth, and how we have to see the value in ourselves – chefs kiss! This epic finale is jam packed with action and an expansive feeling of scale. It’s a thick book, but it’s just what the doctor ordered after Heart of Flames! Featuring characters which have stolen my heart – I love me some good ruthlessness – Preto allows the characters to take off in Wings of Shadow.
They are allowed to unfurl their wings and stand at the precipice. To contemplate falling into fear and anger, back into patterns of violence and mistrust, or to leap into the sky and take a chance. These moments of growth, of confronting their fears, and of opening their heart brought tears to my eyes. With lovely pacing, especially considering the length, Wings of Shadow consistently illustrates the value of loyalty which is freely given, and the ways that love and friendships only strengthen us.
That to live in isolation, to assume that people will turn our backs on us, leads to loneliness. The tears were fully flowing by the end. Wings of Shadow honors the elements I loved from the first, like the epic world building and the detail of characters, and merely expands on them. Presenting both people who are hell bent on war, a future where they think peace can only be won with blood, and those who struggle to create something new. We can become so consumed with our own rage and unwillingness to seem weak, that it can end in the extinguishing of our selves.
Family conflicts play out in crimson sunsets and in blood in Wings of Shadow. Full of epic battle scenes and negotiations, Wings of Shadow is the perfect finale. Sacrifice can be in fear of losing, in order to protect our ego and what we have stolen. But it can also be to protect the ones we love. It’s a testament to what loyalty, love, and solidarity can achieve if given a spark, and the ways in which a flame can be smothered. Love and loyalty, darkness and fear are all fires which can be fueled or dampened and it’s up to us to decide where to put our energy.
(Disclaimer: Some of the links below are affiliate links. For more information you can look at the Policy page. If you’re uncomfortable with that, know you can look up the book on any of the sites below to avoid the link)