09 August 2012

The Shadow Cats by Rae Carson

Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness. And it was not Alodia.

Alodia is the crown princess of the realm. The sister who knows how to rule, and the one who is constantly reminded that she has not been marked for a grand destiny. But Alodia has plans, and she will be the greatest queen her people have ever known. So she travels--with her hopeless, naïve, chosen sister--to a distant part of their land, to begin to secure her supporters. This region needs its princesses, for it is plagued with a curse. The crops don't grow, the spring doesn't arrive, and a fierce jaguar stalks the shadows, leaving only empty homes splashed with blood behind. If Alodia can save them, no one will be able to deny her strength and her sovereignty.

But what she discovers could change the fate of her kingdom, if not her world. And it will most certainly change her opinion of her younger sister.

I'm a big fan of Rae Carson's debut, The Girl of Fire and Thorns.  When I saw this one, I immediately rushed to buy it, even though I've never bought anything on my Kindle before.  This historic buy was not disappointed.  Rae Carson packs a lot of plot and character development into the equivalent of 54 printed pages.  This time, we see Elisa through the eyes of her sister, Alodia as they encounter a problem in a remote part of their kingdom.

I was struck by the immediate sense of character.  Within the first few pages, I felt well acquainted with Alodia, and because she is so self righteous, it was with a put-upon kind of amusement that I observed her character.  She had so little faith in Elisa, it was disheartening, but I liked the transformation that goes down throughout the story.

And the story was a well-rounded one at that.  Well-rounded, yet leaving a taste for more.  The plot was exciting and coupled with Rae Carson's eloquent writing style, the shock factor of some of the twists actually made me gasp.

A reader doesn't have to have the history of The Girl of Fire and Thorns to get a grip on this novella.  For those of you who have read The Girl of Fire and Thorns, this novella provides a great insight into Alodia's character, something that isn't really offered in the full-length book.  It isn't exactly a refresher course of the book, however, since it takes place when Elisa is younger and her journey hasn't really started.

An amazing story; I don't regret the three bucks I spent on it.

A conde with a family is a man with something to lose, and a man with something to lose is always more eager to stand behind the shield of a strong king.  Or queen.
Book Info
  • pages - kindle edition, 54
  • published - July 2012
  • publisher - Greenwillow Books
  • genre - fantasy
  • received via - Kindle store :)
  • rating - 5/5
  • series - The Girl of Fire and Thorns
    • The Shadow Cats (novella)
    • The Girl of Fire and Thorns | Review
    • The Crown of Embers | Review
    • The Bitter Kingdom