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Daughters of Shadow and Blood - Book I: Yasamin

by J. Matthew Saunders

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This was a difficult read.

There are a lot of different narratives in this book: Adam's, Yasamin's, one which features them both, the gloved man, Michael the Brave, and one-off narratives too. I think this was the biggest problem for me with this book. I can understand writers like George R.R. Martin doing something like this because they have the talent to make it work. Saunders, whilst certainly a good writer, is not talented enough to pull this off.

The constant jumps from one narrative to the next was jarring and uncomfortable - There are just over 300 pages to this book and nearly 80 chapters; it was too much. It took a lot for me to invest myself in a new narrative once the jump had been made and would suddenly jump again just as I was starting to get into it. It did not make for a pleasant reading experience.

The jumping around from narrative to narrative also meant that I spent a majority of the book confused as to what the plot is actually supposed to be. They're looking for a medallion, I got that much. But why? This was never properly explained, if at all. What was the medallion for? What did it do? Why was it so important? I ended the book and I still had no idea what was going on.

However, I loved Yasamin's narratives; they were the only part of the book that I truly enjoyed reading and if it hadn't been for her part, I probably would have DNF'd quite early on. As it is, if the book had been about her and her story, it would have been a 5-star read.

The writing is cold and unemotional which made it so hard for me to really engage with the story or any of the characters. There are scenes which I'm sure were supposed to make me feel something but which ended up being awkward and rushed. The dialogue does what it's supposed to, but leaves a lot to be desired. Given the book is set in 1999, they all talk like they've just stepped out of the 19th century. It's all very contrived.

The book is also action packed, which normally isn't a bad thing, but in this one it leaves very little room for us to really get to know our characters. Because of this, information about the characters motivation or reasoning for their actions is either: not readily apparent which leaves the reader very confused, or is dumped on you then and there which ends up feeling, again, contrived. The characters feel forced and unbelievable.

The premise here is incredible. The planning and research that has gone into this book is commendable. Saunders has what could, ultimately, have been a first-rate book, but it has fallen woefully short.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  LydiaLeigh257 | Apr 29, 2015 |
I have a great fondness for historical fiction as it interests me in general. Add in a book a dash of horror, a bit of the paranormal, and a good percentage of thrilling adventure and you end up with one of the most entertaining and exhilarating books on my recommended reading list. Daughters of Shadow and Blood by J. Matthew Saunders did not disappoint, and in fact kept me riveted to the page until I had finished it.

Not giving too much away, this tells the story of Dracula's Bride, Yasamin, and it encapsulated everything I hoped I would find in it's pages. A story about a strong woman in a time when she was not appreciated, and having to overcome obstacles or rather succumbing to obstacles that lead her to her current position. I really enjoyed this story and cannot wait for the next installment. This is the Brides' stories, not Dracula's. So while you may find him within the pages, his story is not the focal point, and I believe that is one of the reasons I fell deeply into this book.

There is a strong mystery element to this book. As I've mentioned in other reviews I try very much to read very little about ARC's that are given to me for review. I want the surprise of what I'm reading. So going into this book I was not aware of the Bride element, or many other things about this book. The book itself is structured in a way that I found very conducive to read. Each chapter being very short in length and switching between several time periods. This allows the reader to ponder what the large story is and what scheme is in play, The more I read the more intrigued I became all the way through till the final pages when the pieces snapped into place.

I believe the author did a fantastic job of delaying the surprises till the appropriate time, yet supplied the reader with enough of a carrying pace to keep us guessing. Overall I was delighted with this book and will be eagerly awaiting the next book in this series.

Review by: Stacy Palm
Full Reviews Available at: http://www.thebookendfamily.weebly.co...
 
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