Friday, June 4, 2021

Where Shadows Lie by Allegra Pescatore (Review)

A blond woman sits in a wooden wheelchair at the front of the image. Her hands are in her lap and she's wearing a yellow silk gown with embroidery. Behind her on a raised platform are four standing people. Two men are on the right side of the picture one in a long button coat, and another in green (both have dark hair). On the other side, a red-headed woman is beside a black man... both have long hair. The woman is wearing white and the man is in brown tones. Dragons are behind each duo.
Note: I received a copy in order to review the book.

Elenor (disabled since childhood) is next in line for the throne after her brother's failed assassination attempt on their father, but more than just the kingdom hangs in the balance. Dragon gods move their followers like pawns, war is coming, and the end of the world is just a few bad decisions away.

This book is a sweeping fantasy novel. There are gods, mock dragons, politics, and magic. The world is described beautifully and fleshed out with varied locations and diverse citizens. The magic system is complex and used to great effect.

I didn't like Elenor at first. Yes, she is brave from the beginning, but she is also shockingly sheltered and ignorant. Throughout the first half of the book, I kept wanting to shake her. Even when she sees injustice, she shuts her eyes and keeps on going. She grows emotionally as time goes on, and I grew to love her by the end of the book.

Chapters follow different people and their impact on the story, more like an ensemble cast (including a couple of rebels and a former captain of the guard) than mere supporting players. I could really see the connection between different characters shift as events occurred. The villain of the story wasn't quite as fleshed out as others, but there was still enough information to give him a clear motive. 

The plot is cohesive and spellbinding with plenty of action. Anytime I wondered why a certain character acted the way they did, something in the story made it make sense. A few twists I didn't see coming.

There is a fair amount of violence and descriptions of wounds. Slavery exists in part of the world, but it's more like indentured servatude with rules to keep people from abusing others. Sexual situations (with some description) and swearing occur. Rape is mentioned but none of the characters encounter it.

I felt the disability representation was handled well. Elenor can walk, but not far without pain and limping. She has mobility aids if she needs them but doesn't get to use them often because it shows weakness in the nobility. Her girlfriend is protective because they are lovers and not because she sees Elenor as incapable.

This is the best book I've read this year! I definitely recommend it. 


  1. Thank you so much for this. It really means a lot that you liked it.

  2. I agree with everything this reviewer said. As a disabled person similar to Eleanor (walk but with pain, sometimes use cane or wheelchair) I really felt not only the external pressures but also the internalized able-ism Eleanor experienced.

    I listened to this novel in the audio book version. The voice actor does an amazing job. If you like audio books I highly recommend that you listen to it. I do, however, want to go back and read the kindle edition.