Series: Dance of Dragons #1
Publisher: Kaitlyn Davis
Date Published: February 13th 2015
Genres: Coming of Age, Dragons, Unicorns & Mythical, Fantasy & Magic, Legends, Myths, Fables, Young Adult
Description: From bestselling author Kaitlyn Davis comes a fantasy adventure perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas, Kristin Cashore, and Tamora Pierce! Told in alternating male and female perspectives, THE SHADOW SOUL has been hailed as "an amazing start to a new series that is going to have people of all ages wanting so much more." (Happy Tails & Tales Reviews) When Jinji's home is destroyed, she is left with nowhere to run and no one to run to--until she meets Rhen, a prince chasing rumors that foreign enemies have landed on his shores. Masquerading as a boy, Jinji joins Rhen with vengeance in her heart. But traveling together doesn't mean trusting one another, and both are keeping a deep secret--magic. Jinji can weave the elements to create master illusions and Rhen can pull burning flames into his flesh. But while they struggle to hide the truth, a shadow lurks in the night. An ancient evil has reawakened, and unbeknownst to them, these two unlikely companions hold the key to its defeat. Because their meeting was not coincidence--it was fate. And their story has played out before, in a long forgotten time, an age of myth that is about to be reborn...
For a book with dragon in the title, A Shadow Soul was significantly lacking in actual dragons. The first brief mention is +190 pages in. The actual dragon doesn’t appear until +320 pages. Of a total 335 pages. A bit of a let down there. Instead, we have Jin and Rhen, searching for information together.
Jin, or rather Jinji, is an “outworlder”. The literal last of her clan. As her entire village is destroyed by a spirit that embodies others and forces them to horrible acts against their will. She spends the majority of the book searching for the spirit which destroyed her village. And feeling survivor’s remorse. Rhen is a “newworlder” and a prince of the realm. He’s also the next king’s spymaster, using his playboy cover to discover any threats against his family. Rhen discovers Jin barely alive. And the two become travel companions. I liked both characters. Jin was believable in her grief. She has the ability to weave images, so disguises herself as a boy. She understands that in no way is a young woman safe in the unknown world she’s facing. She also understands that as much as Rhen is protecting her, she is also there to protect Rhen. She adapts well to all situations, including not only her first visit to an actual city, but her first time on a ship. I was impressed by her perseverance throughout the novel. Rhen has the outward appearance of a flirt and playboy. But instead of sleeping his way through towns, he’s using this cover to search out information. A search that leads him to discover a plot by the neighboring king. He’s loyal to a fault. And also a warrior, leading the charge in one instance in a naval battle.
In addition to A Shadow Soul, I read The Golden Cage (book 0.5 in the series). This novella follows Princess Leena of Ourthuro, the neighboring kingdom. I wasn’t sure of the connection between the two stories until Leena’s guard\love pops up in Shadow Soul. Once that connection was made, I could see where the plot of both stories was headed – to get the three characters (Jin, Rhen, Leena) together, probably to save the world, as all three have “special” elemental powers. Jin is the spirit element; Rhen is fire; and Leena is water.
As the titular dragon doesn’t appear until the end of the novel, I’m interested in seeing what happens in the next book of the series. And hopeful that there will be more actual dragons. While looking at the list of books in the series, I see number of 0.5 novellas. The half novels appear to be Leena’s story, while the whole numbers are Jin and Rhen. I’m looking forward to reading the other books in this series.