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Shadow Run by AdriAnne Strickland and Michael Miller ⇉ A Fascinating and Beautifully Complex New World + #Giveaway!!

Thursday, March 23, 2017
I love books that feature political intrigue because of the potential for complex world building. The fact that much this novel takes place in space is an added bonus.


WHAT I LIKED


Fast-Paced, Thrilling Action
Shadow Run is a fast-paced, action-packed read filled with suspense and intrigue. As soon as you think the characters are safe, you can expect something else to happen.

I love the detail and thought put into the action scenes. I could see the events play out before me like a movie. Time and time again, I found myself wishing that this book was on the big screen, so I could enjoy it alongside friends and family. That said, nothing can replace a good book and the freedom to envision the world yourself.

Complex Characters
All the members of the Kaitan Heritage (Qole's ship) carry their own baggage. They have pasts that they wish to keep hidden. The characters on the ship are all interesting in their own right; I wish that more time was spent developing them. (Which can be hard in a book with two MC's narrating.) As this is a first book in a series, hopefully we'll have more time to get to know them!

World Building You Can See and Hear
I appreciate the time that Strickland and Miller have spent developing the world. Longtime readers of the blog know my deep love for books with carefully crafted world. I can tell that the authors know their world. It's apparent in details that bring the environment to life, in the distinction of the characters' dress, and in the dialogue (one of the more difficult elements to nail).

Nev and Qole will switch back into familiar language when they're emotional, and this language makes them sound like entirely different people. I especially enjoyed seeing Nev lapse into formal speech when he's nervous. It's a sharp contrast to Qole's rougher, more common speech and highlights the disparity in their backgrounds.

Political Intricacies
Whenever politics come into play, I look for power struggles, hidden agendas, and unresolved conflicts. While it was considerably lacking compared to the action sequences, the political intricacies of Shadow Run have more depth compared to most YA novels I've read. We get a good look at the evil hiding underneath the glamor of the court. And while it's pretty predictable that there is corruption underlying the court, we do get to see some good (which I wish had more of a chance to shine even if only through flashbacks via Nev).

While the political intricacies ended up being predictable, there are complications that make you feel for the different parties involved (though some more than others). I hope to see the complexities further developed in later books. My especial hope is that there the villainous figures in this book have a chance to show the potential good that is in them.

Star Wars Vibe

Destructor blades. Plasma guns. A ship in space. Being chased by destructor ships . . . among other things I shall not name because spoilers.

This wasn't an exact replica of Star Wars (because Star Wars is Star Wars and Shadow Run is Shadow Run), but there were countless moments that did have me comparing this to the world of Star Wars. Another reason why I would love to see this novel on the big screen.



WHAT I DISLIKED


Fast-Paced Romance
I can understand an early physical attraction. What's concerning is the rapidity with which Nev and Qole find themselves basing important decisions on their attraction to the other party and the fact that they want to trust the other. For example, we later learn that Qole pretty much let Nev on the ship against the advice of trusted crew members because she found him attractive (the sidenote being that her brother had met him and recommended him—which is her best argument and should have come first).

Qole and Nev are both leaders. They're in positions where their actions influence many lives; they should not be letting their emotions influence their decisions. Sure, Qole is seventeen and Nev seems to be in his early twenties. They're hormonal teenagers in our world. In their world, however, they've been adults for a long time.

While I wanted to support the two, their relationship moved much too quickly and even overshadowed some of the other elements of the plot. Given that this is a series, there is plenty of time for the two to actually get to know each other and let their romance grow alongside their friendship. It would have been better to tone down the romance in this first novel.

Side Characters on the Side
The crew of the Katain Heritage is filled with likable characters. I would have liked to see more of them, but they fall on the wayside after Qole's POV is introduced. This was disappointing as I had enjoyed seeing Nev and Arjan interact in the first chapter and was hoping to see more of the supporting cast.

Hopefully they have more of a chance to shine in the next book. (As well as some of the characters with whom they interact. We never really got to see much of Nev's people.)

First-Person Alternating POVs
Longtime readers of the blog know that I'm not a fan of first-person alternating POVs. It makes it difficult to track who is speaking and is just overall confusing. There were times in Shadow Run when I lost track of whose chapter it was because of the alternating first-person narration.



FINAL THOUGHTS


Despite my complaints with the novel, this is definitely a novel that was hard to put down. Strickland and Miller are well-versed in keeping a plot moving forward through. I felt like I had a movie playing in my head as I was reading. I wouldn't recommend this one to younger readers because of the mature content (see notes below), but otherwise if you're a fan of space adventures, political intrigue, high-packed action sequences, and magic-like powers, then you'll enjoy this one.

In fact, if you live in the continental USA, then you're eligible to win a copy of Shadow Run today on the blog! For giveaway details, keep scrolling down.

★★★☆☆



Nev has just joined the crew of the starship Kaitan Heritage as the cargo loader. His captain, Qole, is the youngest-ever person to command her own ship, but she brooks no argument from her crew of orphans, fugitives, and con men. Nev can’t resist her, even if her ship is an antique.

As for Nev, he’s a prince, in hiding on the ship. He believes Qole holds the key to changing galactic civilization, and when her cooperation proves difficult to obtain, Nev resolves to get her to his home planet by any means necessary.

But before they know it, a rival royal family is after Qole too, and they’re more interested in stealing her abilities than in keeping her alive.

Nev’s mission to manipulate Qole becomes one to save her, and to survive, she’ll have to trust her would-be kidnapper. He may be royalty, but Qole is discovering a deep reservoir of power—and stars have mercy on whoever tries to hurt her ship or her crew.




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CHAT WITH ME


If you were on a space adventure, which fictional character would you add to your crew and why? (Feel free to name one from any book, but below are some choices you can pick from this novel.)

  • Nev: a handsome prince from an old influential family (whose talents shall remain hidden for now)
  • Qole: talented young ship pilot with a Shadow ability she considers a curse
  • Basra: androgynous figure with a mysterious past; a whiz at negotiating trades
  • Arjan: older brother to Qole, talented pilot in his own right but has his own fears
  • Telu: gifted hacker
  • Eton: a bodyguard; talented fighter and cook with an arsenal of weapons


Publication Info
  • Shadow Run by AdriAnne Strickland and Michael Miller
  • Published by Delacorte Press
  • On March 21, 2017
  • Genres: Contemporary
  • Pages: 400 Pages
  • Format: Hardcover
Series: Kaitan Chronicles
  • Shadow Run
  • Untitled
Content
  • Some language (much replaced with words specific to the world)
  • Making out, hints at sexual relations (clandestine affairs that took place in the past for some characters)
  • Homo-erotic scenes (primarily because of Basra's androgynous character; because no one is sure of Basra's gender, Basra is referred to as a her)
  • Torture (involving visible guts)
  • Violence (lots of blood, dismemberment, and death)

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this novel from the publisher. All thoughts expressed are my personal honest opinions.



GIVEAWAY


Thanks to the publisher, I have a copy of Shadow Run to give away to one lucky winner on the continental USA! To enter, follow the directions in the form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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