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Review--Shattered Reflection

Title: Shattered Reflection

Series: The Shattered Lands (Book 1)

Author: Madisyn Carlin

Genre: NA Fantasy, Christian Fantasy

Rating: 4/5 stars

Overview: I don’t know too much about Hans Christian Andersen’s classic tale “The Snow Queen,” other than that said Snow Queen is basically the mother of all female villains. I also know that there’s something about shards of glass that corrupt people’s sight. So with that being said, I didn’t know quite what to expect when I jumped into this retelling.

I definitely didn’t expect to enjoy it so very much.

Characters: We have five POV characters in this book, and since it would take too long to go into depth on each of them, I’ll just give the highlights. Layree is sweet yet strong, knowing her faults but not being ruled by them. Loren is equally sweet (though of course in a more masculine way). He’s definitely my favorite! Breac has a fantastic sense of humor, and I definitely appreciate his prowess with a sword. And Nordica… The poor dear! She has such a unique arc, and I loved reading from her perspective.

And then there’s Marcus. Bless him. I can’t say much for fear of spoilers, but… I hope he shows up in the next book!

Content: Two couples emerge by the end of the story. There are a few instances of undetailed kissing (mostly on the forehead). The romances are both super sweet and perfectly clean.

Characters are said to curse, but we don’t hear what they say.

There is a good deal of violence in the story. Two characters are forcibly cut with ice shards on a regular basis. We see these cuttings numerous times, with various degrees of detail. People are enslaved to work in a mine, and many suffer cruel deaths (including children). Characters were branded in the past. While nothing is overly graphic, the violence is unsettling, definitely more suited for mature readers.

Writing: Carlin does a masterful job of weaving this story, juggling multiple POVs with ease. I loved each of the characters, which is a feat! Usually when there’s more than two characters, there’s one whose head I really don’t enjoying being in. Not the case here!

It was sometimes difficult to keep up with the action, though, especially when we would jump several days in the span of a paragraph, or sometimes months between one chapter and the next. I couldn’t quite keep track of where everyone was at a given moment.

And the ending… The ending was too long. The climax happened at about the 75% mark, and the remaining eight or so chapters consisted of a drawn-out resolution. Was it good to see the ends tied up and characters reach some semblance of peace? Absolutely. But could it have been done in a shorter time span? Definitely.

Finally—and this is just a pet peeve of mine that I don’t expect anyone else to share—I found the references to the Bible to be a bit out of place. The characters in this other world have our exact same Bible, with the book of John and the Psalms and Genesis and so forth. It definitely messes with the suspension of disbelief because, like… Does their Bible reference place names? Do these places somehow exist in their world? How long ago was the Bible written in this world? Let me be clear: I loved the Christian message. It’s excellently portrayed, and it definitely belongs in the story. But… maybe have a different name for biblical books? But again, just a pet peeve of mine.

Summary: This book was a pleasant surprise. I quickly fell in love with all the characters (especially Loren), and the ending left me eager for Book 2. I highly recommend this to mature readers aged 16+.

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Title: This Gray Canvas Author: Jaiden Phillips Genre: Middle Grade/Contemporary Rating: 4/5 stars FTC Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.


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