Between Shadow and Flame

Book 1 of the Guthanderkaz Series

Young Adult - Horror
207 Pages
Reviewed on 04/08/2023
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Melanie Kennedy for Readers' Favorite

Between Shadow and Flame is Book 1 of the Guthanderkaz series by C. T. Bryce. David Rose appears to be your typical 17-year-old teenager, forced to make friends whenever his mom decides to pack their bags and move. Plagued by dreams and memories of living in a beautiful old castle with his mother, father, and brother, David feels something is drastically missing from his life. His eagle eyes spot a mysterious letter his mother receives in the post one day, and he sets out on a web search that will change his life forever. As David’s family and past are revealed, he and his mother are whisked away to the magical kingdom of Fyrnlendh. But for a typical teenager, the strict rules and social customs of the autocracy keep him at constant odds with those around him. It certainly doesn’t help that those he loves the most are keeping secrets from him. Luckily David is resourceful and won’t stop until he gets to the bottom of what makes Fyrnlendh and himself unique.

I loved Between Shadow and Flame. The universe C.T. Bryce builds is beautifully gothic. Everything from the castle to the Fyrnlendh monarchy is shrouded in mystery and draws you in with a mysterious power. David is a relatively outspoken and stubborn teenager compared to myself at that age, but that makes him such a compelling character. The book felt spooky and magical, and I thoroughly enjoyed each chapter. As this is only Book 1 in the Guthanderkaz series, I can’t wait to discover what David will do next.

K.C. Finn

Between Shadow and Flame combines the themes of dark fantasy, adventure, and coming-of-age. It forms the first novel of the Guthanderkaz Series. It is intended for the mature end of the young adult reading audience owing to its dark themes, explicit language, and dark fantasy violence. Penned by C. T. Bryce, the tale follows the turmoil of protagonist David Rose, a young man who has detached himself from all but the shadowy memories of a brother he hasn’t seen since childhood. When he discovers his mother trying to sever any connection to the past, David begins an ominous quest to rediscover his family and his sense of self in the process.

C. T. Bryce has penned a compelling dark fantasy narrative that delivers everything that a young adult audience expects from a novel. The pace of the work is suitably speedy, taking us through atmospheric scenes of Gothic splendor and shadowy, magical vistas that come to life in the reader’s mind. This cinematic quality also extends to the dialogue and action presentation. Scenes play out with smooth conversation, and the author’s quick wit shines through to undercut some of the novel’s heavier themes. There are contemplative moments too, and it was emotive and intriguing to see David’s initially cold and aloof attitude slowly breaking away as he becomes increasingly more torn up about the family he never really knew. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Between Shadow and Flame as a fantastic opening to an intense dark fantasy series, and I can’t wait to see what comes next.

Essien Asian

David and his mother have lived a nomadic existence for quite some time, never staying long enough in a particular location to develop lasting relationships with their neighbors. David is the one who is most affected by this as his mother’s excuses for protecting him begin to wear thin. One day he stumbles upon the burned remnants of a letter supposedly from his father. As his mother is reluctant to re-establish contact with him, David takes it upon himself to find the man who fathered him and the family he vaguely remembers that he left behind when they fled the mysterious place that is Fyrnlendh. Some secrets are best left undisturbed as he will soon discover in C.T. Bryce’s Between Shadow and Flame: Book 1 of the Guthanderkaz Series (Guthanderaz).

Between Shadow and Flame is an evenly balanced novel by C.T. Bryce. The storyline is appropriately heavy on drama for a story with a mystery component that has the potential to tease the senses of the inquisitive reader. The characters are impressive in their makeup with the cultural differences between David and his Fyrnlendh family made even more striking by some innovative storytelling on the part of Bryce. The conversations between the characters are entertaining and I took an instant liking to Ms. Rigo’s old-school approach to discipline and education. Despite its somewhat scary aspect, the book would appeal equally to fantasy and drama genre followers with its deep conversations and interesting subplots concerning romance and acceptance. An impressive novel that showcases the immense potential of the Guthanderkaz series.

Emma Megan

Between Shadow and Flame by C. T. Bryce is the first installment in the Guthanderkaz series. David Rose is seven years old when he and his mother run away from the castle they have lived in with his father and brother. Even though ten years have passed since then, his mother still hasn't told him why they left their family. But David decides to figure it out as he is sick of constantly moving from place to place, changing schools and friends. Thus, he discovers that his father's name is Viktor Guthanderkaz and that he is the head of some sort of royal family. David goes to the Fyrnlendh Embassy to learn more about his father. But, once reunited with his family, David slowly starts to understand what his mother wants to protect him from.

Between Shadow and Flame by C. T. Bryce is a sweeping debut saga. It's about dangerous secrets, a royal family, powerful magic, wizards, obedience, nepotism, and perpetuating the same cycles of pain. Bryce creates an intriguing and unique magical universe that was easy for me to become immersed in. It is deeply engaging to read about the protagonist's struggles, with a world he both loves and hates and the power he possesses. This enthralling young adult story with self-centered characters, a dangerous place, and a suspenseful plot is imbued with a relentless sense of peril and mystery. The moral complexity of family relationships and unexpected twists make it memorable. Fans of fantasy and gothic fiction can let themselves be carried away in this magical universe.

Natalie Soine

Between Shadow and Flame by C.T. Bryce tells the story of David Rose, who enjoyed a fairy-tale childhood in a castle with his parents and brother, Basil. At the age of seven, David and his mother, Emily, left the family and were on the run but from what, David had no idea. After ten years, the young boy eventually starts doing his own research into his family background and finds information about his father, Lord Viktor Guthanderkaz, born in Fyrnlendh. Against his mother’s wishes, David travels to Fyrnlendh. Shortly after his arrival, David is surprised to learn that he has a half-sister, Adela, the daughter of Margaret. A strict ruler-wielding tutor, Miss Rigo, is assigned to David for his lessons. David rebels, skips class, and goes to investigate his surroundings, only to discover who, or what, he really is and why he and his mother had to leave the castle.

Between Shadow and Flame is beautifully written, C.T. Bryce certainly has a way with words and has created a masterpiece. The castle, surrounding areas, and characters are all described perfectly, creating a clear picture of the environment and all the people involved in David’s life. I especially enjoyed the many twists, turns, and surprises throughout the story – there is never a dull moment. I would recommend this book to any person who enjoys an adventure story told by the main character. I loved this book! Hopefully, a sequel will follow shortly. I’m eager to read more and find out what the future holds for this rebellious young man.