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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
Every Dark Shadow is a work of fiction in the fantasy, adventure, and action subgenres, and is the opening novel of the Whispers of Dust and Darkness series. It is intended for young adult readers but does contain elements of violence, some dark themes, and strong language. Penned by author Sarah Zimm, this captivating tale immerses readers in a world where magic, mystery, and rebellion collide. Ophelia Dannan, an orphan with hidden powers, is kept in the mortal world, her memories sealed away from the Gray King of Magus. A scholar, a smuggler, and a soldier become her protectors, each guiding her with different perspectives and a unique approach to shielding Ophelia. Rune introduces her to idyllic farmsteads, Falcon teaches street survival, and Hart guards her most intensely of all. Ophelia's perilous quest becomes a compelling journey of self-discovery, magic, and rebellion against a tyrannical regime.
Author Sarah Zimm's narrative unfolds like a captivating puzzle, revealing layers of Ophelia's past and the impending darkness threatening her. One of the novel's major strengths lies in its intricate world-building, as the story seamlessly weaves between realms, offering glimpses of a kingdom in turmoil. The level of atmosphere and detail is immense, with new dark vistas emerging at every turn and a real sense of how the characters’ attitudes are shaped by the culture and challenges of the world they inhabit. The well-developed characters are an asset in themselves, and I found myself especially drawn to Falcon’s enigmatic ways. The dialogue is superb, offering slick exchanges, humor that lightens even the darkest moments, and a smooth device for plot exposition to keep YA audiences from switching off. Overall, I would certainly recommend Every Dark Shadow as a masterful blend of fantasy and adventure, keeping readers on the edge of their seats with its suspenseful plot and well-crafted characters. I can’t wait to read more from this author and series.