Every Dark Shadow

Whispers of Dust & Darkness Book 1

Young Adult - Fantasy - Epic
452 Pages
Reviewed on 12/03/2023
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

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.

Jaqueline Neves

In Every Dark Shadow by Sarah Zimm, readers are plunged into a captivating world where magic is both a gift and a curse. The story follows Ophelia Dannan, an orphaned fugitive whose memories and magical abilities are concealed to protect her from the relentless pursuit by the Gray King of Magus. Guarded by a scholar, a smuggler, and a soldier, Ophelia is shuffled between different lives, each filled with unique challenges that shape her into a resilient and multifaceted character. As rebellion brews and a dark force threatens to seize power, Ophelia embarks on a perilous quest across worlds, unraveling truths about her past and the oppressive monarchy she is destined to confront.

Sarah Zimm's writing in Every Dark Shadow is a testament to her storytelling prowess. The plot unfolds with a perfect balance of intrigue and suspense, keeping readers on the edge of their seats. The pace of the narrative is expertly maintained, allowing for a seamless immersion into the brutal yet beautifully crafted world. The action scenes are vividly depicted, contributing to the richness of the story. I loved that the characters had realistic personality traits, both the good and the bad. Zimm weaves complex themes of oppression, rebellion, and self-discovery, adding layers of depth to the narrative. The book is a masterclass in fantasy writing, delivering a thrilling and emotionally resonant experience that lingers in the reader's mind. Every element, from the well-crafted plot to the compelling characters and thought-provoking themes, contributes to making Every Dark Shadow a must-read for fantasy enthusiasts seeking a gripping and immersive adventure.

Miche Arendse

A tyrant hunts for the one source of magic he desires but that will forever remain out of reach. Every Dark Shadow: Whispers of Dust & Darkness, Book 1 by Sarah Zimm follows Ophelia Dannan and her protectors as they try to keep Ophelia and her magic away from the Gray King. Each time she is handed over to one of her protectors, she must forget the last, but when things go wrong while under the protection of Rune, memories begin to flash and Ophelia learns the truth about her identity. The Gray King presents an unyielding evil that seeks to take everything for himself no matter who is hurt or killed in the process and this in itself sets the tone for the book.

I knew from the cover that Every Dark Shadow by Sarah Zimm would be my kind of book and I was right. I loved every bit of this book and I will be looking out for the next one. I was hooked from the start on seeing the antagonist of the story and what role he would play overall. The importance of protecting Ophelia was emphasized by his early introduction but, at the same time, you can’t help understanding her need for freedom. Zimm set the story up perfectly and followed through with great world-building and pacing in the plot. The characters are all lovable in their unique way and, much like Ophelia, I had a hard time choosing between the three male characters. Overall, I enjoyed this book from start to finish and would highly recommend it to any fantasy lovers.