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Reviewed by Stephanie Chapman for Readers' Favorite
Shadows Under the Shade: Elysia Dane by Wil Chan is the second in the series and officially introduces Elysia. An orphan of war, Lord Gray has brought her back to the Greylands. Elysia trains to be a warrior in the Academy, but she has difficulty until she notices a captured Nimerian. She befriends Faarnu and he agrees to teach her how to fight with “butterfly blades.” When Faarnu is killed and Elysia is severely injured, she becomes filled with hate. She also learns that fire can heal her physically. Years pass and Elysia is entrusted to take Princess Isabella home. Elysia becomes obsessed with Isabella and has romantic feelings toward her, but refrains from acting on them. As the pair travels, they join a caravan and face multiple obstacles that endanger Isabella’s life and Elysia’s sanity.
Wil Chan alternated Elysia’s past and present in this fantasy novel in vivid detail. Elysia’s violent upbringing drives her to succeed. I disliked Isabella’s character, especially how judgmental she was when Elysia killed anyone. I felt Elysia was responsible for several other deaths by making choices fueled by either anger or obsession. I had a soft spot for Tomas and Jarrod because of their loyalty. The emotional turmoil is palpable throughout the book. I believe that Elysia’s motivation is entirely based on revenge. However, as an adult, she tries to assume the role of a protector. I could envision every moment of the fight scenes and the supporting characters. The story drew me in, and I didn’t want to take a break. The ending lends itself to a sequel. Shadows Under the Shade: Elysia Dane is the perfect book for readers who enjoy strong heroines in fantasy medieval fighting settings.