Shadows in the Wind

Fiction - Fantasy - Urban
240 Pages
Reviewed on 08/24/2022
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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Praesidium is a work of fiction in the adventure subgenre and serves as the opening installment of the Shadows in the Wind series. It is suitable for the general reading audience and was penned by author McKinley Aspen. The book follows college graduate Kathryn Bek as she takes an intelligence job in New York which quickly reveals itself to be something above and beyond her expectations. Thrown into a complex web of intrigue and magic, Kathryn finds herself on a globe-trotting adventure to save the world from the sinister plotting of the Paolucci crime family in a mission that will force her to confront her own murky past in order to save the future.

The characters and story of this book waste no time whatsoever in sinking their hooks deep into readers and keeping them on the edge of their seats as Kathryn delves deeper and deeper into the dangerous and fantastical world that awaits her. Author McKinley Aspen is a deft and clever storyteller, constantly finding new twists and turns to keep the narrative fresh with page after page as the lore designed reveals itself to character and reader alike. I was impressed by how narratively complete the events of the book were, telling a full and satisfying story whilst effectively setting the stage for a larger series to follow. Overall, Praesidium is an excellent adventure that creates a colorful cast of characters and pits them against a deep conspiracy in a story that will keep you on the edge of your seat right from the word go. I’m excited for the future of the series and I cannot recommend this book enough.

Pikasho Deka

Praesidium is the first book of the Shadows in the Wind Series by McKinley Aspen. Barely out of college, Kathryn Bek finds herself hired by a man named Raphael Landy, senior manager at HGS -- a supernatural agency that is duty-bound to help people all over the world. Kathryn is assigned to a new team whose first mission is to investigate a dangerous human trafficking ring, much to the chagrin of her boyfriend, Scott Weston. As Kathryn and her team members embark on further quests, she begins to master her healing powers and learns of her father's legacy at HGS. Meanwhile, Scott discovers powers of his own and joins the organization. But now, Kathryn will soon learn the sacrifices needed to save the world while a familiar face from the past comes back to haunt her present.

If stories featuring superheroes, mystery, and magic are your forte, you will absolutely love Praesidium. Author McKinley Aspen wastes no time dropping the reader into the story and, with a fast-flowing narrative, keeps them hooked until the end. Unlike most secret organizations in novels, FGS is working toward helping people and bringing hope to the world, employing humans with supernatural abilities, each unique to them. The characters are well-developed, and a couple of them even have fleshed-out backstories that give agency to their actions and motives. Kathryn's relationship with Scott is intense, making for some dramatic moments that are compelling to read. Overall, this is a book for readers who enjoy superhero stories or urban fantasy novels in general.

Maria Victoria Beltran

Praesidium (Shadows in the Wind) by McKinley Aspen is the first installment in an action-packed adventure series. The story unravels in 1969 when as a little girl Kathryn was about to celebrate her birthday, which was also the day when her dad disappeared under mysterious circumstances. Now in her last year in college, studying business administration with a minor in marketing, she attends a job fair hoping to find work with a team that will accept her for who she is. She meets a tall, slender man, who surprisingly offers her unusual but tempting employment. The job is to be part of a four-member team for special projects based in New York. Awaiting her is a world of mystery, murder, and magic where her past will catch up with her.

It's easy to get wrapped up in McKinley Aspen's Praesidium (Shadows in the Wind). The first chapter immediately creates a feeling of suspense with a hint that things may not be as they seem. The main protagonists are interesting and well developed as they embark on an adventure into the unknown and face danger and excitement. I liked the pacing of the storyline as it determines the mood and gives the reader time to connect to the characters and the events occurring around them. You can also expect surprises along the way just when you think you have already figured out the plot. This is a detective story with a healthy amount of magic and mystery, and it is an engaging read.

Essien Asian

The forces of good and evil battle for supremacy in McKinley Aspen's new novel titled Praesidium (Shadows In The Wind). Kathryn Bek is job hunting when she is offered a position with the Hope and Global Support group. With no idea about the company but a pay package too generous to turn down, she accepts wholeheartedly and is immediately thrown headfirst into a world of smoke and mirrors. She will learn that not every problem is resolved by dialing the helpline. Secrets will be revealed and the bonds that bind her heart will be sorely tested. Will she be able to prove herself worthy of her new position and who is the mystery lady in black that keeps showing up at her assignments?

Praesidium (Shadows In The Wind) by McKinley Aspen is a curious blend of science fiction and the paranormal. The storyline did not immediately strike me as exciting but it left enough clues to pique my interest. The action sequences are well thought out and the interaction between the characters builds on the mystery in a sequential manner that made me hungry to get to the end where the answers to my questions lay. The characters are well fleshed out and their individual origin stories are solid in every sense of the word. The assignment where the team ends up snooping around the Finnish royal court stood out for me when it came to attention to detail. This is an interesting novel, packing enough punch to qualify as a wholesome dose of entertaining reading.

Keith Mbuya

Kathryn Bek was just fresh out of college in New Haven when she received a well-paying job offer from an organization called HGS based in New York. Kathryn joins three more recruits in New York and learns that HGS is a shadow organization of people with special abilities committed to fighting crime and maintaining peace around the world. Having been brought up as a normal kid, Kathryn had no idea what her special abilities were or whether she had any. The team is exposed to a series of tasks that haul them into a world of abductions, murder, and human and drug trafficking, − all controlled by the Paolucci crime family − as they slowly discover their superpowers. Will they be able to stop the evil from the well-connected and dangerous Paolucci family? It turns out HGS may have all the answers about Kathryn’s past and family. What will she uncover about all these? Find out in McKinley Aspen’s Praesidium (Shadows in the Wind).

Enthusiasts of crime mystery novels with a touch of the supernatural and action will find McKinley Aspen’s Praesidium (Shadows in the Wind) an interesting read. Aspen gives his narration by digging between the present and the past, maintaining a subtle overlooking tone. He unfolds the plot of his storyline through short and twisted sentences. His depictions of his scenes and characters are vivid, adding color to my imagination. Aspen brings out the character traits of his cast, highlighting their emotions through his emotionally loaded sentences and introspection. This made it easy for me to connect with the characters and experience their unique discovery journeys together with them. Kathryn is an intelligent, unique, strong, and adventurous character. Praesidium is the first installment of Aspen’s Shadows in the wind series.