Sisters of Shadow and Light (Sisters of Shadow and Light #1) by Sara B. Larson
ARC provided by the publisher through Edelweiss for a fair review.
Publish date: November 5, 2019
Zurha and Inara are confined to their citadel home by a magical hedge, trapped in their own type of prison. Zuhra wants nothing more than to help her sister break free from the roar inside her head. A roar that only subsides when she uses magic, and only then is she lucid enough to interact with her beloved sister. It’s the same day in and day out as Zuhra prepares for a man that will come marry her, though she doesn’t think he exists. Until one day, the hedge lets someone through. And not just anyone, someone who knows about her and her sister’s Paladin heritage that her mother wont let her learn about. Knowledge that just might be able to help Inara.
The first part wasn’t exactly slow. It had this way of sucking me in with the description of the sisters and how they lived. With the perfect amount of purple prose I was able to really get a dreary vibe that gave me the feel of a Tim Burton setting for the life they lived. Slightly dark, but still a little fairy tale whimsical. What the sisters suffer also helped build the atmosphere that I think was intended to set up their relationship with each other, their mother, and their life in general. If you can make it through the first 30% of character building and the small info dump (it was all interesting to me, so I didn’t find it boring at all), then buckle up, because at point the story itself shifts and gets a whole lot more exciting. Like all that was building up has now been thrown into your face. Initiate repeated frustration of a chapter ending RIGHT as a bomb is dropped. Flip to the next chapter, and BACK to the other POV. By the end, I was fully invested into the characters and am eager for the next book.
The World Building
At first we get some slow world building as she learns about her heritage, and even though there are essentially 2 worlds to be described, I didn’t feel like the whole book was just info dumping all this history on me. As we got to know the characters we got to know what limitations they’ve had around them. And as the story progressed the world building seamlessly expanded. In a ocean of fae books, it was a relief to have a new YA fantasy bring in paladins. There are only 2 other books that I’ve read with paladins and that’s Witchlands series by Susan Dennard and Rebel Belle (which I thought was super cute, and need to read the rest of the series) by Rachel Hawkins. I am happy to add this to it. Aside from a world through a portal, there are these magical peoples (the paladins) who are fighting off creatures while riding around on some gryphons. Move over dragons, make some room for gryphons. (JK, I still really love dragons)
The two main characters are obviously the sisters Zuhra and Inara. What I love about them both is that they equally have so much love for the other. They have limited time with each other and it is the sweetest thing how they have each other as a beacon of light and how much they cherish that time.
“My skin was whole, my body was healed, but no power in the world could mend the serrated edges of the unseen wound within me, the hole that was so big I didn’t know how I could function with it inside me, how I could ever live with her missing from my life.”
Their bond was what really drove this story for me. It’s not the only book that has had great sibling love. But their’s was so desperate it was almost visceral.
Jaws of Love. – Love Me Like I’m Gone