Band of Shadows by H.P. Waitt

Band of Shadows: The Scarlet Onyx SagaBand of Shadows: The Scarlet Onyx Saga by H.P. Waitt

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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I received a copy of this book from the publisher, BookBaby, and the author via netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Actual rating of 3.75

Scarlet has been in the foster system her whole life. She’s been shunted from house to house and finally she’s in one that’s good. She lives with a group of other foster children, and for the most part, life is good, at seventeen she finally feels like she’s been placed in a good house, just for her to be out on her own in less than a year. After weeks and weeks of disrupted sleep due to a recurring dream about a strange door, Scarlet, along with her best friend (and fellow foster child) Jensen are on their way to a sports game, only for Scarlet to find the door. What happens next is as amazing as it is unbelievable. The next day Scarlet and Jensen go back to the door, when Jensen has no luck in making it budge, Scarlet gives it a try, and is unceremoniously dumped onto the greenest, most lush grass she has ever had the pleasure of seeing. In no time at all she is separated from Jensen, finding out that she is a Faye who has powers, and that this is a world on the brink of war against Iladwyn and the band of shadows. You know, all in a day’s work and all that. Will Scarlet be able to adjust to this life of magic and wonder? And who is Iladwyn?

The premise of this book had me hitting request as fast as my little fingers would let me. A girl growing up in foster care, who at seventeen, finds out that she’s magical. SIGN. ME. UP! I had a bit of a problem with the pacing at the beginning of this book though. I actually considered DNFing it a few times because it just wasn’t moving, but I have a strict policy on ARCs where I don’t like to DNF unless I just cannot do it. Luckily this story kept me hooked with the promise of so much more that I stuck with it, and I’m super glad that I did. The beginning of the story is all about setting up how regular Scarlet is, that’s what I took from it anyway. It literally just goes through her normal day to day activities, and her not really doing anything but living. So I guess you could put the first quarter of the book (roughly) down to a slice of life story about a foster child who’s not far from leaving the system. I don’t mind slice of life, if I’m honest, I’m quite a sucker for a slice of life anime. This one just felt a bit boring in the beginning for me. So I implore you, if you are finding that it’s a bit stagnant and you’re getting bored, STICK WITH IT. I promise you that the story picks up and becomes incredibly engaging.

I like the character of Scarlet. She’s likeable and doing her best to deal with this unbelievable circumstance that she finds herself in. I love that she was questioning the reality of it all. It’s always hard to get behind a character who is thrown into this totally unbelievable situation and responds with “oh okay, this is a thing, cool”. I want a little bit of believability, in my stories and characters, no matter the genre. If something is out of the ordinary, I want my character to question it, to be a bit weary. I was really liking the character of Jensen too, but to my slight disappointment, we leave him in the beginning of the book and we don’t really come back to him bar the epilogue, so I’m really hoping that Waitt revisits his character in the books to come, because I want to know more about Jensen and how he is really dealing with Scarlet’s disappearance. I want him to have an active as possible role in this story.

The other Faye that we meet in Avalon are all written really well, and I enjoyed every single one of them, even the douchebag characters, that’s how well they are written. I especially like how Stiles, Ryker, Lena and Morgana are written. I also have an incredible soft spot for Declan and I can’t wait to see where his story goes. I absolutely love that Morgana is written in such a way that we question her, I thought that was brilliant.

I loved the little bits and pieces that really made up Avalon. I absolutely ADORED the anigma game. WHAT A BLOODY FANTASTIC IDEA!! I wish anigma was real because I would SO be a part of that. I’d want to be placed on the purple team, because, you know, cool characters and all. The magic system was explained beautifully and there is no difficulty in understanding it whatsoever. I love that idea that each Faye gets two powers – one from each parent and then their own power as well. It really is such an interesting aspect of this story and I loved finding out each and every person’s powers.

The overall story was enjoyable, and once it got going, was a definite page turner for me. I’m really interested in the revelation of Iladwyn, I want to know more about Morgana, yay for Ryker, and I’m really keen to see where this story goes. As I said, I’m really hoping for Jensen to end up back in the story with a more active role because I really liked his character. The only reason I rated this down was because of how much I was struggling with the pacing in the beginning. I have no doubt that this story is just going to keep getting better and better, and I cannot WAIT to get my hands on it.

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