Cover Image: Kingdom of Shadows and Dust

Kingdom of Shadows and Dust

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Member Reviews

I love fantasy books, this one had good characters and an interesting plot to have me reading it. The romance is there, however, the world-building and character development could´ve been better, the story itself made up for it.
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Ava is a princess who aspires to do more than be relegated to the role of political chess piece. From the moment she's introduced, you understand that she craves something different. Unfortunately, I could not understand her true motivations. Her complaints came across as the discontentment of a spoiled girl rather than passion for life or compassion for her kingdom. Nevertheless, she gets her way and goes on an adventure where she falls in love with Callan, a tunskin or shifter, a race of people she has been taught to believe are beneath her.  

I really wanted to like this story, but ultimately I was underwhelmed. I never became invested in Ava's life or her relationship. I didn't see enough immediate impact of was to feel the character's desperation, and the Shadow King was never fully realized as a villain. KSD is a book with all of the right parts of display, but none of them actually function in the machine. Still, Ficklin shows a lot of potential. I would read her again. 

I received an eARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.
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Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the Arc.

I didn't finish reading this book. I liked the main character but the quick love connection that she had with the love interest was a bit unbelievable. I had trouble imagining the world that the story is set in because there were many aspects of world-building that were lacking. It was just a bit too slow paced and fast paced when it really didn't need to be.
If you like werewolf shifter stories you might actually like this but sadly this one just wasn't for me.
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Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the eArc in exchange for an honest review.

Ava is a Princess who is fed up with being left in the dark in matters of the Kingdom because she was born a female. Due to this Ava is such a strong-willed person she decides that she doesn't want to be kept at the mercy of men and chooses her path which leads her to Callan the shifter (Turnskin in this book) and King Aldin who just happens to rule the Kingdom they're at war with. 

I did struggle with this to start with but I feel it was to do with the actions of the men in Ava's life except for Bridger and her brother.  It was only once Ava chose to follow Bridger that it picked up. 

I enjoyed the world-building and I appreciated the fact that I could pronounce the characters names without a guide that some books like this usually come with. 

I wasn't a huge fan of the ending but I will certainly be looking out for sequels.
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Thank you to netgalley and the publisher for a copy of this book.

So I will start that my opinions are my own and I hope not shared by every reader but on that note I wasn’t a huge fan of the book, the world building was quite lacking and the insta love between the main characters was so fast paced it was utterly unbelievable and made reading a little forced for me.
It felt like too much altogether and quite lacking plot as you knew chapters ahead what would happen.

I did finish the book and it was pleasant enough but I can’t say it was a favourite of the year.
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I would like to thank Netgalley for providing me the eArc of this book in exchange for a honest review. 

I did not finish this book.  For the following reasons: 
- I did not like the book 
- It really seemed like a knock off of From
Blood & Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout (veiled warrior female MC , shape shifting to wolves, warring kingdoms, etc)

I just couldn’t get into the story.
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I was very quickly captured by the plot of this book. It gave off From Blood And Ash vibes and I was all for it. Within the first 30% of the book or so, there had been war, death, romance, and destiny. 

This book a whirlwind of emotions - in that Ava had to face some really hard choices and decisions. There were plots twists here, there and everywhere and at points my review notes are literally me typing in capitals how angry I was at some of the story points.

The last 20% of the book had me gripped as I needed to know what was going to happen. Was I disappointed in the ending? A little. Will I read the next one? HELL YES! 

Although not a five star read for me, I really enjoyed this book and I'm looking forward to being able to read the second one next year. Would recommend if you love The Prison Healer, From Blood And Ash or The Bridge Kingdom. 

Duty or Desire...which one do you pick?
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Wow, I absolutely loved this story.  Yes, there is insta-love but it was done so well! I felt the chemistry and attraction right off between the princess, Ava and the shapeshifter and loved the how they were so attuned with each other.  I laughed, teared up, and swooned over the King Aldin.  I'm so excited to read more about Aldin and knowing his story is not over yet. Great character development and pacing. 5 stars!
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So this didn't live up to all of my expectations but it was still an enjoyable read. I really enjoyed the characters but the worldbuilding was lacking for me . The dialogue was a little choppy and I would have like to see some more banter and more in depth discussions because some of the characters fell a little flat and they had a lot of potential.
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Kingdom of Shadows and Dust, by author Sherry D. Ficklin, is the first installment in what appears to be a new series. Ava is an Ankara princess and the King's only daughter who is forced to hide behind a veil. She has suffered in isolation while dreaming about fighting with her best friend Bridger who has taught her how to fight. Her own father believes her place is with other women, including the Queen, in the Terem because women are more precious and divine than men. 

This is a misogynistic society where women are paraded in front of men who make their choices as to whom they want for their bride's. AKA Bride Show. Ava has been sneaking away for years to be with her friend Yoann who is a magus. Magus unwillingness to save Ava's mother created a huge rift between people's. Ava has tried her best to smooth over the rift but old habits and hurts die hard. After Ava defies her father's orders, and sneaks away to join Bridger's army, she finds herself in harms way.  

Her only chance at salvation is Callan, a mysterious black wolf called Turnskin willing to risk everything by hiding her away among his kind. Turnskin's are people who are able to shift from human to wolf. They were soldiers once until they were betrayed. Ava gradually falls for Callan which, of course, anyone would have seen coming a mile away. Soon though, she is "imprisoned" by Aldrin, the King of a neighboring country who has been at war with Ankara for years. 

However, Aldrin turns out to be a decent fellow, and that's where things get really twisted for me. You can say that this book doesn't contain an instalove. It doesn't. It does however contain a twisted love triangle between Ava, Callan, and Aldrin. While one relationship with help her country stop an war that has costs lots of innocent lives while uniting countries, the other is a fated bond which can't be broken. What do you do? 

One of the more interesting relationships in this entire book is between Ava and her brother Cassian who is the heir to Ankara. Unfortunately, even though it was an overall enjoyable read, the book did not leave me as satisfied or enthusiastic about reading the sequel.
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Thank you NetGalley for the opportunity to read this ARC in exchange for my honest review.  
This book hooked me immediately. I didn't want it to end. I am a sucker for books with "bonded" or "mated" lovers.  The MC is a funny, headstrong, and relatable. Great read!
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I would like to thank Netgalley for providing me the eArc of this book in exchange for a honest review. 

This review is a generic one as I'll use it for the books I am not leaving a review for. 

The reasons I did not leave a review is as follows:
- I did not like the book or couldn't get into because of the writing style, didn't like the plot/setting or MC was annoying. 
- Love triangles, I loathe them. And there is at least one book I won't be reading because of this. 
- Plot was so agonisingly slow. 
- If the approved book is second book in the series it means that I didn't like or dnfed the first one thus won't be reading the second one. 
- Or there was a technical issue and couldn't download the book or it was achieved before I could download. 

And as I like to say life is too short to do things you do not enjoy and since reading books is a for of escapisim I'll hold on to that thought. 

I don't want to disrespect the author or the publishing company. The reason I'm doing it to improve my statistics on this forum and Netgalley does not accept the fact that I won't be leaving a feedback due to dnf.
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If like me, you are a fan of historical fiction/fantasy than this heart-breaking and overwhelmingly epic story is for you!

Great YA arc
Extremely easy read

Starts off as a 4 star and descends into a 1 or 2 star
The writing style is a little clunky and poorly executed in parts
left with more questions than answers
Love stories felt rushed
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In 3 Words: Enjoyable, Underdeveloped, Potential 

Mood It's Good For: When you need an easy fantasy tale 

Favourite Quote: You are not to blame for the prejudice of others. But now that you see it, you must stand against it, wherever you are able

Favourite Scene: Ava and Aldin in the dragon pool 

I really enjoyed the plot and characters in this novel. Ava is a defiant princess determined to rid her kingdom of its sexist traditions. There were a few swoon-worthy males, and the love triangle is not drawn out like in most stories. However, this novel felt more like a draft than a finished piece. There were a few inconsistencies, such as a twist near the end of the book being reversed to wrap up the story. It felt like the story was told rather than shown. The dialogue was used to directly acknowledge the characters' emotions, and the descriptions were lacking. The pacing also felt too quick, like I was getting the bare bones of the story. Kingdom of Shadows and Dust had so much potential, but the writing quality was lacking


Ava's grieving didn't seem realistic. She blamed herself for Bridger's 'death' (which felt cheapened when he turned out to be alive), but she appeared to mostly get on with life without taking the time to properly mourn him. The same happened after her parents' deaths. I guessed that Callan and Ava were mates before the reveal, and there was never any question where Ava's heart belonged after that. I kind of felt bad for Aldin. And whatever's happened, I don't trust Ulmer
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Another great fantasy. The world building was amazing, the writing painted the perfect picture. I found myself getting lost in this world and it did not disappoint.
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Thank you to both net galley and the author for giving me an opportunity to read this e-book. 

Unfortunately for me I did not enjoy the book and struggled to engage with this. However this does not mean it is not for everyone. It is well written and has a good plot but for me it didn’t captivate me.
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Firstly I would like to say thank you to the author, published and NetGalley for the eARC of this book as the synopsis of this book drew me into the book and I am so happy to be accepted to try it out. 

Secondly, Apologies for the late review of this book as I was preoccupied with my degree but I did read this just forget to update the account on here. 

This book has been hyped in my book community for a long time and I was so happy to have the opportunity to read this book for free in exchange for a review. Firstly I loved the pace of this book giving a real and natural feel to the text and I also loved the main character of this book as they were relatable, I loved the meaning behind actions and loved thinking about the reasoning behind actions that occurred in this book. 

Overall, I would rate this book 4 out of 5 stars as I loved it but I feel like it was overhyped which lead to a 4 out of five and not a 5 out of five.
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Interesting story but a bit long and boring at times

While her country is at war, Ava, as a princess, is supposed to remain in the palace, her face hidden behind a veil and her voice silenced. But when her childhood friend manages to bring her with him on the battlefield, everything will change for her. Fortunately, Callan, a strange black wolf will help her save her kingdom from destruction.

I have mixed feelings about this book. The story is interesting, the world well-built and I liked the main plot. But the romance... I didn't vibe with the instant love thingy AT ALL. Don't get me wrong, I usually love mates and all that, but here? We don't even have time to get to know the love interest and neither does Ava which is really confusing. It prevented me from liking him and also her because I could not understand her decisions and choices at all. Overall, the book felt long, and it might have been because the romance was a bit too present and it felt like the story wasn't properly exploited. Some scenes were a bit awkwardly written with a lot of tell and not enough show and some info dumping that was really clumsy at times. However, I really liked the side characters, a lot more than the main characters actually, and I wish they'd been more involved in the story because, well, Ava isn't that likable at all. Despite the fact that she really wants to help her kingdom, I felt like she was too immature, focused on her love life instead of what really mattered. I was confused for a good part of the story and even if I wasn't bored per se, I wasn't as enthralled as I hoped I would be in the end... So for me, it could have been really good, but some mistakes were made and it ended up a bit disappointing.

Would not really recommend, unless you don't mind the confusing romance.

""Just because it's how it's always been done doesn't mean there isn't a better way.""
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I couldn't finish... DNF 

Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for the e-arc. Unfortunately, I couldn't finish. I lost interest quite fast, there is a good basis but I just couldn't enter the story. Some readers will probably like it but it's not for me!
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<i> 💜~ Thank you to the publisher at ~ TrueType Press ~ via NetGalley for providing this eARC in exchange for an honest review ~💜</i>

I enjoyed this book; it was an easy and entertaining read. At first, Ava irritated me, but she grew on me as her character arc unfolded. Her friendship with Bridger was sweet and fun, but still heartbreaking. The magic system, including the Magus, was very interesting but I wish it was explored further. Halfway through, I wasn't expecting that plot twist. I liked Aldin immediately, but something about Callan irked me and felt off about his character. After the halfway mark, I also started to appreciate a character who was a princess, but wasn't whiny, stuck up, or flawless. I did not like the insta love, and I disliked the whole "mates" thing. I personally hated the ending, for the sole reason that Ava shouldn't have picked the person she chose. So I'll be here pretending that the ending is different. I would recommend it to someone who wants a light and easy to read book with decent pacing, but I wouldn't read it again.

<i>**Disclaimer** This is all personal opinion and is in no way intended to harass or offend anyone. All thoughts and opinions are my own. </i>
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