Cover Image: The Sun and Its Shade

The Sun and Its Shade

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DNF. I did not like book one very much but thought I would give book 2 a chance. I thought since this series was picked up by a publisher that maybe the editing would be better. No. I won't be continuing the books. 
*thank you to netgalley for an arc.
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I'm always a bit torn asunder about how to rate CJ Pipers books and especially her series about Nox and Amaris. So I'll start with what this book and this series in particular has: 

𝐑𝐞𝐚𝐝 𝐢𝐟 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐥𝐢𝐤𝐞
❀ elaborate descriptions of the world
❀ emotional turmoil that isn't easy peasy asap resolved
❀ amazing bi/pan queer rep
❀ multiple storylines that create an intricate tapestry in the end
❀ heavily mythology inspired (incubi, fae etc)

Okay, now let's get to the juicy parts (long review incoming, see final thoughts & summary in the last paragraph).

One of the strengths (and for me a weakness) are the elaborate descriptions of the world. Beautifully written, they create an immersive picture to fall into. Unfortunately, for me, I have trouble keeping my mind straight when too much goes on, so when the description is finally over, I oftentimes found myself thinking "pretty, but what happened now again?" and jumping back. But this is a personal problem which I also experienced with Song of Ice and Fire and Tolkien's works. 

On the note of "keeping my thoughts together" another thing which might be critical to some folks is that the book has lots (and oooh boy, I mean LOTS) of different story strings that sometimes happen at the same time. It can be confusing and disheartening if you can't keep your focus. I like to compare it to the first season of Game of Thrones when we had all these different little adventures going on that met at some point. Think of it like this. Can be good, can be bad, I liked it but it was challenging. 

Next; the queer rep. And this is a definitive plus for me. Oftentimes, I see queer books that while having bi or pan characters, feature mostly (if not exclusively) gay relationships, and I get that. Especially for bi characters it is often about the sexual awakening to being bi or pan. But we shouldn't discredit straight bi/pan reelationships! And this is what Sun and its shade does right. Of course this is still a sapphic story because it is about Nox and Amaris, but love isn't that easy, is it? Especially the emotional portrayel of being a bisexual woman was excellent in Sun and its shade. As was the spice *smirk*.

Overall, this book felt similar to Night and its moon regarding the reading flow and storytelling, but with greater queer rep and emotionality, and good spice both ways. It called out racism, taught trust, and redefined love. The characters are flawed (but who's perfect anyway, this just makes it realistic), and authentic. Ultimately, this book and its characters call for the reader to question societal norms in lue of being authentic and true to themselves and their ideals.
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For one thing, I absolutely love the cover. I was so excited to jump back into the world the Piper CJ has created and see where the story has gone. This is another hit for me, beautifully written with some lovely imagery. Can't wait for the rest to come.
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Piper CJ is a brilliant, story telling goddess. Second in a series, this one continues to story of Nox and Amaris and their journey back to each other. While every word is magic, the moments we have between the two protagonists is absolutely electrifying. The series is on an absolutely unheard of rapid release schedule, so I cannot recommend enough to just pick up this one on the short wait for the next one. You won't be sorry!
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'The Sun and Its Shade' is a book that unfortunately falls short of its potential. There have been some improvements on the first one, however my criticism of the first book remains the same. The ideas are interesting, and I feel that the premise of the novel has potential, but it is let down by an unstructured plot, poor character development, and not enough editing of the prose style.

The writing style is overwritten, with overuse of synonyms and ineffective repetition that detracts from the story. While there are some beautiful descriptions, they are often complicated by vocabulary choice and word order. There are many very long sentences describing a scene/feeling, and then this same idea is repeated sometimes up to three times in different ways in the following sentences. An author should be able to describe the same idea without ineffective repetition, and editing should work on combining these repeated ideas into a more powerful sentence. That being said, I, and I'm sure many other reviewers, enjoy sensory descriptions in prose, and the author has the potential to do this really effectively after a more rigorous editing process.

Although the novel continues soon after the end of the first book, a recap in the introduction would have been helpful for readers. The two main characters, Nox and Amaris, are separated and both learn more about their respective pasts before they met at the orphanage. Unfortunately, the conflict between them and other characters is weak and juvenile, making the tension between them ineffective. As in the previous book, it is frustrating that Amaris does not think about Nox often and is not shown to be desperate for to be reunited. It is unfortunate that this happens: it cheapens Nox's feelings for Amaris, makes Amaris seem cold, and doesn't fit the advertising that we are reading about a great love story. Without going into spoilers, Nox's backstory doesn't make sense - or at least fits into Millicent's actions in the previous novel. 

I must commend the author for improving the engagement with folklore and mythology in the second novel. However, there is a patchwork application of these elements that fails to establish a cohesive understanding of the world's magic and religion. Having multiple systems mixed together raises a lot of questions that the narrative fails to answer, making it hard to understand the in-world religion. Ideally, these important structural elements of the world should have been established before the second half of the second book, giving the reader enough information to get a more cohesive understanding of the world's magic and religion. This would have made the revelation about Nox and Amaris' heritage more effective. Instead, the reader has to learn about the religion and origin story alongside Nox and Amaris' own stories. 

In conclusion, while 'The Sun and Its Shade' has promise, it never quite seems to reach its full potential. The ideas are vague and could benefit from solid planning that would establish important parts of the world up front. The character motivation should be clearer, which would improve the development arcs and hopefully create more realistic conflict between characters. I was also disappointed in continued instances of poor behaviour from the author's fans harassing reviewers and the author's delayed response. I do feel that the author has the capability to write a great product, but it takes time and a rigorous editing process for any writer to hone their craft. I hope the author puts in the same time and work in the future.
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I cannot believe this book. What a rollercoaster of emotions this was. Piper is an excellent writer in making you wish for things you actually don’t really want or need. But gosh, my heart got broken multiple times. 
This book was everything I wanted the sequel to be - it was waaaaay better than book one, and I loved book one!!!!
There were a few minor point for me, but I love reading these epic fantasy tales. However much I love the smut sometimes, it’s very refreshing to read a story that’s about adventure rather than the intimacy. It was perfectly balanced. 
The plot it amazing and the further along you get the better and more put together it becomes?!?! Like how? I thought I had my life figured out but I clearly didn’t. Someone please give me the sequel.
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Thanks to NetGalley for the advanced digital copy! It was a really fun story! The characters were amazing and it was enjoyable to read throughout!
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thank you to netgalley for the advanced reading copy of the sun and its shade by piper cj. this was the awesome sequel to the night and its moon which was fantastic. this was a must read, well the first as well. continued from the first so i wont post spoilers
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This book had interesting ideas but they got lost in a book that felt like it didn't really go anywhere with characters that didn't have a ton of depth. I think this book could be better if the author and editors worked together to make the good ideas stronger and get rid of a lot of the overly drawn out parts of the story. I wish there had been more in terms of romance between Gadriel and Amaris or even Amaris and Nox. Throughout the entirety of this book Nox is obsessed with finding and being with Amaris and for most of the book it feels like Amaris forgets about Nox until they're in the same vicinity and I'd really like to see Amaris think about Nox just a smidge more. I do think this book has good bones, but the meat of the story needs some work.
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I decided to request the ARC for this book, with some reservations, as the author and her editor don't have the best reputation for treating reviewers right.
I read the first book, which wasn't great, but left me with great questions and I was dying to know where the story (and our characters) were going.

The writing has certainly improved since the first installment in the series, while it's not good good, it's something, but that's the only improvement I can think of. Everything else just felt off.
The plot was all over the place, it felt like there was no direction in this book, the characters weren't well defined, and if you thought it could improve since the last book, well, think again. Amaris reads like a child, all of the time, and Nox is constantly traumatized by the author at every turn.

I will not be back for more. I'm truly sorry but that's it, goodbye Piper CJ!
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This series has me hooked I absolutely loved this book just as much as the previous ones I can't wait for the next one as well
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I had hoped that after the first round of issues with this author and series, the publisher would have stepped up. The racism is still blatantly obvious, poor editing, and the continued SEVERE harassment of reviewers. I couldn’t finish this, at all even as curious as I was and tempted to give the author a second chance. Clearly being white and female means getting away with everything if you cry pretty enough. 

All around it’s also plagiarism. That wasn’t fixed either. Nearly 90% of this book is Witcher theft, with other fandoms sprinkled in. It was called out on the first book, and this one is just as awful.
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Thank you NetGalley and Bloom Books for the ARC!

In full transparency, there is a lot riding on this book for the author. For every reader lost over the controversy with book one, there will be a new reader interested in the book solely due to the drama. That being said, there is an opportunity here to provide due diligence to the editing of this novel and help put to bed a lot of concerns around bad writing and poorer editing. 

The book starts smack dab in the middle of where book one left off. I'd recommend have a preface, prologue, or just context page giving the high level overview of what is what before diving into book two. There is still a lack of character development and the most endearing character attribute for Amaris is her relationship with Gad. Cut out some of the unnecessary melodrama and use this as an opportunity to make the reader love your characters, no matter if they're a little bit evil. 

Remember Maleficent? She's got a growing fan base. Readers are not a dichotomy between good and evil; readers love the emotion in books. This story needs a stronger emotion than just the author's redemption.
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This series has a lot of promise but the author has a tendency to get in her own way. The first book (The Night and Its Moon) was slow, which is understandable for world building, but finally speeds up towards the end only for us to get to book two and it's slowed back down. This is supposed to be a love story between Nox and Amaris but the only real chemistry here is Amaris and Gadriel. I just need a bit more here because the chemistry isn't adding up. This is a four book series, but each book needs to stand alone and right now it's feeling like this could have been one book if we shaved down the whole lot of nothing that happens on page.
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I was really interested in this series as it became so popular on TikTok, and I know not everything recommended on TikTok is worth the hype. I ended up having to DNF book 1 (The Night & It's Moon) but I read enough reviews and skimmed enough that I felt like I was able to dive into book 2.

I didn't enjoy the first book at all; the writing was awful as well as the plot, the characters were dull and felt underdeveloped. Overall, it was a blah book from what I read.

Sadly, I couldn't get into this book either. I was hoping it was better written as it was her second book. But honestly bragging that this book was written in 9 days is 100% reflected in the story. It needs to be refined so much; theres very little story, a lot of senseless filler, and the characters are still dull.

I wouldn't recommend anything by this author, it's not worth it.
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Thank you to Netgally and the publishers for providing me with an ARC of this book.

This book was beyond words. I read it immediately after finishing the first book (which I rarely do) and within a day I had managed to finish it, while simultaneously sobbing. The stories of these characters are so compelling. They have not lived easy lives and you can see the toll that their sheltered yet difficult lives have taken on them. The author does an amazing job at highlighting the conflicting emotions that these characters are feeling while also showing that they are human, they make mistakes, but they are learning and growing. Piper CJ does a fabulous job at making you fall in love with the characters and as a reader you feel the joy and pain alongside the narrator. I also have really come to appreciate the speratic chapters that are from the POV of a side character. CJ includes these at the perfect time, and each and every time they come up I am beyond thankful to have that characters perspective in the moment as it provides so much clarity to the situation. I will be anxiously counting down the days until book 3 is published through Bloom as I cannot wait to read it and am sure there will be so many more tears to follow.
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Unfortunately, access to a publisher does not make the sequel any better than the first installment. This book suffers from a lot of the same issues—repetitive sentences, awkwardly flowery language, no plot, unnatural characterization, irrelevant info dumping—any of which might be forgivable on their own, but combine to constantly distract from the story. The only reason it gets 2 stars is because the seeds of an interesting story are present, but they are so overshadowed in garbage writing and a desperate need for harsh editing that they have not been given room to blossom. As I received an ARC, I feel that reading this for free was fine as the story was mildly entertaining (as was getting to laugh at some of the phrases used), but the writing is just not up to basic industry standards and is not worth the $18 being charged for it at retailers.
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I received a copy of this on Netgalley in exchange for a honest review. 
Well, I enjoyed the story I did not enjoy it as much as The Night and its Moon. Instead of the characters moving forward and growing it felt like they were at a stalemate and there wasn't anything new to the character arcs. I'm hoping since there is still more to the series this is why there was not as much growth in the characters as the previous book.
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1/5 stars

Thank you to Netgalley and Bloom Books for providing me with an eARC for review. 

I unfortunately do not recommend this book in the slightest. The writing is confusing and underdeveloped, the storyline is all over the place, the characters' voices aren't at all distinguished between one another, and overall there are really racist and offensive ideals interwoven into these words. I also didn't like the way that trauma was handled in this book, particularly in the form of consent and the BDSM that is featured, but that's my opinion and I do understand that there will be people who interpret this part differently.

Overall, I wanted to give the author the benefit of the doubt, however, I have not enjoyed any of her books, and I can't, in good conscience, recommend any of her books. I do not recommend this, and whilst I hope that the author takes time to improve her work, I'm pretty sure I won't stick around for it.
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I was looking forward to reading this second book in the series, but it felt off to me.  Maybe like Piper is drawing things out with quite a bit of filler in the book. Although I did not fully enjoy the book, I am mildly interested to see where the story goes. 
Thank you NetGalley and Bloom Books for the opportunity to read this eARC in exchange for a honest review.
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