Cover Image: Of Light and Shadow

Of Light and Shadow

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Dnf @45%
I couldn’t go on with this one. It was too slow and nothing was happening. I don’t understand the magic system all so

Was this review helpful?


As much as it pains me to say it, Of Light and Shadow was a definite did-not-finish for me. I’d say it’s an unfortunate combo of me finding a whole new series that swept me off my feet, along with a writing style that I just couldn’t sync with. It’s a disappointment because this book is highly rated on Goodreads, but it didn’t click for me. With the overall plot, the unique subject matter, and the beautiful-sounding setting, I thought for sure this would be a top pick. But it just wasn’t meant to be. I read about half and I honestly can’t tell you much about what I read. Picking it up felt forced and the story didn’t sweep me away. I’ve been trying for long enough now that I know it’s time to call it quits. I hope you readers out there will have a better time with it than I did.

Was this review helpful?

I DNF at 40%

The story was kinda boring and slow, the magic stuff didn't really interest me and it was easy to predict what was going to happen. Also, some parts felt like they weren't needed and the book was too long. Nothing in the story caught my attention.

Was this review helpful?

The writing is phenomenal, and the world drew me in from the first few chapters; the characters are fantastic, and there are very few YA fantasy novels that can keep a plot to one book without leaving any (or very few) threads, and this does a phenomenal job. I loved Roshan and Navin so much, and the progression here felt interesting without being forced. This was definitely a good time, and if you're into the genre it has a place on anyone's shelf.

Was this review helpful?

I could not get into this story no matter how hard I tried. My attention was not gripped by anything in the story. I hope others can like it though.

Thank you Netgalley for the ebook!

Was this review helpful?

I wanted to love this, and unfortunately I only ended up liking it. The world created in this novel is interesting, and the premise had boundless potential. However, I would find myself straying from the story and losing interest in it. The character studies were the most interesting parts, rather than the plot, and o think this is where it went wrong for me.
I had to finish it in increments.

Was this review helpful?

i'm obsessed with the cover!!
"Of Light and Shadow" is an absolute gem that shines with humor, adventure, and a sprinkle of romance. The dynamic duo of Roshan and Navin steals the show with their hilarious banter and unlikely camaraderie. Roshan, the fierce bandit leader with a heart of gold, and Navin, the charming misfit prince, bring an irresistible charm to the story. Their unexpected journey, filled with mishaps and mischief, had me in stitches, eagerly turning the pages to see what comedic escapades they would find themselves in next.

This was such a pleasant surprise of a book. Weaving an interesting lore amidst well-developed characters, Tanaz Bhathena tells an enchanting and hopeful story of two people uniting against an injustice. Roshan was a capable woman and led her clan well, but it was only once Navin came into the mix that she began to see what it was she truly wanted to achieve and how to do it. Navin was a great reluctant hero who finds his purpose as the story goes on. The supporting characters were excellent as well.

A delightful journey that keeps you on your toes with its twists and turns, both in plot and in humor.

Was this review helpful?

This was a perfect fantasy banger of a book to start my summer reading.
Roshan is the leader of a renowned group of bandits. She is working desperately to keep the communities where she lives alive, by stealing food shipments and other goods. Something is terribly wrong with the land, and the governor is demanding blood tithes, if money can't be paid. Unexpectedly, one of the crown princes (the "spare") ends up a stowaway on a ship her crew targets. Can she leverage him to draw attention to what's happening? And why does she find him so darned attractive?

Yes, it's enemies to lovers, which normally I don't like at all. However, there's enough other stuff going on in this title that the romance just made sense. Bhathena does a great job of allowing Navin, the prince, to discover the horror of what is happening in the country he is supposed to help rule. That allows the reader to gradually come to trust Roshan, as he does.

This has lots of great atmosphere and enough genuinely creepy horror-tinged scenes to satisfy the YA readers who are after that.

Was this review helpful?

A magical world where the environment has been manipulated, oppression reigns, and two people come together to shape the future. A 17th century India is the backdrop for a world where power and influence create political scenarios and schemes at every turn. It's a world in which one segment does not no what the rest of society is dealing with. Everyone has a hint of magic in this complicated struggle to make things right. Change comes with violence. The chance kidnapping of a prince creates an opportunity for the rebels of the time. A bandit and the prince start a series of actions that will change their relationship, their worlds, and keep you on the edge of your seat.

Was this review helpful?

The title doesn't do justice to this surprisingly compact Indian/Zoroastrian influenced fantasy novel that's so much more than good versus evil despite its bandit-versus-prince opening gambit. These pages are rife with magic systems and mythologies, politics, environmentalism, societal collapse, spirituality, racial biases, all wound around a grudging role-reversed romantic dance between the female bandit leader and the princely hostage.
I find the magic system interesting. Even healing magic exacts a penalty from the user, and our healer sometimes reflects on the perils and pitfalls of their position in ways that feel very real for someone both depended on and not quite trusted. In some senses this echoes the attitude from villagers towards herbal wise women in Europe in the witch burning years, although so far nobody has tried to burn our healer except one patient whose pain has overridden her control of her fire magic.

The environmental plot is well foreshadowed before it appears overtly on the page and forces our prince into a moral dilemma, caught between what he believes is right for the people of the damaged region, and his loyalty to his family.

It does seem for a time that our very sympathetic female protagonist gets shorter shift as the novel unfolds. Rather than becoming more complex and facing deeper ethical or psychological or physical challenges, she seems destined to be reduced to a reluctant love interest. Fortunately, she eventually regains more equal footing with the Peri Prince.

This is a satisfying blend of environmentalism and magic, both light and shadow, that dwells within the characters as well as in the plot. Overall it’s a novel that feels more exotic than its lean writing and straightforward plot suggests. A most enjoyable read.

Was this review helpful?

"Of Light and Shadow" is a YA fantasy book inspired by Indian mythology. The story follows Roshan, a Robin Hood-style bandit leader whose only goal is to save the villagers in her province from starvation, as the once fertile land has been destroyed at the hands of the government. The influence of Indian mythology provides a fresh take on this romance-fantasy (mild spice). Some reveals were a little predictable; the foreshadowing was perhaps a little heavy handed to be a true surprise. Overall, a very enjoyable book.

Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Random House Canada for providing me with an advanced copy for review. Expected publication date is May 23rd, 2023.

Was this review helpful?

I enjoyed this, but wasn't blown away by it. I found it started off slow and followed a predictable story, but I enjoyed the ending and the different twists it took.

Was this review helpful?

Slow, predictable

I don't like writing negative reviews, and I will try to keep this short. On the positive side, the final climactic scene was fairly entertaining. Also, I appreciated Bhathena's perspective. In her Author's Note she writes

"According to the Zoroastrian faith, good and evil, truth and lies, light and shadow are symbolized by twin spirits: Spenta Mainyu (also called Ahura Mazda) and Angra Mainyu (also called Ahriman). While modern Zoroastrians like myself worship Ahura Mazda as the Supreme God, we also believe in the concept of free will and that the twin spirits symbolize the choices we face in our daily lives."*
I had not, to my knowledge, read a novel told from an explicitly Zoroastrian point of view. I also appreciated that Bhathena based her bandit chief Roshan Chaya in part on real Indian bandits: Phoolan Devi and Paan Singh Tomar.

But, but, but... If you read a lot of fiction, you may sometimes feel that there are only six stories, which get told over and over again. Thus, when I read Of Light and Shadow, I thought to myself "Didn't I just read this?" In fact, I had, more or less -- Dragonfall by L.R. Lam was substantially the same story. Now, this is not a bad thing -- some stories deserve to be told again and again, and a new story-teller can make an old story new again. As always, your mileage may vary, but Tanaz Bhathena's telling of this story didn't work well for me. It was slow. And the predictability of the plot made the slow progress harder to bear. I found myself thinking as I read, "We both know where this is headed [and I did -- nothing that happened really surprised me] -- could you not fast forward just a bit?"

Thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Random House Canada for an advance reader copy of Of Light and Shadow. This review expresses my honest opinions. To be released 23-May-2023.

*Quotes are from an advance reader copy and may change before publication. Quotes will be corrected if necessary on the release date.

Was this review helpful?