Book Review: Shadows of the Hersweald

34206334“They would have to come that afternoon. Haydn glared at the rutted road twisted away from the gate beneath him, slithering into the shadows of the Hersweald. And what was the flaming idea behind leaving him in charge? Nerthach in the hands of a criminal… that would put them all in the good graces of the province governor, no questions asked. A battered soldier from a defeated army, Haydn knows there is only one end to the arrival of the Prince’s governor. Except he hasn’t counted on the Prince himself. Or the pardon which his recent foe has declared to acquit all those who fought against him. A pardon Haydn detests. A pardon that refuses to punish the rebels now threatening his own village. And his sister. Guilt-ridden from his own actions during the war, Haydn knows there are others who have no conscience at all. Others who are using the freedom of the pardon to forward their own desperate schemes.

With enemies closing in on all sides, a pardon that refuses punishment, and nightmares of murder and fire haunting his every thought, will Haydn recognize the truth or will his fear condemn everything he loves to destruction?” (from Goodreads)

I was more than excited to revisit the world of Aslaria in what has become one of my all time favorite series. This book is gorgeous inside and out! Best. poetic. prose. ever. Haydn’s struggles were a perfect example of how things go when we try to gain peace on our own. Even though he was a confident veteran with a deadly reputation, good intentions, and a fierce loyalty to family and village, the medallion was proof that he couldn’t conquer everything. Gorawen and Traveon were neat side characters, and I alternated between hating Mathias’ guts and wondering if I misunderstood him. SPOILER ALERT! I misunderstood him. One thing (besides the world’s best prose) I always appreciate about this allegorical series is the respectful portrayal of God, and I was very blessed by the featuring of a Holy Spirit character in this one. There were also some pretty great plot twists (though that last one was horrible in its ramifications!), and all the sneaking around was awesome. SPOILER ALERT! Just make sure you have those moonstones! END OF SPOILER! Just a note that this book is slightly darker than the first two, and one character frequently uses fake curse words. There are also violent memories of war, mention of SPOILER ALERT! murder in the past END OF SPOILER, and theoretical danger SPOILER ALERT! to a woman from a very evil man END OF SPOILER.

Best quote: “I tore it up, but not because I rejected the Prince. I tore it up because men such as you and I ought not to walk free.”

Altogether, I’m pretty happy with this book. I need another. 😀 (And is anyone else off the walls happy they are coming out in paperback??!!)

I beta-read this book and received a free copy in exchange for my honest review.

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