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promise of shadowsWhat: Promise of Shadows by Justina Ireland

Who: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

When: January 13th 2015

How: A copy of this novel was provided by Simon & Schuster Australia for review.

A teen who is half-god, half-human must own her power whether she likes it or not in this snappy, snarky novel with a serving of smoldering romance that Kirkus Reviews calls “a dark, slyly funny read.”

Zephyr Mourning has never been very good at being a Harpy. She’d rather watch reality TV than learn forty-seven ways to kill a man, and she pretty much sucks at wielding magic. Zephyr was ready for a future pretending to be a normal human instead of a half-god assassin. But all that changed when her sister was murdered, and Zephyr used a forbidden dark power to save herself from the same fate.

On the run from a punishment worse than death, an unexpected reunion with a childhood friend upends Zephyr’s world, and not only because her old friend has grown surprisingly, extremely hot. It seems that Zephyr might just be the Nyx, a dark goddess that is prophesied to shift the power balance: for hundreds of years the half-gods have lived in fear, and Zephyr is supposed to change that.

But how is she supposed to save everyone else when she can barely take care of herself?



That’s how I felt about Promise of Shadows. One hundred percent “okay”. Which, you know, means that I didn’t hate it or anything but I didn’t love it, either. Everything was just oaky, and I guess I was okay with that.

I thought that I might really like it because a) pretty cover (shh I judge books by their covers leave me alone), b) a unique premise about a harpy, and c) “darkly funny”. I thought that Promise of Shadows might live up to the a), b), and c), but unfortunately it didn’t.

a) The cover is still beautiful.

b) It was a unique premise, but sometimes things moved way to freaking quickly to understand what was going on, and other times it was like “this scene seems to have been going on for 3498385 pages and nothing has happened”.

I did like the vaettir/aethereal/everything else magical and godlike in this book. I really like mythological retelling-type stories, so I did like that.

But I wasn’t a big fan of the special snowflake story. Zephyr (and this isn’t a spoiler by the way, it’s on the blurb – which I don’t think it should be but whatever) is this total badass saviour of half-god kind who is supposed to lead the half-gods into battle and beat the bitch Hera. Except … there was no battle. I was waiting for WAR, DEATH, GOD MURDER but none of it happened. In fact, the ending was quite anticlimactic in terms of the badass half-god saviour thing.

I did like, however, that Zephyr was the reluctant hero. She was all: I am not cut out for this and I don’t even want this – which I think is more reasonable than: yes, I am a teenager and I am going to lead my people to salvation – follow me, minions! At times her reluctance was a bit repetitive and self deprecating, but she’s a teenager. We all get a bit self deprecating and reluctant when were teenagers.

The hot-cold love interest was not unique, and I am so totally over that trope, like a hundred years ago, and I’ve certainly read ones of better quality than Tallon. He was a complete jerkwad and I don’t think Zephyr should have been pining over him as much as she did (ALTHOUGH YAY FOR A GIRL WITH A SEX DRIVE SERIOUSLY).

c) I didn’t think this book was “darkly funny”. There were some seriously lame one-liners that I was kind of cringing at, and that was the extent of this claim, in my opinion. I wish there had been some humour because I find these mythology books/retellings to be very heavy sometimes. I guess Promise of Shadows was not as heavy going as others – there were some lighter moments – but it wasn’t “darkly funny” in my books.


If there is a sequel, and boy does it need it because that ending was about as open as … something really open IDK THE SKY, I’d probably pick it up, just to see what happens.

© 2015, Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity. All rights reserved.

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Posted on: March 21, 2015 • By: Chiara

8 Responses to Review: Promise of Shadows by Justina Ireland

  1. Shannelle C. says:

    I love the cover for this one too, so so much. That font and it’s arrangement makes me want to bring out paragraphs of the heart-eyed emoji. But the story is definitely one big meh.

  2. That IS very unfortunate because this book really has a beautiful cover and a great premise. Too bad :( But I’m glad I read this review because now I know for sure that this is not a book for me. Great review!!

  3. Aww damn, I really enjoyed her other book Vengeance Bound, so I was hoping that this one would be just as good. Yes, that cover is so pretty and simple! Not sure if I will just get this for the cover….. Great review!

    • Chiara says:

      I was interested in reading Vengeance Bound but now I’m not sure >.< I think the style might not be for me *sigh* I am and forever will be in love with the cover, though <3 Thanks, lovely!

  4. Romi says:

    Oh no, and I’d been quite looking forward to this one! Darn. Well, I’ll still give it a try, maybe see if my library has a copy or something, but I’m not sure that it sounds like something I’ll end up enjoying, though THAT COVER. I try not to judge a book solely on it’s cover. I try. Which means I’m not actually always following that rule. This does have a nice cover, though, and I love some good typography and colour scheming.
    Loved your review! I think it’s possible, if I go by what you wrote about this being darkly funny, that it was more amusing then the book could be. Xx

    • Chiara says:

      Id recommend still giving it a go, Romi! You never know – you might end up liking it :)

      And yes, I know what you mean about the cover. I am a bit of a cover snob, so I went straight for this one, haha.

      Thank you! Yeah, unfortunately there was no “darkly funny” about this book *sigh*

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