#BookTour: Sapphire Smyth & The Shadow Five: Shadows (Book 1) by R.J. Furness

I’m back to book blogging, and my first review since *checks* July (?!?!?!?!) is brought to you by TheWriteReads. He was kind enough to send over a Kindle file of the book in exchange for an honest review.

There was no media kit given so I was able to get it from the book’s Amazon page.

Have you ever seen something you can’t explain? Did it vanish as fast as it appeared?
Perhaps that thing you saw was lurking in the shadows, and you caught a glimpse of it before it went back into hiding.
There’s a good chance, of course, that the thing you saw simply emerged from your imagination.
Or maybe, just maybe, it didn’t…

Sapphire Smyth is no stranger to rejection. When she was only a baby, her father abandoned her after her mother died. Since then, Sapphire has never felt like she belonged anywhere, or with anyone. To make things worse, her foster carers have now turned their back on her – on her eighteenth birthday. After living with them throughout her childhood, Sapphire has to find a new home. Is it any wonder she finds it hard to trust people?

Abandoned by the people she called family, Sapphire is alone and searching for some meaning in her life. Except that meaning has already come looking for her. When she discovers mysterious creatures lurking in the shadows, Sapphire soon realises that her fate is unlike anything she had ever imagined.

You can find more information about the author, R.J. Furness, on his website.


Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

I’m going to be extremely honest here: It put me to sleep faster than an outdated history book. We start with Sapphire Smyth, orphaned and living with a foster family that kicked her out on her eighteenth birthday, finding shelter from the rain. I already can understand her frustrations when she tries to confide with her best friend, Ben.

Given how short the story is, things do escalate quickly. But even in a short serial, there should be at least a few paragraphs that will prepare the reader for certain pivots in the story. The book fails to do that, and immediately puts the reader in the middle of a fiasco and introducing other characters who add more problems to Sapphire’s ongoing predicament.

There’s barely any development done, and it’s evident with the uninspired dialogue and world-building. While I don’t mind the author describing the setting too much and leave me to imagine how everything else should be, Furness did poorly to paint me a picture of where Sapphire lives. I was also wondering why there were not any other people aside from her and the characters. Doesn’t she bump into bystanders? Is the town where she lives that empty at any given time of the day?

Perhaps, if it were slightly longer, with better world-building and character development, I’d appreciate it more. I’m giving it a 3-star rating because I found it to be an incomplete introduction to Sapphire and the world of shadows, but could probably improve in the next two books.

I would suggest the author to give his characters and settings more thought so that the reader won’t be left unsatisfied with the lack of depth. The introduction should give us an idea of the conflict (is it really Sapphire’s frustrations against her foster family and lost biological father? Or is it because she’s trying to understand what she’s going through when she discovered her “magical” powers?); the long-standing characters, both good and bad (aside from Sapphire and Ben); and how the characters are going to overcome their challenges without totally showing the other “side quests” they must face in later books in the series. Book 1 did poorly in introducing all mentioned, and it left me actually relieved to have finished it.

However, this will not stop me from getting the rest of the books. Perhaps the author can change my mind if he does more showing than telling.

On to the next one then.

Published by oroplatamyta

Content strategist by day; book blogger, avid reader, and fantasy writer by night.

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