Thank you to NetGalley and Feiwel and Friends for an eARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review!
Alessandra is tired of being overlooked, but she has a plan to gain power:
1) Woo the Shadow King.
2) Marry him.
3) Kill him and take his kingdom for herself.
No one knows the extent of the freshly crowned Shadow King’s power. Some say he can command the shadows that swirl around him to do his bidding. Others say they speak to him, whispering the thoughts of his enemies. Regardless, Alessandra knows what she deserves, and she’s going to do everything within her power to get it.
But Alessandra’s not the only one trying to kill the king. As attempts on his life are made, she finds herself trying to keep him alive long enough for him to make her his queen—all while struggling not to lose her heart. After all, who better for a Shadow King than a cunning, villainous queen?
The Shadows Between Us is the most Slytherin love story ever. Both main characters are terrible people, stopping at nothing to get what they want but also protecting those fiercely that they love and care for. It actually slightly reminded me of Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge, but with a much better female MC.
After years of living in her perfect sisters shadow, Alessandra has a plan of her own to be seen and gain power for herself. She will catch the Shadow Kings’ eye, woo him into loving her like she’s done to every guy before, and then kill him and take the power of the kingdom for herself. Not the typical hate to love troupe you typically see in these kinds of stories. She didn’t know the king or have any feelings towards him period. He was just a means to an end, a way to finally achieve power and make the changes to it that she wants. Turns out the king isn’t too good of a person either and he enjoys how cunning and ambitious Alessandra truly is.
The book opens up with a murder and Alessandra laying out this scheme she has to become Queen and I was impressed. She’s devious, but also quite charming and very smart. After years of lovers she knows just how to play guys to get what she wants. I knew she was a morally grey character but I caught myself admiring her tactics and ideas throughout the book. If Kallias weren’t just as morally jaded as her I don’t think she would have been able to set foot in the palace.
Kallias is the bad boy we all want. Think the Darkling but more respectful towards women and shrouded in shadows. He was sexy and a tad power hungry. People that didn’t do their jobs right were killed without an eye being blinked by anyone. He was good to those at court, but don’t cross him. He could hold his own against Alessandra, just as smart and cunning, and they made a formidable team. I was enraptured by the interactions between the two. Between the witty banter and her calling him out on his sh**, it was refreshing.
What I found slightly funny though was the references to Alessandra’s perfect sister and her father’s failing estate. In any other story, that sister would be the MC and saving the family land by being sold to the highest bidder would have been main plot. This is a story of the forgotten sister, the “Trollop” or black sheep. Instead we get a story of an empowered female who owns her body and uses it and her mind to get what she wants. The non-shaming and gender equality was refreshing. Plus did I mention the hot bad boy covered in shadows that respects women? Yummy.
My only complaint is the world-building. There was talk of conquered kingdoms that Kallias now ruled, but it was mentioned in passing. No clue where these kingdoms were but honestly it really didn’t matter and that didn’t bug me. It would have been nice to know more but at the same time it might’ve taken away from Kallias and Alessandra’s story which I wouldn’t have wanted.
So I lied and I actually have one more complaint; why isn’t this book a duology?! I thought for sure when reading it that there was going to be at least a second book. Then all of a sudden everything I needed and wanted to know was all wrapped up! I need more. It was so well written and it’s not every day that you get not just one but TWO morally grey characters that are main characters or the main focus of the story. It was such a fresh and new idea and was very female empowering. I devoured it in one sitting and I regret putting off reading it for so long. I mean, any book that starts off with a quote from Damon Salvatore is bound to be a damn good book.
Disclaimer: All quotes used in this review are taken from an advanced copy and may be changed from those that appear in the final version. Quotes will be updated to reflect such changes, if any.