Promise of Shadows

Promise of Shadows

by Justina Ireland


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Promise of Shadows 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Alyssa75 More than 1 year ago
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** Promise of Shadows by Justina Ireland Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers Publication Date: March 11, 2014 Rating: 2 stars Source: eARC from Edelweiss Summary (from Goodreads): 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 changes when her sister is murdered—and she uses a forbidden dark power to save herself from the same fate. Zephyr is on the run from a punishment worse than death when an unexpected reunion with a childhood friend (a surprisingly HOT friend) changes everything. Because it seems like Zephyr might just be the Nyx, a dark goddess made flesh that is prophesied to change 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 when she can’t even save herself? What I Liked: I love Greek and Roman mythology, you all. Well actually, I love most types of mythology - including Norse and Egyptian and so on. But Greek mythology is definitely my favorite. So when I read the synopsis of this book months ago, I knew I had to read it. Yes, my rating shows that I did not enjoy this book as much as I had hoped I would. But I'm glad I gave this book a chance. Zephyr was sent to Tartarus because she killed a minor Æthereal (god), which is basically impossible for the vættir (non-god, non-human race, like Zephyr, who is a Harpy). But the Æthereals - especially Hera - are suspicious, and want to know how she did it. No one knows about Zepyhr's dark powers - shadow vættir are not supposed to exist anymore. So Zephyr escapes from Tartarus with the help of some friends. Thus starts the race to defeat Hera and her army of Acolytes from stealing shades and shadow vættir. I liked the use of mythology in this book - and Ireland's adaptation of mythology. The author definitely added her own interpretation to Greek mythology, which was cool. All of the stories and legends and mixed-up families was so like the original Greek mythological tales. I liked Ireland's spin on things. The idea of this book was definitely a good one. I wanted to like the plot, because it sounded really interesting. I wanted to like the characters, because they sounded kick-butt. I wanted to and did like the use of Greek mythology in this book. But I found that I really did not like very much about this book, unfortunately.  What I Did Not Like: The plot, the characters, the romance, the pacing, the mood, the execution, the inconsistencies. There were so many things that niggled at me while I was reading this book, and I should have written them down as I was reading. I did NOT finish this book in one sitting, which made me sad. It did not hold my interest at all. So, the plot. The plot was so boring. This book was so boring. I mentioned that I did not finish this book in one sitting, that the book did not hold my interest. I literally FELL ASLEEP while reading this book - no joke. Granted, it was a Monday after my four classes, and it was the first day of classes after a four-day weekend, but STILL. This book was NOT exciting. I wasn't thoroughly invested. The plot was all about stopping Hera from stealing shades and destroying the shadow vættir. Honestly, I still don't really understand the point. I don't really get why Hera was stealing shades and bent on destroying the shadow vættir. Actually, I think I understand the latter. But the former? Why? And why was that so catastrophic? Why didn't the gods (Æthereals) intervene directly, if it was an Æthereal behind everything, and they knew it? One Nyx is NOT stronger than one Æthereal. So that makes no sense. I did not connect with a single character. And I didn't like any of them. They seemed flat and one-dimensional to me, and not the types to which I could relate. I can't stand flat characters, and I especially can't stand when I can't connect to characters on some level. Also, there were a ton of secondary characters, and I feel like none of them were really fleshed out. The romance. Blah blah blah snooze. The romance was so boring. I could see the attempt at an angst-filled romance, but it was an ATTEMPT, and it so did not work. Instead, I was really hoping that either Zephyr or her love interest would die - or both. I seriously did not care at all if they did not end up together, or if one died, or whatever. So... the romance was pretty badly done. I was not a fan of the pacing. Most of this book was sitting ducks, or whatever the phrase is. There are a ton of paragraphs and pages involving long explanations and stories and history. No thank you, let's get to some action. The action scenes were few and far apart, which was annoying, because the non-action scenes were really boring. So, the pacing wasn't the best. It was too slow. The execution of this novel was (overall) pretty poor. The concept was really cool, and Ireland's spin on Greek mythology was fabulous, but the execution of the actual story was not so good. It's bad when your reader could care less about basically everything. And doesn't understand what's going on or why things are going on or so on. I already mentioned a few inconsistencies (like with the gods not intervening), but the fact that I noticed more than a few at all is a red flag to me. For example, I also noticed something about Zephyr's hair. I thought at one point, when she incinerated everything, Nanda had to cut off all Zephyr's hair, really short. But then at the end of the book, Zephyr's curls were back. What? From that point of the hair-cutting to the end of the book, only a few weeks passed (like maybe three at the most). Hair does NOT grow that quickly, to that length anyway. Anyway, those are the not-so-great things about this book (for me). Another thing - I really thought this book was a standalone. But the ending is a bit ambiguous. Well, I won't be reading future novels in this series (if it does end up being a series), so that's that. Would I Recommend It: Heh. Not really, no. I was so ecstatic to read a book involving Greek mythology, but it was such a disappointment. The negatives highly outweigh the positives. Heck, I had a hard time FINISHING this book, and STAYING AWAKE. Save your time and sanity and read something else! Rating: 1.5 stars -> rounded up to 2 stars. I'm actually not sure why I'm giving this 2 stars as opposed to 1 star - probably because I really WANTED to like this book. Oh well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good book
CMLloyd More than 1 year ago
Promise of Shadows is a rich tapestry of mythology with just enough modern day comforts embroidered along the edges. I adored the focus on Zephyr's friendship with Cass - give me books with strong female friendship any day of the week, and I will swallow them up. The romantic subplot was fairly interesting too, albeit I admittedly didn't ship the pair until almost the last page.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Goldenfurproductions More than 1 year ago
MY THOUGHTS I didn't really know much about this book, going into it. I knew it had something to do with mythology and that's it. I ended up finding an enjoyable read with lots of mythical elements! Zephyr has been stuck in Tartarus for the past year for killing a god. She has no idea how she did it, she just wanted revenge for her sister's murder. With the help of an old friend, she's able to escape into the mortal world, but she's still being hunted. It turns out, that Zephyr has a very dark ability and is the next Nyx. It doesn't help that there's a prophecy about her leading a war against the gods... There is a lot of world-building in this book. I had a lot of issues with this at first. Instead of info-dumping, we get the opposite are are dumped right into the book, getting strange words thrown at us as if we understand them. I was able to figure them out eventually, but it wasn't very fun. Other than that, there is a lot of great, interesting world-building here! As for Zephyr, she's a great main character and I did feel like she grew in this book. She began in the book feeling like a failure and she felt the same throughout a majority of the book, as if she might disappoint everyone. She also had to fight the darkness inside her turning her into something else. She actually grew into a surprisingly strong character.  The romance was okay. It didn't really wow me and I was fully expecting something to happen with them (I'm a pro and spotting who the love interest will be. It comes from reading so many YA books). There was nothing really wrong with the romance. It wasn't a love triangle,insta-love, or distracting. It was just an okay romance; there just wasn't any spark.  IN CONCLUSION This was an interesting book with mythology! I had some issues with following the story and the romance just didn't connect with me, but I did end up liking this book. This is my second book from this author and I am very curious what else she has in store. 
WulfLuva More than 1 year ago
So Tartarus—the land of suffering and torture deep down in the Underworld—isn’t exactly all it’s cracked up to be. And somehow, Zephyr Mourning the wingless Harpy has found a way out. With a ragtag group of mythologically-challenged friends, she learns her life’s purpose—to wield the dark shadows that go against everything her family has ever stood for. But with her sister’s soul on the line, Zephyr may just have to fight in a battle she really has no hope of winning. A book smothered in ancient made-up lands, with only a small dose of Mortal Realm visits, isn’t unique to the world of young adult literature. However, Justina Ireland’s version, although heavily reliant on Greek roots, is described in a way that has me convinced Ireland travelled back in time to create and spread the story of Hades, Hera, and the Harpies. Zephyr’s voice is sharp and humorous, but it also paints a great picture of places that I would like to see—for a brief amount of time at least, considering Tartarus isn’t exactly a place one would like to build a summer home at. Zephyr is a strong character, even though she has her breakdown moments. She’s realistic and charming, but at the same time, her emotions do come and go faster than Hermes can pop his way out of the Underworld. It’s surprising she doesn’t have neck problems from the amount of emotional whiplash present. Also, Promise of Shadows isn’t a book to read in one sitting. It needs to be absorbed in smaller doses. There’s a lot of information that tends to feel like it is being thrown at the reader, perhaps due to the brisk pace of the storyline. Despite these minor flaws, I feel that the book is a remarkably entertaining read. It’s a promising choice to satisfy those who are not quite sure what they will do with their lives after the Percy Jackson spinoff ends. 4/5 stars *Note: I received a copy of this book to review from the publisher via Book Review Board of Missouri. This in no way altered my opinion/review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found out about this book through a blog post on Diversity in YA. I was intrigued on how a book about Greek mythology would incorporate diversity, when many associate the Greeks with "white." In some ways I agree with this, but on the other hand, my sister's recent obsession with "The Percy Jackson" series has left me at a stand still. Fictional white gods shouldn't be a viable excuse for the lack of diversity, and "Promise of Shadows" is definitely proof that characters being different races doesn't take away from these "fictional" myths. Promise of Shadows follows the exploits of Zephyr Mourning, a harpy, who was sentenced to an eternity in Tartarus, due to her finding out the means to kill a god. I should mention it was a minor god, but being a vaettir(I take this as anything supernatural that is not a god), she shouldn't have this strong power, but there were many events that lead up to this moment. I think where this book struggled for me was points of world building. Mind you, if you are familiar with Greek mythology, it may not be an issue. But I believe you have to also be a teeny familiar Norse mythology as well, as many of the terms they uses are in fact from Norse mythology. I just happen to be a Norse myth buff, so I instantly recognized words that looked Scandinavian to me. But there were two things that bothered me, because they're not explicitly explained. It doesnt hold the story back at all, so this is not an insult or jab of any kind. But terms "Aethereal" and "Exaulted" were thrown around a bunch, and for the most part, many gods mentioned were both, but it doesnt explain exactly what makes an Aethereal "Exaulted." My knowledge of Greek mythology leads me to believe Aethereal is a term meant only for gods. I took the "Exaulted" as the big guys on campus. You know? Hermes, Zeus, Hades, Hera, etc. But it doesnt explain, but it could just be because the author is attempting allow the audience the intelligence to come up with these ideals on their own? Some of the pacing was a little off, but only because there were many times Zephyr would speak off focus. Her love interest Tallon? I don't mind a main character having the hots for a guy, but many times, there seemed to be too much time spent on telling me how hot he was, and how much she was attracted to him. I think I would've complained less if more time would've been spent on their relationship. Physical attraction is only one part of attraction. So if there had been more moments that proved why she liked him so much, outside of seeing and imagining his washboard abs, you coulda sold me :D Now with that out the way, I think this is the first book in the fantasy genre that I literally just loved. Books can have their faults but you still feel connected to them. Zephyr was totally relatable. I mean, as relatable as one can be when she's a harpy and wanted by the gods for murdering a god. She wasnt perfect, and I liked her through her unsureness and flaws. I could totally see myself in her situation if I were a mythological creature many of the gods already hated. She was so human by the relationship she shared with her sister. I cant say that I would have done anything different if someone had killed my sister. Zephyr had untapped abilities that wanted to manifest, but just never had the right time to, and she wasnt allowed to use this power, because it was of the "shadows" and a prophecy states a warrior of darkness will come and save everyone from the tyranny of the gods. I think this could be a metaphor for just knowing you have talent, but being afraid to use it, in fear you'll be judged. Or accused of showing off, or any other reason you might find not to tap into the things that make you special and different. And lets not ignore this fact. Zephyr a sista ;p She had what I interpreted as blue dreads, that were later a fro(explained in the book). She even specifically mentions (when encountering a shapeshifter) seeing a black girl with blue hair. It only dawns on her that she's looking at herself(as the shapeshifter turned into her). But many times, women of color are always left out of the conversation of whether people of color are in science fiction and fantasy. I found her character refreshing, and making her a person of color doesn't take away from the story, so it makes absolutely no sense NOT to make her a person of color. Her backstory is fleshed out well enough where I find out much of her history and why she is even able to wield dark magic. One of her parent's is a big dog, and while it should be obvious, it was still interesting to see how all that worked it's way into her present. The conflict was definitely a highlight. She was prophesied to be the next "Nyx" a genderless term to describe a vaettir who could wield the dark power like a god, who would be the vaettir's hope at gaining freedom from the god's reign. And I LOVED that Hera was the villain. I know because she's the god of marriage and the like, she gets this rap of being innocent and docile. But many forget she's a god. Who has a lousy husband. I mean, you don't get more vengeful than being married to the biggest gigaloo in Mount Olympus. I didnt see all the gods in this book, but Im interested to see where the story leads, as Aphrodite was depicted in a way I'd never seen her before(red head and total warrior princess). There were many elements that set it aside from other interpretations, but then again, I've yet to read Percy Jackson(my sister is currently reading it). Eh, I dont really have any complaints Grammar and Writing Style wise. I dont want to waste paragraphs talking about it being an industry standard. Just know it blends dialogue with beats well, 90% of the time the POV is clear, and it's edited well. I mean, it's traditionally published. Diversity. It has diversity. Much of it just isn't as explicit, since every character in the book aren't human. She had a surrogate mother named Nanda, who lead me to believe many harpies were in fact black. They all had coarse dreaded hair, and dark skin. So when someone didn't have dark skin, it was like a rabbit spoke or something. Nanda had a daughter named Alora. She wasn't a harpy, because her father's blood wasn't strong enough. So she seemed mixed race. And Tallon, her love interest(and Nanda's nephew) seemed to be mixed race/man of color. And his brother was obviously white. There was a a lot of hidden diversity if you have an eye for how races are often described. I wish it were more explicit, but maybe it's just to give the audience the intelligence to think outside their "default" thinking. I think it reminds me of a neighborhood in NY, where all you friends could be different races, and it doesn't bother you much. Multiculturalism shouldn't just be one thing, but how people of different backgrounds interact with each other.  I think the title is eye catching. It makes me wonder why it's called "Promise of Shadows." You dont really get it at first, but I think the title suits the book. The cover. I think it's pretty. Im just a little on the fence with books not being brave enough to highlight a woman of color protagonist. The cover is very alluring and pretty, but I think it could've also been pretty with a unique woman of the cover as well. :) The character names. There wasnt a common name in the book! It's been a few weeks since I finished it, so I cant remember every name, but each time a new character was introduced, I felt like I was playing Final Fantasy XD Character descriptions. This was a little shakey. I can interpret that much of the book is diverse. Tallon,his aunt and his cousin seemed like people of color. But since they're vaettir, they're not explicitly so. And it becomes difficult to tell because they were vaettir, so they may not uphold the way we see race as human beings. It took a while for Zephyr to be described in full, which I found appropriate. But sometimes readers dont interpret characters black when they see terms like "brown skin." As if it isnt obvious. XD The actual score dips back and forth from a 3.5-3.75
AveryChangeling More than 1 year ago
I loved this book so much!!! I’ve always been a fan of Greek mythology, and Ireland goes beyond the goddesses of love and beauty, to the delightful and wicked: the furies and the harpies. For those of you who’ve read my review of Ireland’s debut, VENGEANCE BOUND, you know how highly I thought of that book, so it’s safe to say my expectations were fairly high, and PROMISE OF SHADOWS did not disappoint. If anything, it exceeded my expectations. Zephyr Mourning was such a fabulous character (and I love that name!) Unlike the MC in Ireland’s first book, whose life hadn’t afforded her much chance for vulnerability, Zephyr was less sure of herself. She had doubt. All her life, she’d been expected to be a certain way, by her family and by herself, and she didn’t quite measure up. Of course, all that could be because she had a greater destiny… The mythology in PROMISE OF SHADOWS was spectacular. The story opens up in hell—well, one of the hells in the Greek underworld—and in this way we literally get to see Zephyr go through hell and back. We also get to visit several familiar characters from Greek mythology, each wonderfully re-imagined and given new flair. I loved seeing Persephone, Hades, Hermes… But of course, the real treat was meeting the characters I hadn't seen before: wonderful Zephyr, mysterious Tallon, and hilarious Blue, to name a few. I loved watching these characters navigate their dangerous journey, and their complex relationships. I felt like I knew them, and came to care about them deeply. Such a fantastic story! Now I want to mention my two absolute favorite scenes in the book (without getting too spoilery, okay? Don’t worry). All throughout the book, Zephyr struggles with issues of identity and feels like she doesn’t measure up to what people expect of her. But at two moments in the book, I felt like she finally stopped worrying about who she was supposed to be, and allowed herself to be who she truly was, and feel how she wanted to feel. To desire. To act. And it was glorious. The first scene is a battle scene, and I don’t want to give too much away, so I will just mention a couple of my favorite lines, even though I loved THE WHOLE THING: “The darkness finds it like a hungry dog digging for a buried bone. There’s a second of triumph when the erebos reaches the aether and a moment of hesitation as it waits for permission. Good doggy, I think. Then I let it off the leash.” My other favorite scene takes place in a hotel room, and again, without saying too much, I want to share my favorite lines: “I think back to the night I found Whisper with her boy from town. No wonder she was so mad. I can’t imagine what I would do if someone came between me and Tallon. This thing between us, this hunger, it makes me feel murderous. I want him to be mine.” Oh my, that scene. It was so perfect and powerful and relatable. If you haven’t read it yet, know that these glimpses aren’t doing it justice, but if you have read it, you will understand what I mean. These were the moments when Zephyr let go of her vulnerability, let go of her doubt, and gave in to her true self: someone who was strong, powerful, passionate. And funny. (Oh, I loved when she was funny!) All in all, this book was a wonderful experience, alternately sweet and dark, profound and hilarious, and entirely enjoyable the whole way through. LOVED it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is about shadows and spirits if your goth this book can be interesting for regualar people to so if you like spirits or shadows e noteand secrets to i hope you like the book i know the person rate the book plz this person is awsome he is cool he likes ninjas shadows it is a awsome book Do you think the book is awsome vote... it is awsome bou some parts are boring skip them if you want for adaults the think the boring parts are cool but they are not kids think the boring parts are boring i hope you like the book thanks watch tv if you dont wanna this is what peoples parents say dont watch tv read a book thats what parents say bye everyone....!