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    Engrossing, In-depth Fantasy

    I’m new to the writings of L. Penelope, but I found this novel to be a great introduction. Whispers of Shadow & Flame: Earthsinger Chronicles, Book Two is the continuation of her fantasy series. The Mantle, the magical barrier which separates the countries of Lagrimar and Elsira, is failing. All previous breaches of the Mantle led to war between the countries. This breach could be the one that brings the barrier down completely. Kyara of Lagrimar and Darvyn of Elsira are the best their respective countries have to offer. They have opposing powers and are members of opposing factions but develop tentative respect for each other. Kyara and Darvyn will have to put aside their differences and join forces to battle both age-old and new powers to save their countries from a war that could destroy them all. L. Penelope has built a world of vast wonders, some vibrant and some desolate. The characterization is top-notch. Though most are imbued with magical powers, the characters are still believable and well-developed. The author’s ability to smoothly handle the numerous characters without confusing the reader is a wonder in and of itself. The varying background scenery adds depth to the story and proves the author’s world-building skill. The plot is engrossing and held my attention from the first page to the last. The ending is a perfect lead-in for future installments. Book two of Whispers of Shadow & Flame is a strong 5 out of 5 star read that I throughly enjoyed. I recommend it to those who enjoy in-depth fantasy/sci-fi. My thanks to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for the opportunity to read an advance copy of this book. However, the opinions expressed in this review are 100% mine and mine alone.
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