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Ratings and Book Reviews (2 2 star ratings
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    Fantasy short story with revenge, sex, and death

    I would rate this 4.25 stars. The first story, Sword Oath, which I thought was a prequel, turned out to be book one. It was a short read and I would recommend you read it first as it establishes who Madan and Serrai are and how they came to be where they are. There are worse things than death, it seems. When Madan and Serrai were given their choice by the Fates, they didn't get to read the fine print. Now, their afterlife is not quite what they expected. They've been in the Shadow Realm three years. The details are teased out as the reader is thrown into the action. There are so many interesting ideas here that could be explored, but are presented like tapas. I wouldn't mind dinner. Given a dangerous task by Grace, the youngest Fate, Madan and Serrai each have their own part to complete. The alternating POV help us understand each characters thoughts and motivations as well as building the tension. While Serrai holds the veil open, Madan has to find the Shades who have escaped. This reminded me of a medieval, pagan, fantasy version of that tv show named Brimstone with Peter Horton, only Madan only has to find 4 Shades and not 113 souls. Once again, I enjoyed that epic high fantasy feel, in a short story. Normally I don't like so much of a book being in the characters' (or the author's) heads with little dialog--here it is essential as most of the battles they face are psychological. The Fates also like to mess with them and have their own agenda. Again, it comes down to the love they have for each other and the author shows that well in a way that makes me root for them. I can't wait for the next adventure. I also wouldn't mind other adventures as the world building continues. These could easily be keep as short stories set in different realms/time periods, or interwoven between the living and the dead as novels. The cover art is by Emma Griffin and fits in with the series, put looks more spooky than the cover of the first book, which is fitting.    
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    Happily Everafter

    A brilliant piece of speculative fiction set in a pre-industrial world, Shadow Realm explores the far reaches of love beyond death and offers a fresh look at afterlife.
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