Book Review: The Shadows Between Us

The Shadows Between Us – Tricia Levenseller – Feiwel and Friends – Published 25 February 2020




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?

My thoughts

The Shadows Between Us is deviously, deliciously addictive. I was intrigued by the concept of a Slytherin romance, a story where the heroine was set on murder, deceit and gaining power, but I never imagined being so captured by the story, so entranced by Alessandra’s cunning and plotting, and honestly, even if everything else in this book was atrocious — which it certainly wasn’t — I would have stayed for the romance.

Alessandra has three goals. Draw the attention of the Shadow King. Marry him. Kill him and take the kingdom and the power of the throne for herself. She has no problem with step number one, but the Shadow King seems more set on a platonic arrangement between them rather than marriage as he hunts for his parents’ killer. And as a killer draws closer to the King, Alessandra will have to save the king’s life first if she wants to kill him herself.

Female empowerment. Alessandra radiates it. She does what she wants and plans to give that same power to as many women as possible. And while she isn’t exactly nice, she is fair and never judges. If her friends, or strangers, would rather not act as she does, if they have different plans for their lives and bodies, she is okay with that and believes everyone else should be too.

Alessandra is a fantastic anti-hero. I loved her plans of murder and over-throwing the king to take power for herself. But while she doesn’t feel for the poor, has no plans to make any changes to the displacement of power and wealth, and has no time for charity, she isn’t unlikeable. In fact, I rather admired her determination, desire to live exactly as she wishes and free from the opinions of others. She is rather awesome. But she isn’t a hero and I loved that the author was able to give us readers a true anti-hero, with no ‘oh, she’s actually kind hearted underneath all that’, no deviations in her character.

The romance simply steams in this book. It is sultry and sexy. Alessandra isn’t afraid to use her charms to get what she wants, but being drawn to the king, to his power, to his style of ruling, to the way he cuts down those that get in his way, is a surprise to her and she has to decide to either fight against or go with her growing feelings and desire for the king.

The Shadows Between Us is a unique fantasy novel. No magic, just a wonderful politically driven story of intrigue, court relationships and romance.

The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.

More information

Category: Young adult fiction

Genre: Fantasy.

Themes: Murder, royalty, power, empowerment, sexual relationships, women.

Reading age guide: Ages 14/15 and up (publishers say 13).

Advisory: Strong, frequent sexual references, casual sexual relationships, anatomy and sexual innuendo. Violence, murder and death.

Published: 25 February 2020 by Feiwel and Friends.

Format: Hardcover, ebook, audiobook. 336 pages.

ISBN: 9781250189967

Find it on Goodreads


  1. happytonic

    Loved this book and loved your review!❤ Alessandra has so much vitality and wicked determination.

    • Madison's Library

      Thanks. I’m so glad you enjoyed it too. I loved Alessandra for exactly the reasons you mentioned. I was talking to my HS book club and we were trying to list other books that do a good job of having the main character be ‘evil’ / not your typical heroine. Do you know of any?

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