Casting Shadows (Beyond Solstice Gates #1) by Kimm Reid

Rating: 5/5

 

Genre: Junior Fantasy

 

Recommended Age: 10+

 

Favorite Quote: “You must be entirely convinced your heart sees things your eyes do not.”

 

I was provided a free copy of this book by Ahelia Publishing in exchange for an honest review. This did not influence my decision in any way.

 

Today was the Elliot Twins twelfth birthday. It was also the second anniversary of their parents’ deaths, which had been deemed as the most “unexplainably off accident the town has ever seen”. Now the twins live with their Auntie Bella. This day was supposed to be Jennifer’s pity party, but while remembering better days she finds herself whisked away to a strange land where her Auntie Bella and brother Judah already are. Jennifer soon learns that her mamma’s soul has been trapped in Trilleah along with other souls and that if they can’t break the curse that holds the souls then the souls will remain in this awful land forever. Together with Sam, Pierce, and Matt, the constantly clashing clan must make their way through the land and they must learn to look with their hearts to see what is unseen and to hear with their souls to hear that is no spoken in order to find the truth that will destroy the curse and free the souls.

 

While I love stories that use the classic witches, mermaids, giants, etc. I do appreciate when authors decide to come up with a new world on their own. I always feel I should praise those authors for their imagination, especially when the book is excellent. So to start off this review I want to commend Kimm Reid on her FANTASTIC book and for creating this mysterious new world for me to explore! The world building in this book was marvelous! I could picture everything perfectly! The pacing was perfect for a first book in that the story went slowly so that way the reader could spend time exploring this new world. The plot also developed well for a beginning book. It was slow and some of the objectives were repeated, but in my opinion that’s good for book that’s the first in a series and it’s also good for a junior novel! I don’t know about your young readers, but I sometimes would become a little lost if the book was very action-y. So I have always preferred books that were a bit slower and focused on the world building rather than the action. The quality of writing was phenomenal and the book was a very easy read, which are two important qualities in a junior novel. The book was also very insightful. It’s message to young children is to pause, listen, and think rather than letting your fear control you. Think through your fears and your actions before they cause you to do things you’ll regret. All of these elements put together made for a very enjoyable read. This will definitely be a book  I’ll not only treasure forever, but a book I’ll pass onto my children to read when they’re old enough…. and born lol.

 

The only sour points I had about the book were that some of the characters did not get enough character development. While I felt that Jennifer had tremendous improvement and Sam had a bit of back-story, I wanted to hear more of the other character’s stories. I also feel that some young children might not have the patience for a slower read like this one was. I didn’t let this effect the overall score though because there are sequels that will more than likely develop the rest of the characters and the other books in the series will probably not spend so much time world-building as this one did.

 

This series holds great promise to being something magical for me and other children. This is a must read for any young or old fantasy lover!

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