Stalking Shadows by Cyla Panin

Disclaimer: I received this e-arc from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book: Stalking Shadows

Author: Cyla Panin

Book Series: Standalone

Diversity: 1 same sex couple

Rating: 3/5

Recommended For…: young adult readers, fantasy, retelling

Genre: YA Fantasy Retelling

Publication Date: September 14, 2021

Publisher: Amulet Books

Pages: 400

Recommended Age: 14+ (kidnapping TW, anxiety TW, romance, child abuse TW, slight violence and gore)

Explanation of CWs: Slight romance, gore, and violence. Anxiety is present through a lot of the story. Kidnapping is integral to the story. Child abuse is touched on.

Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Marie mixes perfumes to sell on market day in her small eighteenth-century French town. She wants to make enough to save a dowry for her sister, Ama, in hopes of Ama marrying well and Marie living in the level of freedom afforded only to spinster aunts. But her perfumes are more than sweet scents in cheap, cut-glass bottles: A certain few are laced with death. Marie laces the perfume delicately—not with poison but with a hint of honeysuckle she’s trained her sister to respond to. Marie marks her victim, and Ama attacks. But she doesn’t attack as a girl. She kills as a beast.

Marking Ama’s victims controls the damage to keep suspicion at bay. But when a young boy turns up dead one morning, Marie is forced to acknowledge she might be losing control of Ama. And if she can’t control her, she’ll have to cure her. Marie knows the only place she’ll find the cure is in the mansion where Ama was cursed in the first place, home of Lord Sebastien LeClaire. But once she gets into the mansion, she discovers dark secrets hidden away—secrets of the curse, of Lord Sebastien . . . and of herself.

Review: For the most part, I enjoyed this book. It had a well done story and I was immediately intrigued by it in the beginning. It had great world building as well.

However, I felt like the plot of the book differed from where the characters were going. The sisters are supposed to be super bonded but aren’t really in the book? The book slowed down significantly after the first few chapters. And the character development suffered a lot from the slow book and the lack of connection between them and the reader.

Verdict: It was ok, but could be better.

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