BEYOND THE SHADOWED EARTH
JOANNA RUTH MEYER
SERIES: Companion Novel (Beneath the Haunting Sea #2)
GENRES/ SUBJECTS: Fantasy
A copy of this was provided free of charge from the publisher in return for an honest review.
I’ve had a hardback of Echo North by Joanna Ruth Meyer on my TBR for ages but I haven’t picked it up yet. I also haven’t read Beneath the Haunting Sea, the companion piece to Beyond the Shadowed Sea. I don’t feel like I need to have read the previous book to enjoy and understand this one, but I am now very much looking forward to reading Meyer’s other books (especially the one I already own).
Meyer’s writing was rich and descriptive while also being really easy and readable. A perfect combination, which had my flying through the first half of the book. I floundered a little during the second half, which might be due to pacing, but just as likely might be the fact that court settings and political scheming are always a particular favourite of mine. It’s the slower pacing of the second half, while Eda’s explores the wilderness and searches for her god, that just dropped this from a four-star by a tad.
The linchpin of Beyond the Shadowed Sea is the character of Eda. While the world-building is interesting and the supporting characters are entertaining, I think the real factor for how much you enjoy this book is how much you connect to her. She’s very much the centre and focus of the story. She’s a complicated character and one who makes a whole raft of bad choices. She’s in way over her head and makes some terrible mistakes. While I disagreed with a lot of her choices, I found her a really intriguing and relatable character. I love driven, ambitious women, morally grey characters and redemption arcs. If you do too, Eda might be the perfect protagonist for you.
Beyond the Shadowed Sea is an action-packed story with a powerful protagonist. It’s great fun, immersive and memorable. I’m really looking forward to picking up more of Meyer’s writing.
It has always been Eda’s dream to become empress, no matter the cost. Haunted by her ambition and selfishness, she’s convinced that the only way to achieve her goal is to barter with the gods. But all requests come with a price and Eda bargains away the soul of her best friend in exchange for the crown.
Years later, her hold on the empire begins to crumble and her best friend unexpectedly grows sick and dies. Gnawed by guilt and betrayal, Eda embarks on a harrowing journey to confront the very god who gave her the kingdom in the first place. However, she soon discovers that he’s trapped at the center of an otherworldly labyrinth and that her bargain with him is more complex than she ever could have imagined.
Set in the same universe as Joanna’s debut, Beneath the Haunting Sea, Beyond the Shadowed Earth combines her incredible world building and lush prose with a new, villainous lead.
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