Thank you Sapphire Ink Press for the chance to read and review An Incarnation of Shadow and Light by S. A. Christianson!
Books are possibly the one space where a review can really make a difference in sales. I genuinely don’t know how it works for other products, but everyone has a goodreads and everyone googles before they buy a book. But when you’re an indie author who didn’t have someone market you and get you those initial arc review, what do you do?
That’s where book tour companies like Sapphire Ink Press step in! Sapphire Ink Press was started by the author Kathryn Marie to help other indie authors out with their releases! For us book bloggers, this means we get a chance to hear about a lot of different books from debut or indie authors! Today, as part of this tour I’m reviewing An Incarnation of Shadow and Light by S. A. Christianson.
An Incarnation of Shadow and Light by S. A. Christianson
An Incarnation of Shadow and Light is a historical fantasy novel that was self-published by the author. It comes out on the 8th of November and is a whopping 487 pages. It’s meant to be dark fantasy, which gives me the vibe that fans of The Atlas Six by Olivia Blake, will absolutely be open to reading this one! It is also the authors debut novel and will be available on Kindle Unlimited on the 8th of November.
Four magicians abuse their magic to gain power in a corrupt Victorian inspired world.
In the Kingdom of Verchiél only a handful of people known as Incarnate can use magic. Equally feared and respected, they are revered as saints and indulged like gods. But the sudden deaths of Verchiél’s rulers unleashes a power struggle between four Incarnate, each seeking power to fulfil their own desires.
Gabriel, a charismatic socialite who takes darker paths to avoid slipping back into powerlessness.
Zoe, the daughter of a disgraced merchant, determined to carve a new path for her life.
Niklas, an exiled prince trying to escape the ghosts of his past.
Silje, an assassin who will stop at nothing until she’s seized the adoration she has always been denied.
Infighting and betrayal run rampant as each becomes worse than their problems in order to solve them.
An Incarnation of Shadow and Light has a lot of potential! With a cover like that and the blurb promising us power, assassins, and princes, you’re looking at a book that’ll easily be added to anyone’s TBR Stack! My review is very spoilery! So please move over to another blog if you don’t like spoilers!
The magic system in the book was super interesting! I don’t know if I’ve entirely understood how the magic is passed down (because it feels like there are just supposed to be 2 incarnate for a region at a time, but also how did Zoe and Gabriel have magic before that or am I wrong) but I loved the sun and moon dynamic and how abilities appear and disappear. I also was a huge fan of the start of the book. The way Niklas comes in and sort of realises that Gabriel and Zoe are just soft because they haven’t really fought with their magic is interesting. I also loved how he kinda looked down on them for giving up on where they came from. Zoe barely speaks to her family and Gabriel acts like a spoilt prince.
What runs through me doesn’t make me blessed or selfless, it makes me strong.
My problem with the book lies with the fact that I think the author tried to pull a LOTR or GoT here and added so many different details and subplots that it was hard to keep up. They also destroyed Silje’s character. I liked Dabria, for instance, and I liked that Niklas understood that she had ambition and helped foster it. The author had a chance to make something off that chemistry (and I don’t mean a relationship) but something fun to watch, but Niklas is being wishy washy with how he wants to proceed and Dabria thinks he’s looking to her for approval; both are fine, but pick a dynamic and make it consistent. The whole Ada thing was also just lost on me and I don’t see how and why Zoe picked what she did at the end. Gabriel I liked and actually showed some growth as a character that I could understand. Silje had the most potential of all the characters but I really despised the whole she wanted to be adored dynamic because you have this powerful assassin who can control your thoughts but she has daddy issues?!
All in all, the author has a lot of potential and I’ll be back for a second book by them (whether that is in this series or another). I just had a lot of feelings about this one because I had high expectations. I feel like the authors mistakes are debut author mistakes and will be refined over the course of their writing.
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