The Shadow Atlas: Apprentice by Jenny Sandiford
Better Than the First Book!
After the debacle with the gallu and learning that Torin was the one who killed her father, Azalea’s life is a mess. She’s been expelled from the initiate program and blamed for Elam’s death, but to make matters worse, the Archmage has made her Torin’s apprentice. Now, she has to help him search for the rest of the twelve relics, all the while balancing her feelings for Erik and the mess of her soul bond with Torin.
I wasn’t sure about this book when I first got into it, but I had high hopes after the first one. Authors are always learning, and I was sure that after the first book, the writing and plotting would improve as well. I was not disappointed.
The book is once again written in third person limited, though the perspective sometimes shifts from chapter to chapter, depending on who the author wanted to focus on—usually Azalea, Torin, or Fabian. The book begins with another Before section, giving the reader a sneak peek at what the story is going to focus on without any of the characters knowing.
Erik really is a roller coaster in this book. I mentioned in my review of the first book that his 180-personality-change didn’t make sense, but seeing more of his character arc, all the pieces are fitting together. Things between him and Azalea get much more heated after their kiss during the battle with the corporeal gallu, much to Torin’s dismay. There’s an obvious love triangle here, which is not my favourite thing to read, but I know a lot of people enjoy it—especially with the added tension because of Torin’s past.
The writing quality definitely went up in this book compared to the first. While in Initiate I found quite a few sentences that were worded in ways that were confusing to me, this book had none of that. It all flowed a lot smoother, and the text was clear and easy to read. Sandiford’s style is casual but not too much so, maintaining seriousness in the tense situations and warmth in friendly ones.
I never felt that the book was moving too fast or too slow story-wise, but the romance was a bit whirlwind for me. I haven’t been in any serious relationship, but I’m definitely not the type of person to fall into a friends-with-benefits type of deal, nor one to dance around a potential romantic interest. Because of that, I felt a bit lost in reading those parts; I’m sure others would feel differently.
I’m also super impressed (again) with the beauty of these books. Many self-published authors fall into a pit after realizing just how expensive it is to publish a book on their own, and they cut corners where they shouldn’t. Sandiford hasn’t done that here. The entire book is edited in detail, the covers are all compelling, and the interior formatting is clean and professional. I love it all.
This whole series is great for readers who loved Harry Potter but want an older, more mature cast of characters.
I received a free copy of this book and am voluntarily leaving a review.