The Beckoning Shadow: ARC Review

This ARC was sent to me by the publisher via Storygram Tours. All thoughts and opinions expressed are completely my own and not influenced in any way. After reading the ARC I pre-ordered my own copy of the book. Thank you to Katherine Tegen Books and Storygram Tours for giving me a chance to read this book early.

The Beckoning Shadow
Author: Katharyn Blair
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: July 2, 2019
Synopsis: Vesper Montgomery can summon your worst fear and turn it into a reality—but she’s learned the hard way that it’s an addicting and dangerous power. One wrong move and you could hurt someone you love.

But when she earns a spot in the Tournament of the Unraveling, where competitors battle it out for a chance to rewrite the past, Vesper finally has a shot to reverse the mistakes that have changed her forever. She turns to Sam Hardy, a former MMA fighter who’s also carrying a tragedy he desperately wants to undo. However, helping heal Sam’s heart will mean breaking her own, and the competition forces her to master her powers—powers she has been terrified of since they destroyed her life.

Rating: The Beckoning Shadow is the electric debut novel from Katharyn Blair, filled with snarky and strong characters, a magical fight club, and heart-breaking plot twists. Welcome to my new favorite book!
4.75 stars

The first thing that drew me into The Beckoning Shadow was the atmosphere: dark, gritty, and oh so real. From the moment we first meet Vesper Montgomery on her ill-fated bus ride through San Francisco, I was entranced by Blair’s seemingly effortless world building. Every scene is exquisitely crafted in a way that makes the reader feel as though they are with Vesper the whole time. I felt the cold as she walked the streets of San Francisco alone, smelled the sweat and blood from the Oddity fights, and experienced the wonder and magic and nature of the forest party (side note: I WANT A MAGICAL FOREST PARTY).

The story centers on Vesper as she navigates the dark, underworld of Oddities (humans with special powers) and tries to come to terms with tragedies from her past. Vesper is a Harbinger, one with the ability to identify the fears of others and manipulate them or literally pull the fear into reality. When she falls in with a group of oddities she stumbles upon the Tournament of Unraveling and a chance to undo the moment she lost everything in her life. All she has to do is learn to control her abilities and betray the person trying to help her.

Vesper is a series of contradictions that make her wonderfully human and relatable. She is strong and confident, yet vulnerable and conflicted, and she certainly doesn’t always make the smartest decisions, but everything comes from her heart. Blair slowly teases out Vesper’s history throughout the story, giving us insights into how she learned of her powers and how they led to the tragedy she wishes to undo. All her characterization culminates in a wonderfully complex female main character that is inspiring but in a realistic and approachable way.

The rest of the cast of characters get varying amounts of development, but I felt I knew them all for who they were within this story. I’m definitely looking forward to more exploration of some side characters in the next book. The plot and pacing were tight and well thought out. I never felt like we were languishing in any part of the story. Some of my favorites parts were the training and fight scenes. Blair writes fighting and movement in a way that makes me deeply envious.

I knew when I read the synopsis of this book that I would enjoy it, but I certainly wasn’t expecting to love it quite as much as I did. Considering this is Katharyn Blair’s debut novel, I can only imagine the great stories we can expect from her in the future.

The Beckoning Shadow by Katharyn Blair is available NOW! Pick up a copy at the publisher’s website!

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