Beyond the Shadowed Earth by Joanna Ruth Meyer
Released: January 14, 2020
Eda did whatever it took in order to secure her place as Empress. With a promise made to the gods, the throne is hers--but it comes with a cost. Years after her barter, Eda's world begins to crumble around her, and the price for her throne is paid with the life of her closest friend. When lies are brought to light and Eda's own life hangs in the balance, she sets forth on a journey to confront the god who betrayed her. But, the bargain she thinks she made is so much more than what meets the eye, and Eda finds herself in the middle of an otherworldly battle between light and dark--and she may be the only one who can stop it.
Overall, this was an interesting fantasy read. However, I felt like I was reading a new book during each new section (there were three). There is a separate book that was released first and this is set in the same world, so perhaps reading the other book might help ease my confusion.
Out of three sections, I have to say, the middle is probably my favorite part, and I read that rather quickly. This is where we were got to understand Eda and the gods of her world, where the action truly begins and the story starts making sense on a deeper level.
I think I would have liked if the first half was interspersed inside the second as flashbacks or something, or if it had been a different book entirely. The first part set the scene and introduced the characters, and it really helped showcase Eda's character growth over the next two sections, but it unfortunately didn't work for me the way it was set up. And Eda changed so much over the next two sections that it didn't even feel like I was reading the same character after a certain point. This was a bit jarring as I moved through the book.
The third part left me mostly confused and wanting answers. This is where a lot of the magic and gods started being introduced on a deeper level, and I have to say it was very confusing. I think at some point she turns into a bird? I was pretty lost during most of this third section, until the very end. But, the ending itself was a little lackluster compared to the build up I felt through the other section.
As I said, perhaps if it were multiple books, the author could have dug into the story more and really made the world and its characters come more to life. As a standalone, I think there were too many things going on for each of them to stand on their own the way they needed to. Many things became overshadowed or set too closely to something else that it all ran together.
Overall, I didn't enjoy it as much as I wanted to. It took me a long time to get through it. I think it had a lot of potential, but sadly missed the mark.