For Shade, a chance meeting with a powerful Teleen faery warrior-who wields electrical currents and blue fires along his skin- has her joining him on a treacherous mission for the good Seelie Faerie Court across the land of Faerie. Magic and malice abound and nothing is what it really seems to be.
The evil Unseelie Queen and her treacherous allies are around every corner… as Shade makes her way across the breathtaking landscapes of the world of Faerie, which exists alongside the mundane human world. Shade discovers her own uncharted magic and meets some of the most powerful warriors in Faerie while battling evil dryads, conniving Teleen guards and challenges on her life with every step in a world where nothing can be taken for granted.
This is something hard for me to do, but I have to say it. This was a very difficult read.
When reading the overview of Alexia Purdy’s Ever Shade, I thought, “Huh, this sounds interesting.” That quickly changed. I’ve read my fair share of books over the years, ranging from Manga to Young Adult Supernatural to the Classics and everything in-between. Faeries are not something new to me, and like every other supernatural creature out there, it’s been done before. The trick many authors struggle with is making their tale unique and fresh for the reader. We don’t want to read the same stories, same cliches with different character names.
The story opens up and immediately the reader is left slightly confused, both with the world and the way the story is written. There’s so much dialogue, and most of the time, it’s forced or comes off as inorganic. The word choice and way things are spoken by both the teenage characters and Faerie characters seems strange, and not in the “it’s a fantasy novel” way. For instance, with Shade, the protagonist, she comes off like a stereotypical teen from the viewpoint of someone who is out of touch of how a teenage girl would speak and act.
Even with these issues, I pressed on, but I was once again tripped up.
I thought as the story progressed the grammar and structural issues would smooth themselves out, but I was mistaken. Every few paragraphs I would get jarred right out of the story with spelling and punctuation errors, as well as word choice issues. I feel this could have done with a good edit. I don’t know how all these mistakes managed to make it through publication.
Taking a look at Jack, a Faerie who is made out of blue flames and lightning, I was a little put off by his character. Shade describes him as older than a teen, but not much more than that. We assume he’s older, maybe early twenties or so, but his dialogue makes him seem like he’s the same age as Shade. Being in my early twenties myself, I find it extremely difficult to see this character as completely realized.
As soon as they meet, Shade follows him without another thought to herself and her family. This is not something a normal person would do. He doesn’t provide her enough of a reason to follow him. He could be leading her to her death for all she knew. She didn’t even take the time to think. It was like, “Oh hey, you’re blue and can shoot lighting from your hands. I guess I’ll leave my entire life behind because you tell me to follow you.” Added to that, he reveals the greatest weakness of his kind. Shouldn’t he have made sure that she wasn’t an enemy? Nobody would so easily tell someone their greatest weakness. It makes no sense.
One thing I can say that I enjoyed was the mythology. The author really did her homework in this aspect.
However, after Jack and Shade meet, the story gets rather predictable. Boy meets girl. Girl follows boy. They go on an adventure. Danger ensues, and so on. Even the characters themselves fall into stereotypical roles. There simply isn’t enough of a change from other stories featuring Faerie folk to make this one feel fresh and relevant. Added to that, there simply isn’t enough information about the war going on between the Seelie and Unseelie courts for the reader to be sympathetic to the cause.
There are elements of other books throughout the story, like Purdy has drawn inspiration from these tales, but instead of making them unique, it’s like they were ripped from the pages of the others. For instance, Shade’s journey to collect the magic from the Santiran Fountains feels very much like Frodo’s journey to destroy the ring in Lord of the Rings. A group of warriors has gathered to ensure her safety on the trip, much like the fellowship with Frodo. Also, Ilarial charms Shade’s backpack to make things weightless and the bag itself to be bottomless, much like Hermione’s purse from Harry Potter.
Even Shade herself is reminiscent of another fictional character. She seems not to recognize her own body at times and her emotions and reactions to situations. It’s like there’s a disconnect between her mind and body, much like with Bella from Twilight. This alone makes me cringe. Although many may love the character of Bella, she’s a spineless girl who becomes obsessed with a boy. Not your ideal choice for a heroine.
I have no doubt that many readers, especially those under the age of 17, will enjoy this book along with the rest of the series, as it combines supernatural elements, adventure,and romance. But those looking for a more stimulating and engaging series should look elsewhere.
[Disclaimer: I received a free ebook copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review]
Rating: 1/5 Stars