Review: Best Left in the Shadows (Echoes of the Ascended, #3) by Mark Gelineau and Joe King

Best Left in the Shadows (An Echo of the Ascended, #3 )Best Left in the Shadows by Mark Gelineau

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

ARC kindly provided by Gelineau and King via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


‘Best Left in the Shadows’ is the third novella in the ‘An Echo of the Ascended’ series and the first in the ‘Alys’ series. Under the ‘An Echo of the Ascended’ series are four DISTINCT series, they are: ‘Elinor’, ‘Ferran’, ‘Alys’ and ‘Roan and Kay’. It takes place in the mythical and fantastical world of Aedaron. The novella follows Alys’s story and is as captivating, enthralling and enchanting as the blurb sounds.
Best Left in the Shadows is a fantasy crime noir story that explores the dark underworld of Resa, the capital city. Imagine a cross between Frank Miller’s Sin City and Game of Throne’s King Landing, but with a bit more fun and banter between our characters. Alys, an orphan, was adopted by the gangs that run Lowside. Smart and fearless, Alys trades secrets among the factions of the underworld. Daxton Ellis is a nobleman and magistrate inspector in Highside. A murder of a noble girl brings him back to Lowside. Back to the one person he swore he would never see again. (hint, it’s Alys!) Together, the two of them go in search of a killer.
Daxton Ellis is the male lead; Alys is the female lead. Together these two had great chemistry and individuality were no pushovers to each other’s strong personalities and dynamics. They were complex, resilient and absolutely loveable. The palpable tension between Alys and Dax made it interesting to read about the two.
One of my regrets when reading was the short length of the novella: it left me completely satisfied and enticed but deeply craving for more. Like all its predecessors, I wished it to be longer. The upside was that the novellas provided room for expansion on the world of Aedaron and allowed for these novellas to be knitted together to create an interesting patchwork of an image: one I am entirely too eager to see.
Since this is the third novella I have read which has been written by Mark Gelineau and Joe King, I am familiar with their style. What I really admire about their novellas is how they are able to launch into the story straight away and often start with a BANG! Somehow, their jumping straight into the story doesn’t not ruin it at all by confusion me or making me question stuff; instead, it brings an sense and atmosphere of history and establishment, of thorough development of characters AND plot.
Great detail and AMAZING world-building. Characters are complicated and unique. Compelling and rich. Strong imagery language that forced me to be PRESENT in the story; it twisted and weaved and spinned. I absolutely LOVED it! Everything was very vivid and for that I applaud the authors, Mark and Joe.
Congratulations to Mark Gelineau and Joe King on publishing a 5 STAR novella!

Rating Plan
1 star : Strongly did not like the book, writing and plot was bad. Idea of the book was against my liking.
2 star : Didn’t like it, didn’t find it interesting or gripping. Seemed to drag on to me.
3 star : An average book. Wasn’t bad or good. Everything else was well done. Original idea.
4 star : Like a 3 star but has potential to it as a series or the book grew on me as it progressed and certain scenes captured me. I Enjoyed it and read it in one sitting.
5 star : I LOVED IT! I stayed up late until 3 am. Author is a genius, characters, plot, idea, development, EVERYTHING was EXCELLENT. Nothing else can possibly be said except that its 5 STAR!

View all my reviews


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