Title: Best Left in the Shadows (Echoes of the Ascended, #3)
Release Date: 15th November 2015
“I can’t help it! I’m addicted!” – Rachel, Paein and Ms4Tune.
“Why you should read it: One of the most engaging and well written fantasy novellas I’ve ever read!” – Kira’s NetGalley Book Blog.
“Swashbuckling mystery! Nope, there are no pirates in this book, but the word “swashbuckling” came to mind while I was reading it. Must be because the story has scenes in docks, canals, dark alleys, and brothels. Plus there are battles involving swords, knives and a big ass scythe being handled by a kickass heroine.” – Leah, White Sky Project.
ECHOES OF THE ASCENDED, #3: BEST LEFT IN THE SHADOWS
A Highside girl. Beaten. Murdered. Her body found on a Lowside dock. A magistrate comes looking for answers. For justice.
Alys trades and sells secrets among the gangs and factions of Lowside. She is a daughter of the underworld. Bold. Cunning. Free. When an old lover asks for help, she agrees. For a price.
Together, they travel into the dark heart of the underworld in search of a killer.
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!
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!
ABOUT MARK GELINEAU AND JOE KING
The defining moments in Mark Gelineau’s early life really trace back to two events. One was the discovery of an old cardboard box that had belonged to his grandfather. Inside that box was a collection of comic books, resplendent in their four color glory. Even though he had never met his grandfather, finding that box passed on a love of thrilling stories and daring adventure from one generation to another.
The second event was when his mother took him a to showing of Star Wars. For the entire duration of the movie, Mark sat with his mouth open and his small hands gripping the armrests. The better to pretend to fly the spaceships you see.
Since those early days, Mark has loved the stories of the imagination, the stories that transport a person from the world they know into new realities, distant domains, and realms of wonder. Even more than the stories themselves though, Mark discovered the sheer joy of sharing those stories. Taking them out of the cardboard box and into the hands of friends and family. This drove Mark first to education, where he could talk about the amazing stories out there in the world, and then eventually to writing, where he could try and write some of those stories for himself.
Gelineau and King is the extension of that joy. A place where Mark and his partner, Joe King, can take the stories they create out of the box and put them out there in the world.
Joe King spent most of his childhood doing what he loved most – building things with his friends. He built friendships, stories, worlds, games, imagination, and everything in between.
After a brief career in software, for a while, he pretty much gave up on the idea of building anything. Five years later, the woman who would become his wife, rode in on a white horse and changed his life forever. Another five years, and two beautiful daughters later, Joe is building new unimaginable things.
Joe believes in the power of stories, dreams, family, friendship, and getting your ass kicked every once in a while.
More than anything, he wants to tell a good story, and, for him, Gelineau & King is the constant reminder that it’s never too late to start building the things you love.
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