Review: The Shadow Cipher (York, #1) by Laura Ruby

The Shadow Cipher (York, #1)The Shadow Cipher by Laura Ruby
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

ARC kindly provided by HarperCollins Australia in exchange for an honest review.


‘The Shadow Cipher’ was a wonderfully written novel which I thought had great potential but seemed to lack just a little bit of something which would really give it that “umph” and rocket the 4 star rating to 5.
The initial opening of the novel was just FANTASTIC. We had a strong female character who really knew how to defend herself against anything and everything. She seemed smart, witty, tough, resilient, intelligent, beautiful and simply amazing. Everything you could ever wish from a protagonist. In one word: Femme Fatale. And she was just mesmerizingly mysterious. I love enigmatic characters simply because there is SO much to find out about them. They keep the plot going and the reader – me – hooked. Alas, this character was NOT who this novel was meant to follow the perspective of. A great tragedy in my opinion, since she would have made even the pickiest reader interested.
The rest of the characters themselves were slightly lacking. They were just your average, stereotypical, archetypical characters who were spiced up with different nationalities and the fact that the two lead characters were twins. Seriously, the use of twins to make a novel exciting is a little outdated and in need of reconsideration. If twins are REALLY what you need to convey the story to all of its glory, then twins are a great choice. However, the novel seemed to be riding a lot of its merit on the fact that there were twins. And I am a twin. Which obviously makes me love anything twinish.
The pace was well set, however the novel lost its interest around the middle part of the plot. All these characters seemed to be running around doing something and it was just not gripping enough. I wanted more action, more ingenuity. It seemed like our bright and brilliant children couldn’t seem to show that off as well as they ought to have. The rest of the characters were in need of something to make them more interesting. I have to admit, some were most decidedly BIZARE – like the angsty/raging/goth/scary little girl who rode around everywhere on a tricycle with a small, rodent like pet hybrid.
I loved the idea explored in the novel, and it seemed absolutely enchanting on reading the blurb. I love all novels that explore intellect, wisdom and genius however it takes a lot to execute one. The ending did make up for it, however I wanted something just a little bit bigger.
World-building was great. I loved this mix of Victorian-England and New York. Absolutely enchanting and would make me spend my entire days within it. Plus the automaton that filled the pages were enchanting – they made me want to take them apart, learn how to build them and put them back together again.
This would make an amazing read for ages 10-14.
Congratulations to Laura Ruby on publishing a promising start to a new series!

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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