In case you somehow didn’t hear about it, I went to a Chloe Gong book signing last month. At that event, Chloe was in conversation with fellow author Evelyn Skye. It was important to me to read something of Evelyn’s before attending the event and I started with her debut duology, The Crown’s Game. At the same time that I borrowed those books from my library, I also checked out her next duology, Circle of Shadows. It’s been awhile since I read The Crown’s Game and its sequel The Crown’s Fate so I’m not going to review those now (but my quick rating for both is 3 stars). Here’s my review for Circle of Shadows and Cloak of Night.
Sora, Daemon, Fairy, and Broomstick are apprentice warriors of the Society of Taigas, individuals marked by the gods to wield magic and protect their kingdom. As their graduation approaches, something sinister is afoot. Sora and Daemon sneak out to investigate while Fairy and Broomstick stay behind to cover for them. It’s a risk to their status within the Society as well as to their lives - and it will change the course of everything as they know it.
Right off the bat, Circle of Shadows comes in red hot with enchanting characters and a world full of magic. Evelyn builds a fantastical world with rules different from our own, but she also has a way of explaining these rules without feel like you’re reading from a textbook. Through the actions of the characters and their interactions with each other and their world, you are able to understand the structure of the kingdom and the Society as well as the way Taigas are able to wield the magic they have been blessed with.
I am a former “gifted” child so Sora feels incredibly relatable. She is smart and talented, but she also doesn’t push herself to be the best she can be. She coasts by on her natural abilities and never strives for more. As she grows through the first book, you see her realize that she hasn’t been living up to her potential and she needs to buckle down and get serious if she expects anyone else to take her seriously.
The gemina bond between Sora and Daemon is kind of a double edged sword for me. I love seeing a boy and a girl have such a strong bond, who love and care for each other so deeply that they would do anything (including give their life if it came down to it) for the other. We need to see more of this deep platonic love in order to subvert the idea that men and women can’t be “just friends.” However, on the other hand, it also feels a little weird for them to be just platonic friends considering they are literally inside each other’s minds.
The cliffhanger at the end of Circle of Shadows leaves you wanting more, but not in a way that makes you feel like you’re going to claw your eyes out if you don’t get it right away. I took a solid six days (and read three books) between Circle of Shadows and Cloak of Night.
That being said, the action in Cloak of Night moved quickly and kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time. Unresolved plots points from Circle of Shadows resurfaced in Cloak of Night and I found myself itching for their resolution. Evelyn did not disappoint.
Several characters had BIG EMOTIONS and you really felt for them through the book. The third person omniscient narrator really allowed for you to understand where each character was coming from. It also caused a lot of hair pulling on my end because if they would just TALK to each other, they would figure things out so much quicker.
Circle of Shadows and Cloak of Night by Evelyn Skye are available now wherever you get your books.