A Life of Shadows: Redemption Saga Series, Book 1 Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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Sawyer Matthews knows how to put one foot in front of the other, to keep moving while the nightmares haunt her and her own failures taunt her. She's become a master at doing awful things with good intentions, terrible things for the sake of those who need her. She's long given up on being the hero, trying to find peace in no longer being the villain.
When her past comes back and she finds herself caught by the International Magi Police Organization, she'll have to revisit her own personal hells and finally confront the very monster that made her what she is. The very monster that has already killed her once before.
Will the "dead" Magi assassin Shadow finally come out of the dark to begin a fight for a redemption she doesn't believe she deserves? Or will her nightmares drag her back into the shadows that have defined her life?
Contains mature themes.
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|Listening Length||12 hours and 9 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||October 30, 2018|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #90,273 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#1,338 in Urban Fantasy
#2,316 in Paranormal Fantasy
#2,769 in Paranormal Romance (Audible Books & Originals)
Top reviews from the United States
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I enjoyed the Wild Pride series, though it had its issues, but Kristen Banet has clearly grown by leaps and bounds as an author. This was beautifully done. Well, except that it needs a good line edit to fix all the prepositions, determiners and other small words missing currently - and there are a lot of them. But it didn't overly hamper my enjoyment of the story.
Honestly, I loved this so much that I kept reading slower and slower and slower the farther I got. I really didn't want it to end, even knowing the next book is to be released in less than two weeks.
Banet has created one of the all-time great main characters in Sawyer. She is fiesty, sassy, and incredibly strong, but also damaged. She has both a dark side and a deep well of sadness with which she is struggling to cope. And she manages very well without being self-pitying or whiny or even so broken that it is hard to read - but all very believably and capably handled by the author.
And Sawyer's men. She has created five very distinct individuals, all of whom are rather unique. Something that is becoming more and more rare as the RH genre grows. Quinn is a tour de force - scary and crazy and strange and utterly unique. And I adore his character! Elijah, Mr. Cowboy, is a doll and sexy as hell. And the others - Vincent, Zander, and Jasper - are coming into their own.
Clearly Banet knows how to write compelling and interesting characters.
The world-building is also wonderful. I love her take on the paranormal with the Magi. The way she has developed that concept is interesting and a unique twist. She has solidly built the world, and it is immersive. I love that she has filled it with as much intrigue and darkness as she has idealism and light. Actually MORE of the dark than the light.
I also loved the fact that she managed to bring solid closure at the end of this first book. I greatly appreciate the lack of a cliffhanger! But the story she has crafted is so compelling that I will be eagerly awaiting the next book.
Honestly, I found very little to criticize in this great first book. Aside from the editing issue, that is.
Oh - and I found all the cigarette smoking that was almost emphasized to be very off-putting. In this day and age, anything that glorifies smoking doesn't seem like a great idea. Not to mention, picturing a love interest as a smoker just makes me want to gag. It's like kissing an ash tray and stinks in general.
(Edit: I have clearly come off as far too judgmental with this comment about the smoking. And it was not my intent. I am not going to remove it, because it reflects my thoughts at the time, and it does bother me. However, it also is part of what makes Kristen's characters so very believable and REAL. We all have vices, and often they are our coping mechanism, so including them in a book that, as Kristen accurately points out, is far from YA grounds a character in something real. And I want to commend the author for that. My knee-jerk reaction to it is my own personal issue - as a former smoker, and one who lost several family members to lung cancer as a result of smoking. I will add, too, for those of you who have not yet read the book, the issue only comes up a handful of times. It is not something that is shoved in your face - it is just part of who the characters are. And Kristen has a very good blog post explaining her point of view in a blog post at KristenBanetAuthor on 05/03/2018 about Character Flaws. It is well worth the read. Sorry I cannot directly link it here, but hopefully that will get you there!)
Overall though, if you haven't read this book yet, you really need to. ASAP!
UPDATE PROGRESS NOTES:
88.0% "The author has some sort of cigarette obsession, I swear :( Yet another smoker. The large percentage of smokers in this book does not match the number of people who still smoke in this day and age. And smoking IN a hospital room? With critically injured people. PLEASE!"
75.0% Pot, meet Kettle...thy name is Sawyer - “Don’t keep secrets from me,” she whispered back after a moment. “Ever again.”
70.0% "Quinn...wow, I totally can't resist Quinn. Finally a POV chapter of his, and I am sunk! Not that I don't kinda have a thing for all the guys in their own way."
68.0% "Sawyer is da bomb. 'Nuff said."
48.0% Great line! "For a mystery wrapped in an enigma with more than a bit of danger topping it off, he was an insanely attractive man."
46.0% "Lots of funny little typos like this (mostly missing words like 'the' or 'with', etc.)."
37.0% "Ugh...in this day and age, why would anyone write smokers into their book?"
34.0% "If they've tied up all Sawyer's funds, how will she keep paying for Liam's apartment and education, and the other good things she is funding? This really sucks :/" (had resolution later)
32.0% "I am really hating the way everything is being handled here in terms of bringing Sawyer in. *sigh* And the tension begins..."
27.0% "You know a book's got you totally hooked when you can't even be bothered to make notes or updates! Loving this one!"
13.0% "Gotta say, I am loving this so far. Compelling world-building and a complex, kick-ass heroine to boot. Plenty of tension and a engrossing backstory. Yay!"
2.0% "The talking out loud to herself to give us backstory about what is going on isn't very believable. Would rather it either narrated or an internal monologue of a checklist. Because who is going to be breaking in somewhere and talking out loud to themselves? Makes no sense."
1.0% "Heh...the glossary is a creative way to dump a lot of worldbuilding/backstory on the reader without reams of exposition. I wonder how many skip over it?"
I love Sawyer, she was a solid morally grey character. She did what she had to to protect the kids in NY. That ending shed light on why she did what she did.
I am a huge fan of the task force and cannot wait to read their relationship, both professionally and emotionally unfold. This is a slooooooow burn but it is so worth it to let each relationship unfold.
My only complaint was all the whispering. I don’t know why it bothered me like it did but there was so many times where characters would randomly whisper that it became an annoying problem for me.
Cannot wait to start the next book!
If you're looking for the quick of it, give Sawyer and her men a chance. Read this book. Read it again. Buy the whole series and enjoy every last well written sentence, creative thought, well crafted detail, and difficult but encouraging feeling from it. And then read it again. Possibly 60 more times, I may be lowballing that number.
Try not to sigh in envy over her handsome and interesting men, who grow because of her and learn from her and teach her that just because you're struggling to love yourself, that doesn't mean you're incapable of being loved by others.
Try not to love this badass, funny, and flawed dark hero. Try not to enjoy -finally- that non-cookie cutter female MC, who isn't blonde and slim and strong without muscles or scars or trauma, who sees her options and chooses the right one, even when it's socially frowned upon, or it's dark or vicious or selfish, because she knows her moral code and she knows what's right. Try not to sympathize with her journey from desperate and damaged to healing and still a lot damaged but hopeful. Try not to cheer her on as she learns how to trust her men with her secrets, her strengths, her weaknesses, and her soft and wonderfully selfish heart. She struggles, but gets back up and keeps trying to be better and stronger, often not even for her sake but for the sake of those she loves.
Because she would fight the world for those she loves. And that ideal is wonderfully encouraged in this series.
I found this book one late night months and months ago while burning through dark romance after reverse harem after romantic comedy after badass sci-fi/fantasy books. I'd been reading and reading and enjoying and reading. Then I found A Life of Shadows, a book that claimed to fit inside all of these little fantastic genres that I love.
I gave it a chance. I've never regretted it.
I have cried every single time I read it. Sometimes it's because the MC struggles through dark scenes and self doubt and previous domestic abuse. Sometimes it's because I see my own struggles in the fight of hers. Sometimes it's because I'm laughing so hard over her sass and her men and their fun and slow burn romance. Or the casual but clear way Elijah's bisexuality is represented, right there and proud and undeniable. Or how Sawyer and Quinn's ethnicity isn't vague nor overspecified, and isn't made to be anything more than part of them and part of how they've grown strong despite others sneaky bigotry. Sometimes I cry because this book just makes me very excited about the idea of powers like blinking or animal bonds or dream walking or SUBLIMATION which is sooo coool. And every so often, I'm hit by the word choice and I sob. Or sometimes... there's a non-spoilery quote that supports me when I'm falling.
'“How do you keep moving forward? After everything is said and done, how do you keep putting one foot in front of the other?”
“I remind myself that I can’t change anything that’s already done,” she said in a hushed tone. “I can only change my future. Not my past.”
“That’s it?” he pressed, and she heard an edge of desperation in it.
“It will always haunt me,” she sighed, placing the file back on the desk. “But that’s all it can do. Haunt me. And it will do so, without mercy, for the rest of my life, but I can continue on. Memories can’t kill me, and I can do whatever is in my power to never live through similar experiences. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.”'
Yep. I love this book.
I love Sawyer, I love Quinn, Elijah, Jasper, Zander, and Vincent. I love the animals bonds and the romance and the goofiness and badass-ness of their comradery. I love the beautiful covers, holy hell do I love the covers, the powerful poses of the muscled main female character and the colors and the hidden symbolism of the shapes behind her.
I love this book. I love this series. I love these stories. I'm so beyond grateful to Kristen Banet for writing them, and for sharing them with us. Just...so many words and yet not enough to explain how much I enjoy these books. So I'll just leave this review.
Top reviews from other countries
Sawyers dark past is coming to light but can she keep the Shadow she’s hidden for so long a secret or will her past self have to come to light in order to save the ones she cares about and loves
2 Star = Finished. Didn’t really enjoy.
3 Star = Finished. Story was neither good nor bad.
3.5 Star = Finished. Story was neither good nor bad. Will probably pick up next in series if there is one.
4 Star = Finished. Enjoyed story & would reread.
5 Star = Stole my heart! ❤️