Review: Nightshade by Brooke Radley

Eleanor Reed spent most of her life at the Darten Academy, trading her childhood for an education in magic. When the King’s Council comes to her with a mission, she jumps at the opportunity for adventure. The assignment is deceptively simple: infiltrate the Nightshade Brotherhood, the city’s infamous thieves’ guild, and confirm their responsibility for the recent emergence of a hallucinogenic drug.

Unfortunately for her, the Brotherhood hates mages. If they catch Eleanor, they’ll slit her throat and toss her in the ocean.

Hiding her identity proves to be an impossible task. Cassandra, a thief as beautiful as she is dangerous, sees Eleanor cast a spell during her trial for the Brotherhood. Rather than kill her, Cassandra offers her a position in the guild. Cassandra holds the key to success for Eleanor—but is she after something more?

Under Cassandra’s tutelage, Eleanor discovers that the Brotherhood isn’t quite what it seems to be, and the ever-growing drug problem is more complicated than originally anticipated. Whoever is at fault will stop at nothing to get what they want.

Things go from bad to worse when Eleanor realizes her growing passion for Cassandra. Will Eleanor be able to decide where her loyalties lie before it’s too late?

This is a work of literary/genre fiction.

DNF @ 21%

I’m just not that into you

I really hate not finishing a book. It grates on me to no end. Even if it’s not a masterpiece, I still want to know what happens, and where the story went wrong for me. I just couldn’t do it here. I cannot drum up the motivation to get even half way through. I can’t pinpoint exactly what the problem is, but I do have a few ideas.

This story sounded interesting. Fantasy + Adventure is usually right up my ally. With an inexperienced mage, right out of the Academy, and a seasoned criminal of the Nightshade Brotherhood; a drug scandal, and risky intel gathering, and it sounds pretty fun.

Unfortunately this just didn’t work for me. I tried…… really hard, but I just couldn’t get into it.
The writing is good, but the flow was very slow for me. It was extremely wordy, and while that may be appealing to some, I found myself 21% into the story, and no real action. Not really my idea of infiltrating a criminal organisation to discover it’s secrets.

While the character building of Eleanor was thorough, none of the supporting characters were built up as well. I also found Eleanor to be a little dry. I think the story would have worked better for me if there was some lightness in it, in the form of a sense of humour. None of them had one. It was extremely serious, which made it drag in dialogue, and narration. This problem, coupled with the lack of secondary character development and I couldn’t connect with the story at all.

Others may enjoy this. The world building was pretty thorough, and I liked the idea of it. It just didn’t capture me, and I really can’t justify trying to pick this story up again.

A review copy was provided by the publisher for an honest opinion

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