HarperCollins Publishers | January 2019 | 464 pgs
In the kingdom of Kichona where Taigas warriors are viewed as an honorable position; their jobs are to serve and to protect the kingdom. 18-year-old Sora and Daemon are both apprentice Taigas warriors who are trained in magic and fighting arts and they're geminas; meaning they're bound by mental connection. Each warrior has their own specialty and while Sora can move stealthily and hurl throwing stars with accuracy, Daemon can win any physical fight blindfolded and with an arm tied around his back.
With their graduation fast approaching, Sora and Daemon are looking forward to their assignments and prove that they're worthy of their rank. Kichona has been stable after the Blood Rift Rebellion many years ago and while it's a good thing, that also means the chance of making their mark might prove difficult, until they encounter a camp of soldiers (that looked a bit like Taigas warriors) behaving strangely. Sora and Daemon decided to prove their worth by observing the group and soon find the horrific truth that will threaten not only their safety but also might tear the entire kingdom apart.
I've to say Circle of Shadows has a fascinating background of a fantasy story, whatwith the combination of a magic element and fighting arts set in a kingdom filled with a mythology of Zomuri, their god of glory, and the paradise of Evermore in which he'd grant one's wish of this paradise on earth should he sacrifice two hundred Kichonans lives in the Ceremony of Two Hundred Hearts. As much as the blurb is promising, I found the execution and the writing style to be a letdown (too much repetition and is a little choppy). The only thing which kept me reading is the characters but then the developments and the world building aren't that strong enough to leave an impression (perhaps it's the first book?). I'm not sure if I'd continue with this series since I read and skimmed here and there. However, there are mixed reviews of this book on Goodreads so perhaps this simply isn't a good fit to my reading taste.
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