ARC Review: Best Left in the Shadows by Mark Gelineau and Joe King

27411212Rating: 3/5

Published: November 15th, 2015, self-published

Series: Echoes of the Ascended, Best Left in the Shadows #1

Length: 80 pages

Genre: Fantasy, mystery

Source: I received a copy from the authors via NetGalley.

Amazon | Goodreads

Summary from Goodreads:

A Highside girl. Beaten. Murdered. Her body found on a Lowside dock. A magistrate comes looking for answers. For justice.

Alys trades and sells secrets among the gangs and factions of Lowside. She is a daughter of the underworld. Bold. Cunning. Free. When an old lover asks for help, she agrees. For a price.

Together, they travel into the dark heart of the underworld in search of a killer.

So back when I first joined NetGalley, I found Mark Gelineau and Joe King’s “Echoes of the Ascended.” Basically, they have a number of series all set in the same world. This is the first book in the Best Left in the Shadows series and is the third series overall in the Echoes of the Ascended.

I’ve reviewed a few of their novellas before and really liked them so I went into this expecting to also really enjoy this one. It was a good story, but was ultimately forgettable.

First of all, I went into this expecting a fantasy story because the previous novellas I’ve read by Gelineau and King were very much fantasy. They tended to focus on battling monsters and/or the powers that people had as Razors. Other than one person who Alys & Dax fight being a Razor, the fantasy elements weren’t there at all. It was much more of a mystery.

This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. But the problem I had with it was that because this is a novella, everything gets resolved very quickly. This led to me feeling like everything was just too easy to figure out and fix. The story opens with the discovery of a dead body and by the end of that same day, we find the suspect. It felt too rushed, as did the rest of the story. I think this particular story would’ve worked much better as a full-length novel.

The best part of this novella for me was Alys. She’s our main character and what I liked so much about her was that she’s badass, smart, and witty. She knows how to survive in her environment and how to protect herself (both physically and emotionally).

All in all, this wasn’t a bad story, but it moved too quickly and ultimately seemed like a pretty forgettable story. If you’ve read and enjoyed Gelineau and King’s novellas in the past, I’d still recommend reading this one, but be aware that it is a bit different from what they normally write.

3 stars

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