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The Shadow of Theron by Kathryn Troy


Publisher: City Owl Press

Date of publication: February 28th, 2023

Genre: Fantasy

Publication Links: Kindle | B&N | Kobo

Trigger Warnings: Death, Torture, Rape

Goodreads Synopsis:

The powers of old are fading. A new Age is dawning.

Holy relics are all that remain of Theron’s sacred legend. Now those relics, the enchanted weapons forged by the Three-Faced Goddess to help Theron defeat the wicked Sorcerer Argoss, are disappearing.

Lysandro knows the village magistrate Marek is responsible, and he searches for proof disguised as the masked protector the Shadow of Theron. But when Marek wounds him with an accursed sword that shouldn’t exist, Lysandro must find a way to stop Marek from gaining any more artifacts created by the Goddess or her nemesis. The arrival of the beautiful newcomer Seraphine, with secrets of her own, only escalates their rivalry.

As the feud between Lysandro and Marek throws Lighura into chaos, a pair of priestesses seeks to recover the relics and return them to safekeeping. But the stones warn that Argoss is returning, and they must race to retrieve Theron’s most powerful weapon. But as they risk their lives for a legend, only one thing is certain. The three temples to the Goddess have been keeping secrets: not just from the faithful, but from each other.

Wheel of Time readers and fans of Sarah Maas, Saladin Ahmed, and Trudy Canavan will delight in this fantasy adventure duology infused with romance.

First Line:

It would have been a pleasant day, if not for the hanging.

The Shadow of Theron by Kathryn Troy

Holy relics, given to the hero Theron to defeat the sorcerer Argoss, have been disappearing from temples across the land. Two priestesses, one a warrior and the other a mystic, have embarked on a journey to discover where the relics are going. Meanwhile, in the coastal village of Lighura, a rivalry between a wealthy don and an evil magistrate is reaching its pinnacle. Disguised as the vigilante, the Shadow of Theron, the don will discover something more ancient and evil happening. And at the center lies the truth about Theron, the hero who killed Argoss and formed legends. Will good triumph over evil? Or will evil usher in a new age?

The Shadow of Theron took forever to get going. It was slow; when I mean slow, it tiptoed along for about half the book. Usually, that would be a strike against the book. But in this case, it worked. The author created this vibrantly vivid world (which gave me Italian/Spanish vibes) with a rich culture and complex religious system. I was enthralled by it.

The main storyline focuses on Lysandro, his rivalry with Merek, his drive to prove that Merek was stealing the relics, and his obsession with winning over Sera’s heart. It was an exciting and riveting storyline that captured my attention from the beginning and held it until the end of the book. Under his vigilante persona (which reminded me of Zorro), Lysandro stalked and gathered evidence on Merek. There were some epic battle scenes, including the one at the beginning of the book where Lysandro was almost killed by a sword shard that had only been a legend. This storyline had a neat twist when Elias (Lysandro’s father) dropped a big bombshell on him.

The storyline with the relics being stolen, Sanico, the two priestesses charged with finding them, and their journey were captivating. Of course, the author didn’t hide that Merek was behind everything. The book is told from his point of view, and it is disclosed early on. I didn’t understand why the priestesses were getting their storyline until the middle of the book. Then a lightbulb went on in my head. The author was showing how disconnected the temples were. Instead of working together, there was infighting. How does Sanico fit into this storyline? Later in the book, he witnesses a horrific act of vandalism and murder. His testimony (and his holding off on executing Merek) ushers in the book’s last part.

There is an amusing play that lightens the tone of the book. When I read it, I called it (in my head) the intermission. It was a palate cleanser for the brain and foreshadowed what would come in the book’s last half.

I liked Lysandro in The Shadow of Theron. He was a genuinely good person looking out for the best of his village. As I mentioned above, his alter ego (the Shadow of Theron) foiled Merek’s plans over and over throughout the book. I wasn’t a huge fan of his obsession with Sera, but it didn’t lessen my enjoyment of the book. Once the author brought everything together at the end, Lysandro came out on top. Not going to say what happened, but it was pretty epic!!

I had difficulty getting to know Sera during the book’s first half. The author kept everything about her on lockdown. There were hints that the king (the doge’s brother) didn’t treat her very well, but the author never explained it. As for her romance with Lysandro and her infatuation with the Shadow of Theron, I was waiting for her to put two and two together. And I didn’t blame her for her reaction. If I wasn’t sure about her at the beginning of the book, the last half put my doubts to rest. She was a freaking boss when it came to Merek. I would have been whooping up a storm for her if I wasn’t in bed.

Sanico was a central secondary character until almost the end of the book. I liked him and wanted him to succeed at what he was trying to do. So, it was a massive punch to the gut when what happened to him happened. I cried over him. It was a shame, and I was so mad that it happened.

The other major secondary characters were the two priestesses (the Examiners) tracking down the missing relics. They had an almost impossible job, and they did it well. I want to see where they will end up in book 2.

The fantasy angle of The Shadow of Theron was well written. It wasn’t over the top (not a ton of magic or mystical beasts), and the lore made the nerd in me want more. I want to read more about Theron because what was revealed at the cottage was interesting.

There is romance in The Shadow of Theron, and it is Instalove. But the way the author stretched it out was alright. Sera made Lysandro work for her heart (it wasn’t Instalove on her end).

I want to give a heads-up about the trigger warnings I included at the top of this post. This book isn’t your typical high fantasy romp. Nope, it is a dark fantasy, and it does contain dark scenes. There are scenes of graphic death (the first chapter is a man being hung), torture (Merek does it to several people throughout the book, some are graphic, some are not), and rape (Sera’s mother is raped in front of her as punishment). If any of these trigger you, I recommend not reading this book.

The end of The Shadow of Theron was insane. While I did expect what happened with Lysandro and Sera, I did not expect what was revealed after their scenes were done. My jaw dropped. It was the mother of all twists and has made me want to read more.

I would recommend The Shadow of Theron to anyone over 21. There is violence and sexual situations but no language. Also, see my trigger warning paragraph.

Many thanks to Kathryn Troy for allowing me to read and review The Shadow of Theron. All opinions stated in this book are mine.

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