Book Review: The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller


Alessandra is tired of being overlooked, but she has a plan to gain power:

1) Woo the Shadow King.
2) Marry him.
3) Kill him and take his kingdom for herself.

No one knows the extent of the freshly crowned Shadow King’s power. Some say he can command the shadows that swirl around him to do his bidding. Others say they speak to him, whispering the thoughts of his enemies. Regardless, Alessandra knows what she deserves, and she’s going to do everything within her power to get it.

But Alessandra’s not the only one trying to kill the king. As attempts on his life are made, she finds herself trying to keep him alive long enough for him to make her his queen—all while struggling not to lose her heart. After all, who better for a Shadow King than a cunning, villainous queen?



LOL this book was wild. I had a lot of fun reading this one but I also have a lot of thoughts on it.

This book is billed as a ‘Slytherin romance’ and you know what? On that front it totally delivers. Both of the main characters are pretty terrible people. Alessandra is introduced to us recounting the time she was fifteen and murdered her boyfriend because he tried to leave her. What a peach! And the object of her desire is The Shadow King–a somewhat brutal ruler of an ever expanding empire. So…yeah. The thing is with this book is you just have to let yourself have fun with it. It’s not something you want to take too seriously, otherwise you probably won’t enjoy it.

The interesting thing about this story is that it unapologetically sets the story from the POV of a villain. They say that every character is the protagonist of their own story and this book proves that well enough. At times I felt conflicted because I didn’t really want to empathize with either Alessandra or The Shadow King, and yet I couldn’t help but want to root for them and their love. Because, honestly, they’re so good together! And they bring out the best in each other as well. But also they’re both still kind of the worst? Ahahaha. Anyway. It was fun to watch Alessandra try to execute her plan only to fall a victim to her own plans. I did appreciate her tenacity, she’s definitely a character who doesn’t give up. Of course to go along with this is the fact that she’s also a murdering, conniving, psychopath. 🙂

The plot of this book really hinges on the romance, but this is another plot as well that revolves around who killed The Shadow King’s parents and who is still out for his head. Of course the irony of it is that Alessandra, who came to kill The Shadow King, winds up helping to investigate who is after him. This mystery and the constant danger adds a lot of of tension to keep the story moving forward. Further complicating things was the father of Alessandra’s victim who is convinced she had something to do with his son’s disappearance and is trying to launch an investigation and bring her to justice. So, there’s actually quite a bit going on in this story. There’s also court politics and courtiers and such which is always fun.

As for other characters, there are some intriguing side characters. Alessandra manages to make several friends when she comes to court, or friends as much as she allows. She’s the type to always keep people at a distance because she has trust issues of course. When you’re a terrible person you might be suspect of everyone else as well. That being said, the women she makes friends with a court are fun characters and work well as a balance to Alessandra’s ever conniving ways.

Overall, I had a lot of fun with this book. If there is one thing about it that bothers me is that it ends much more neatly than I would have liked. For a book about two terrible people I wish it would have carried through that theme and allowed them to get their just desserts. Regardless, I did have a lot of fun with this book. 4/5 stars.

34 thoughts on “Book Review: The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller

  1. Briana | Pages Unbound says:

    I had mixed feelings about this one. I kind of liked that the main character was overtly a terrible person, but I wanted the author to delve into that more. So what does it mean if the readers want two terrible people to fall in love and have power over innocent lives, for instance?

  2. 24hr.YABookBlog says:

    Alessandra sounds like such an interesting character to follow. I like how you said it unapologetically sets the story from the villains POV, these characters sound so fascinating. Tricia’s books are always so much fun too, looking forward to reading this! Great review!! 😍

    • waytoofantasy says:

      She definitely is! I enjoyed this book a lot even though I wish it would have ended differently–it was a lot of fun! I haven’t read any of her other stuff but I’m keen to check it out now.

  3. dinipandareads says:

    Great review! I’m even more curious about this book now and I’m wondering if I even read previous reviews I saw of it because I don’t remember reading about how (intentionally) horrible and evil the characters are 😂 It sounds wild and I think I need to bump this up my list!

  4. evelynreads1 says:

    Great review! I also had mixed feelings about this one.. Not my favourite Levenseller, but definitely interested in whatever she writes next!


  5. Mary Drover says:

    I’m so glad you enjoyed it! I honestly kind of want to read more by this author now, just to see if this was a style done specifically for this book, or if their writing is generally that over the top and ridiculous, but in a fun way.

  6. Kal @ Reader Voracious says:

    Great review Lisa, and I am so glad you enjoyed this one! I was completely surprised in the best of ways by the book when I read it. I love villain stories and the conflicted feelings I have about empathizing with Bad People. I do wish it had a grittier ending, but with it being YA it makes sense.

  7. A.J. Park says:

    This is my question – would someone who murders a guy in the beginning, and never shows even a tiny bit of remorse for it, have it in them to sacrifice everything (be willing to, at least) for someone they love later? To me, these two acts are a character conflict. Either way, the book was VERY well done.

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