Welcome to the Blog Tour for Shadowcast by Crystal D. Grant, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!
About the Book
Series: The Gateway Trilogy
Author: Crystal D. Grant
Publisher: Quill and Flame Publishing
Release Date: September 20, 2023
Genre: Fantasy Romance (Clean)
He has known nothing but darkness for years. Now it’s time to let it consume him.
After witnessing the brutal death of his brother at the hands of the Steward Knights, Mason Grey turns to vengeance. Using his Gifts to read and control the minds of others, he climbs the ranks of the Dark Army, determined to earn the coveted Shadowstone-a powerful tool against the light-wielding Stewards. But when he is wounded in battle, he finds himself recovering in the home of a chatty peasant girl…without the use of his Gifts. Even worse, the girl mistakes him for one of the Stewards he despises.
Seria Gayle longs to be seen as more than the town washerwoman. When she finds an injured Steward in the woods, she welcomes the chance to use her healing skills and hopes it will earn her some respect. But as she nurses the sullen stranger back to health, she discovers he is nothing like the knights she has long admired.
When Mason’s true identity is revealed, Seria is devastated and humiliated. But she is offered a chance at redemption by the very prince that Mason hates. Now Mason struggles between two choices: accept the Shadowstone to avenge his brother or pursue this newfound light in the form of a peasant girl. With time running out and war looming, will Mason and Seria defy their own convictions for a chance at love or stand against one another like they’ve sworn to do?
I’m a big fan of epic fantasy, and Shadowcast has introduced me to a new favorite fantasy author, Crystal D. Grant! It was so good, I legit read it in less than 24 hours.
The book starts with a bang as one of our main characters, Mason, sees his older brother brutally murdered by the Stewards, the forces for good whose ranks he’d one day hoped to join. That was a turning point in Mason’s life. He swore revenge on his brother’s killers and turned all his energies toward joining the Shadowmen.
Seria is alone in the world, except for her donkey Sanjo. She sees the battle at the small town of Rackson, Shadowmen against Stewards. When Mason, disguised in a Steward’s armor, is seriously injured, Seria finds him and takes him in to tend his wounds. Can he keep his true identity hidden from her?
Prince Eric is resuming his role as marshal of the Stewards after the man who served long and well in his intended place is killed in battle. He has no reason to believe in himself, and struggles to become the leader he wants to be, the leader his men and his country need.
I can’t believe this is the author’s first novel. It doesn’t read at all like there are first-book jitters here. Grant’s worldbuilding is superb, and her characters are well-crafted and well-developed. Even Mason gives us reason to empathize with him, gruff as he is.
The grumpy/sunshine romance aspect is just perfect. Mason is so, so grumpy. Which I guess he would be – a man pretending to be something he’s not, and trying to recover from some pretty serious injuries, to boot. That would make anyone grumpy! Seria is perfectly sunshiny. I love her. She is almost aggressively cheerful (but not without her low moments), and she looks for the best in every situation. And she could talk the hind leg off a dog! LOL I think Mason was just worn down by her pervasive optimism and the fact that she was open and honest with him about who she was. She didn’t have anything to hide, and I think he found that attractive.
The struggle on a personal level is heartwrenching. Mason has devoted so much of his life to becoming the darkness, he isn’t sure how to handle himself when he finds himself changed by the light he encounters in Seria. He still feels that thirst for revenge for the man who killed his brother, though. Seria likewise struggles when she learns of Mason’s true identity. How can she ever love a man who’s swearing himself to battle all that she believes to be good and true?
But make no mistake, this is an epic battle between good and evil on more than just the personal level. The book isn’t overtly Christian, but there is a clear belief in a higher Deity who is all-knowing and all wise – the Lambient. Their faith is important to the characters on the side of the light. Their belief in the Lambient’s goodness and wisdom sustains them. Destroying that faith and tearing down everything good is equally important to characters on the side of the darkness.
The cliffhanger at the ending of the book was maddening in the best possible way. It leaves you knowing there is so much more of the story to come. And this is a story where you get all of the excitement, all of the intrigue, all of the romance, and it’s clean to boot. I can’t wait for the next book!
My thanks to the author for a review copy of the book. All opinions here are mine, and I don’t say nice things about books I don’t actually like.
About the Author
Crystal D. Grant is a daydreamer who adores freshly-baked cookies and anything with fur or feathers. During the day, she strives to instill a love of books and learning within her young students. As a hearing-impaired, home-school graduate, she found her voice in writing and has had multiple short stories and poems published. When she’s not reading or writing stories that sweep her away to another time and place, she watches classic movies and TV shows that do the same. Or she works on jigsaw puzzles. Crystal currently resides in smalltown Missouri, where she is always looking for space for another scented candle.
Connect with Crystal by visiting crystalgrantauthor.com to follow her on social media and sign up for email updates.
(1) winner will win a signed copy of Shadowcast, book swag, and exclusive color art from the book!
Full tour schedule linked below. The giveaway begins at midnight September 18, 2023 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on September 25, 2023. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US/CAN only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.
Giveaway is subject to JustRead Publicity Tours Giveaway Policies.
Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!