Review of Shadow Fall by Audrey Grey

Shadow Fall by Audrey Grey is a YA novel that can win a reader over to this genre.

Sixteen-year-old Maia Graystone lives in a world of fear. Trapped inside the hellish pit below Rhine prison with psychopaths and murderers, she spends every second worrying about the brother she left behind, knowing that if the other inmates don’t kill her first, the asteroid hurtling toward the earth definitely will. When a mysterious benefactor rescues her from prison and offers her a spot in the Shadow Trials, she jumps at the chance to receive a coveted place for her and her brother on the space station in the stars. Forced to change her appearance and identity, she’ll enter the very court that sentenced her to prison and fight for her survival. She’s dead-set on doing whatever it takes to win, until she’s paired with a mysterious prisoner harboring his own secrets. With the asteroid days away, the Trials looming, and her brother’s fate hanging in the balance, Maia discovers the only thing more dangerous than the Emperor’s court is her conflicted heart. (Amazon)

Fans of Hunger Games, Divergent, Throne of Glass, and the Maze Runner will love this gritty tale of survival, intrigue, and hope in a dying world.


I have to start this review by saying how very fresh I am to the YA fantasy/ sci-fi genre.  I think I read maybe one or two books before this one and certainly never reviewed in this genre before.  I readily admit that I enjoyed this story far more than I thought I would.  I figured I would read it and think, ‘oh that’s nice’ and then happily move on to a new book.  But nope.  I started this story and was hooked almost immediately.  I thought about these characters and their world everyday while I was reading this story.  Even weeks later my mind still drifts back to it and I eagerly anticipate fitting the second part of this duology into my reading schedule.

When I read reviews of books in this genre I often note that reviewers comment on the world and social class building.  I get it now. Completely.  It is integral to this type of story and Audrey Grey did a marvelous job.  The world of the Golds, Silvers and Bronzes is well-illustrated and helps the reader understand Maia’s place in this highly stratified society.  The concept of ‘reconstruction’ is intriguing and wonderfully played out throughout the novel.  Riser is even given the ‘memory’ of swimming so that he knows how to swim although he has never even seen a large body of water before. The world of the Pit is revealed in all its vicious and gruesome realities.

Fight scenes are realistic, well-choreographed and attention keeping.  The writing is also very consistent in following the characters’ injuries and how they affect subsequent movements and scenes.  Poor Maia is knocked unconscious a rather lot though.

The characters are amazing. Maia, Riser, Caspian, Merida, Flame and even Maia’s mother are all multifaceted and richly drawn.  Each character’s motivations and ambitious are cleverly revealed as the story unfolds.  Divergent aspirations will make enemies where friendship should prevail.

Maia is a well-developed character who is easy to root for.  Maia doesn’t recognize her own bravery but it is shown throughout.  Her layers are stripped bare and rebuilt over and over.  Her inner turmoil and the depth of her emotions are vividly written.  The torture she feels as she tries to accept who she is, even as she metamorphoses is palpable.  She struggles with reconciling her past and her present.  I loved the delicate balance Audrey Grey strikes when writing Maia’s inner battle to remain unconnected and aloof even as her innate humanity seeks companionship and belonging.

Riser a.k.a. “Pit Boy”, is written as the perfect anti-hero. He is bold and brave yet dangerous and terrifying.  The revelations made about him are astounding and reveal a depth to his character that makes him a favourite.  He and Maia seem perfect for each other but are they really destined to be together?

Enter Prince Caspian who is not like the other Royals and may just be worthy of Maia’s heart, if Riser doesn’t get to him first.

On top of all that, the last few chapters are gripping.  My heart was in my throat as I read.  I haven’t gotten that feeling in while, when reading.  Battles rage, lies and deceits are revealed and spun and misunderstandings that could crush an empire fester.  Oh my, I can’t wait for book 2!


This one gets 5/5 espresso shots.


Thank you Darque Dreamer Reads for this most excellent recommendation!


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