Good morning all my lovely bookworms! Happy Monday, I hope you had a wonderful and safe weekend. I am so beyond thrilled to bring you my stop on this fantastic book tour for Stalking Shadows, hosted by TBR & Beyond Tours and you can follow the tour and other amazing bloggers here! Thank you to the author, publisher, and TBR & Beyond Tours for allowing me to be a part of this tour. Check out my post below. If you click on the book title or the book itself, it will take you straight to the Goodreads page.
A gothic YA fantasy debut about a young woman striving to break her sister’s curse and stop the killing in her small French town
Seventeen-year-old Marie mixes perfumes to sell on market day in her small eighteenth-century French town. She wants to make enough to save a dowry for her sister, Ama, in hopes of Ama marrying well and Marie living in the level of freedom afforded only to spinster aunts. But her perfumes are more than sweet scents in cheap, cut-glass bottles: A certain few are laced with death. Marie laces the perfume delicately—not with poison but with a hint of honeysuckle she’s trained her sister to respond to. Marie marks her victim, and Ama attacks. But she doesn’t attack as a girl. She kills as a beast.
Marking Ama’s victims controls the damage to keep suspicion at bay. But when a young boy turns up dead one morning, Marie is forced to acknowledge she might be losing control of Ama. And if she can’t control her, she’ll have to cure her. Marie knows the only place she’ll find the cure is in the mansion where Ama was cursed in the first place, home of Lord Sebastien LeClaire. But once she gets into the mansion, she discovers dark secrets hidden away—secrets of the curse, of Lord Sebastien . . . and of herself.
I received an ARC from TBR & Beyond Tours, and the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Stalking Shadows is a beautiful, gothic debut novel by Cyla Panin. Marketed as a dark, gothic twisted Beauty and the Beast retelling does not do it justice. It was so much more than that. The prose was lyrical, moving and oh so twisty; the descriptions so lush that I could smell the beautiful scents of the perfumes, feel the cold, dark, and late-autumn atmosphere.
Marie and Ama are the sisters of the plot. Ama is a young woman who is mysteriously cursed to turn into a beast once a month with the full moon. Marie, her older sister, makes perfumes to mark/scent the targets for Ama’s beast to kill. I absolutely loved the morally grey tone of both these sisters. Marie When it becomes apparent that Ama’s beast is taking more and more of her, Marie decides it’s time to find a cure instead of just controlling the beast, so she finds her way into the Lord’s mansion where her sister worked as a servant the year before and is sure she was cursed in the mansion.
I loved Marie and Ama’s sisterly bond and the brotherly bond between Lord Sebastien and his younger brother, Lucien. I greatly enjoyed the scenes between Marie and Sebastien, the budding relationship that wasn’t too sudden for the book. I loved how the author keeps you guessing on who is killing the children of the small village. Some surprises were done so well and the story was exciting to the end.
Overall, I greatly enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it. It was a beautiful story and although not quite a Beauty and the Beast retelling, it definitely can stand on its own. I cannot wait to read more by Cyla Panin and I hope that she continues with the gothic vibes in her novels.
After spending most of her childhood wanting to escape into the wonderful worlds her favourite authors created, she’s now using her own words to craft magical places. When not writing, Cyla canbe found playing dinosaurs with her two young boys, watching swashbuckling and/or period TVshows with her husband, and, of course, reading.
Her YA debut, STALKING SHADOWS will be out with Amulet, Abrams Fall 2021. She is represented by Chloe Seager of the Madeleine Milburn Literary, TV, and Film Agency.
(US Only): One winner will receive a finished copy of Stalking Shadows. The giveaway starts on September 13th and ends on September 20th. Click Here!
Well, my lovely bookworms, I hope you add this wonderful book to your TBR’s or have already picked it up to read because it is seriously amazing! Let me know in the comments below. And as always, happy reading!