Promise of Shadows
by Justina Ireland
Paperback, 384 pages
Published January 13th, 2015
Zephyr Mourning has never been very good at being a Harpy. She’d rather watch reality TV than learn forty-seven ways to kill a man, and she pretty much sucks at wielding magic. Zephyr was ready for a future pretending to be a normal human instead of a half-god assassin. But all that changed when her sister was murdered—and Zephyr used a forbidden dark power to save herself from the same fate.
On the run from a punishment worse than death, an unexpected reunion with a childhood friend upends Zephyr’s world—and not only because her old friend has grown surprisingly, extremely hot. It seems that Zephyr might just be the Nyx, a dark goddess that is prophesied to shift the power balance: for hundreds of years the half-gods have lived in fear, and Zephyr is supposed to change that.
But how is she supposed to save everyone else when she can barely take care of herself?
Before we start, I think the synopsis reveals too much about the plot. I’d rather guess who Zephyr is rather than being told that she’s Nyx. It takes away the fun of guessing. Not that it will be a hard guess anyway since it’s practically there, but still.
Other than the too-revealing synopsis, I really like the plot. It’s so interesting reading the author’s take on Greek Mythology, especially how she uses older myth about the primordial deity and use it as her plot devices. The pacing is also very nice; it flows really well and easy to follow. The world building, despite not that unique, is also intriguing to read. It seems like this is the world where all myths live together, with the mention of Anubis and others.
I really like Zephyr at first. She loves her sister fiercely; it gives her determination and resilience to survive Tartarus. She’ll do anything to see her again and to avenge her. She’s also snarky and her humanity makes a really nice contrast in her environment that is Tartarus.
But everything changed when
the fire nation attacked Tallon came.
Zephyr turn 180° into someone I can’t recognize. She got distracted by Tallon every time he appears, reminding us how good looking he is, how black his hair is and how kissable his lips is. Even in the middle of battle planning or talking about her sister, she got distracted. The first-few-chapters Zephyr would do anything to see her sister again. This Zephyr only thinks about kissing Tallon. She got jealous of every girl who came in contact with Tallon and trash-talks them in her mind. She holds on to petty grudges with her childhood cousin. And what’s worse, she threw a tantrum all the time. She doesn’t listen what others are telling her about using her powers and stories about the old myth, she can’t defend herself but got pissed when others tried to help her.
I miss the old Zephyr.
Tallon is not much better either; he’s our stereotype brooding, dark love interest. I’m intrigued by his powers though, and I wish we explored them more. The side characters are also underdeveloped; they are reduced to “just minor characters.” I want to know about Blue and Alora’s ability more, Cass and Elias story, as well as Whisper and Hermes story.
Promise of Shadows is fast-paced, but not too fast that you can’t grasp what’s happening. The story is always on the go; the characters are always in motion. There are some twist and turns, but the clues are literally there that I can’t help but guess them as soon as they’re hinted. The ending was bittersweet though, and it’s also an open-ending one. I could see some kind of sequel in the future. Hopefully about Blue or Alora or Cass though, because I can’t stand Zephyr no matter how witty she is.
Overall, like most of the books I read this year, its biggest downfall is the characters and romance. The plot, pacing, writing, and incorporation of mythology in this book really please me, but unfortunately, the spoiled main character, underdeveloped side characters, and unwanted romance ruin this book for me.