{Review} THE SHADOW CATS by Rae Carson

O P E N I N G   H O O K:

I CROUCH HIDDEN AMONG THE BOULDERS, my body broken and bloodied. Below me, someone is about to murder my best friend, the one person who understands me.  If I act, I will likely lose my own life.  If I don't, I'll lose so much more. 
(Page 5, US nook e-book edition)
Check out my review of THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS,  the first book in Rae Carson's trilogy.  A review of THE CROWN OF EMBERS is on its way!

Good news, bookworms!  THE SHADOW CATS is a prequel, so you don't need to have ever read Rae Carson before to pick this one up!  It's a great introduction to Carson's writing style and the way she brings her characteres and world to life, giving you a taste of what you've been missing out on!

I sat on THE SHADOW CATS until right before THE CROWN OF EMBERS came out.  I wanted to read it, then re-read THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS, then read THE CROWN OF EMBERS.  It took me longer than expected to get through it all due to the turmoil of the past few weeks, but I've done what I set out to do!

Can I just say:  I would LOVE to see more from Alodia.  She really doesn't have a place in the series anymore, though Rae Carson may bring her in for THE BITTER KINGDOM next year.  Alodia may not have an epic journey of her own, but she's still a character full of merit and, at the very least, I would love to buy another novella featuring her.

One of the things that draws me to Carson as a writer is the way she fleshes out characters and makes you fall in love with them.  You know their wishes, fears, and hopes.  We've seen Alodia's character through Elisa's eyes and had our opinions about her formed, but reading THE SHADOW CATS changes everything.  Now, we see Elisa through Alodia's eyes, and it's a really interesting look at the girl we've all come to know and love.  We also get a peek at what makes Alodia tick, and I really grew attached to her in the short amount of time I was with her.  If only novellas were longer!

THE SHADOW CATS is as full of heart-thumping adventure as the two full novels are, and Carson again breathes her own mythology into the piece, creating a lore about creatures terrorizing a region.  Carson has again given us a strong female heroine who kicks butt in a huge way.  Alodia and Elisa are both feisty princesses, and easy to love as characters.  I really do hope to see more of Alodia in the future!
C O V E R   D E S I G N:

I like that HarperCollins kept a cohesive design to this ebook, even though they didn't give it the full treatment that the full novels get.  I like that there is still a gemstone on the cover beneath the title, and it intrigues me that it's empty without a face.  So much meaning right there, because the two books from Elisa's POV have her face in her godstone. 

I also like that there's still a gorgeous background to peer at and enjoy the way there is on the full novels.

Simple, yet fitting and still lovely!
O F F I C I A L   I N F O:

Author: Rae Carson
Release Date: Out July 17, 2012
Publisher: Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins
Received: Purchased

Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness. And it was not Alodia.

Alodia is the crown princess of the realm. The sister who knows how to rule, and the one who is constantly reminded that she has not been marked for a grand destiny. But Alodia has plans, and she will be the greatest queen her people have ever known. So she travels--with her hopeless, naïve, chosen sister--to a distant part of their land, to begin to secure her supporters. This region needs its princesses, for it is plagued with a curse. The crops don't grow, the spring doesn't arrive, and a fierce jaguar stalks the shadows, leaving only empty homes splashed with blood behind. If Alodia can save them, no one will be able to deny her strength and her sovereignty.

But what she discovers could change the fate of her kingdom, if not her world. And it will most certainly change her opinion of her younger sister."

THE SHADOW CATS is a prequel to the riveting Fire and Thorns trilogy: Book One, THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS; Book Two, THE CROWN OF EMBERS; and Book Three, THE BITTER KINGDOM.