Book Review: Shadow Fall (Shadow Fall Book 1) by Audrey Grey

An asteroid is going to destroy life on Earth, so when Maia is given the chance to save herself and the little brother she thought dead, she takes it. But she'll have to compete against 99 others in the Shadow Trials for just a few spots, and she might have to trust the dangerous boy she vowed not to.

Book Cover - Shadow Fall by Audrey Grey
Title: Shadow Fall
Book Number: Book 1
Pages: 434
My Rating: 3.5 Stars
More Info: Goodreads // Amazon


I’ve read this book twice (this genre isn’t so much my taste anymore, but I wanted to finish the series that I’d started years ago and needed to refresh my memory) and have decided to rewrite my review to try and reflect my feelings for both reads.

– The first half or so of the book felt slow and too long, but if you hang in there, the second half is when you get to the meat of the book, when things really get brutal (if you think the first half is brutal, just you wait) and interesting.

– The author really didn’t avoid the gruesome, gritty, disgusting, violent, terrible stuff.

– I found the sorta love triangle to be complicated, subtle, and unpredictable, in this first book at least. (Romance was not the focus though.)

– The story in general was somewhat unpredictable.

– It was hard to get a read on Maia/Everly’s character. She was “reconstructed” and given someone else’s (Everly’s) feelings and memories. But there were also some bits of Maia left? It was hard to understand. On my first read, I thought she was cold and heartless. On my second read, I realized the girl whose memories she got might have been, but Maia, or this amalgamation she became, was actually compassionate. As much as she could be, at least, in their situations.

– Riser was edgy and feral and murderous, but also super sweet and protective, at least when it came to Maia. Which is sorta tropey? That being said, he was still an interesting character. He grew up in “the Pit,” this hellish underground place with no light or water where people survived by eating rats, moldy food scraps, and each other. He was so curious and cunning, always paying attention to everything, but he was also so easily awed and distracted.

“It wasn’t always like this,” I say to Riser, who’s watching the feral dogs like he wants to spring from the rooftop and join them.

– On my first read, I felt like the ruthlessness and evilness within the society and many of the characters was too extreme for me to find it realistic. But apparently my opinion of humanity has lowered because I didn’t find the evil too extreme the second time.

– The world was a little confusing, and it has a lot of different groups and things to keep track of.

– Ok, this doesn’t ruin the book because you just can accept it, it is what it is. But if the people uploading can see the thoughts, hear the conversations, etc. of the Chosens, then how was it that Maia and Riser could talk about their secret plans to each other? There was mention that the uploaders wouldn’t see/hear anything that wasn’t meant for them because it would be encrypted, but ??? Not really sure how they could have that sort of thing programmed ahead of time, but ignoring that… Would the people uploaded not find it weird when half of Everly’s conversations and thoughts were garbled gibberish or a blank screen? I imagine the Emperor would have someone monitoring things, and would they not find it suspicious? The whole encryption thing seemed like the reader just wasn’t supposed to think about it, but it made too little sense for me to not think about it.

Overall, violent dystopian stories with a bit of romance are not exactly new, but there were some interesting ideas and characters here that kept me reading and made me intrigued enough to keep going with the series.

*I’ve read this book multiple times. This review was written after my 2nd read.*

*Rating: 3.5 Stars // Read Date: 2016 // Format: Ebook*
*Rating: 3.5 Stars // Read Date: 2022 // Format: Ebook via TTS*


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  1. verushka

    That the romance is in the background is a big plus for me with this one! Riser is quite interesting too, even with his flaws — I like LIKE the quote about him that you pulled out there.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yeah it seems like one that might be all about the romance but there was actually so much else going on. And Riser was definitely interesting! I love that quote too, I couldn’t resist sharing it!

  2. Di @ Book Reviews by Di

    Hmm. This one seems pretty complex but I do like the sound of it a lot…

    I love the cover, first and foremost. 🙂

    The characters sound fairly good although that kind of stereotypical perfect male lead is a bit annoying but I do love the sound of Riser.

    I’m going to give this one a try and see where it falls. I am a dystopian fan, and I do like the grittier stuff, so hopefully I’ll like this one too!

    Great review.

    1. Kristen Burns

      If you like gritty dystopian, then yeah you might like it! I do think the perfect male lead is a bit annoying too, but at least he also had all those really interesting traits. And I agree about the cover! Can’t wait to see what you think of this one 🙂

  3. Ailyn

    sounds like a confusing YA that is trying to not hurt anyone’s feelings. Interesting but I will wait until the next one, sometimes book 2 gets better, sometimes not.

  4. Greg

    Interesting cover on this one. Almost like a Hunger games meets apocalypse kinda thing. I like the idea of them having to fight for scarce spots. It does sound like there’s a lot (too much?) to keep track of, but glad it mostly worked in spite of that. I like that quote too.

    “and each other” lol. Sounds like cat food is a step up. 🙂

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yeah, it kind of was like Hunger Games meets apocalypse. I loved that quote! I’m glad other people like it too. He was described like that in more than just that quote, but I figured that was a particularly good one.

      Cat food is definitely a step above cannibalism lol.

  5. sjhigbee

    I’m guessing the romance features fairly heavily in this one… I like the sound of the premise – except for the love story. And it does sound as if there are issues with some of the main characters. All in all, a fair-minded, thorough review which gives me an excellent opportunity to decide if this book is for me. Thank you!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Actually the romance was more of a background thing. So if that’s your concern, you might like this one. Thank you, I’m glad my review was helpful 🙂

  6. AngelErin

    Hmm… this sounds interesting, but the confusion about the world would irritate me. That can drive me nuts in books! I may still give this one a try one day though because it does sound intriguing and I like uniqueness. Excellent review!

    1. Kristen Burns

      If that’s like a pet peeve of yours, then I definitely understand being hesitant. You could always wait for Book 2 to come out to see what people think of that one, like if it gets better? Thanks!

  7. Lola

    That quote sure makes me curious about Riser, he sounds like an interesting character to read about. And indeed that behavior does make sense when you take into account where he grew up. I cringed when you mentioned the eating rats part though. The gritty and disgusting parts of the book wouldn’t be for me probably, but I do like the sound of how original it is. I don’t really mind love triangle’s, they can be very well written. Especially when they are realistic and you aren’t even fully sure if it was a love triangle. Betrayals, which I reviewed last week has a love triangle like that.

    It does sound like it could’ve used a bit more explanation about the world. That does sound confusing how you describe it here. And some of the explanations of things that happen sounds a bit too confusing or like they don’t fully make sense. I am not a fan of the too extreme evilness when it happens in books, especially when it isn’t done realistically. But I am glad you did enjoy it overall even thought you has some issues with it as well.

    1. Kristen Burns

      He was so interesting! Aww, sorry, didn’t even think about the rat thing. If it makes you feel any better, these probably weren’t cute, friendly pet-type rats. I don’t think it would be for you though. It really was rather gritty and gruesome at times. But yeah I liked that the love triangle was so subtle that it was maybe not even actually a love triangle. Like, that’s realistic.