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

With a mother who abandoned her and a father who was killed, Maia has spent the last seven years imprisoned, hiding, and just barely surviving, even though she knows the asteroid Pandora is going to destroy the earth soon anyway. But when a mysterious benefactor finds Maia and offers her the chance to compete in the Shadow Trials for a spot on the space station with the Emperor and his Gold Court, Maia accepts and teams up with Riser, a boy who terrifies her as much as he intrigues her. Everyone seems to have their own secrets and plans, and Maia has learned not to trust anyone, but she'll have to trust someone if she wants to survive.

Book Review: Shadow Fall (Shadow Fall Book 1) by Audrey Grey | reading, books, book reviews, science fiction, dystopian, young adult
Title: Shadow Fall
Book Number: Book 1 of TBA
Pages: 302
My Rating: 3.5 Stars
More Info: Goodreads, Amazon, Publisher


*I received an ecopy of this book via NetGalley. This has in no way influenced my review.*

I have some conflicting feelings about this book, but, since Riser (the love interest) was my favorite thing, I’ll start by talking about him. He was just so interesting. I mean, how can you not be interested in a character who has descriptions as awesome as this:

“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.

There was also this one scene in which Maia was watching Riser as he was messing with a cat food dispenser, and, once he made the food come out, he picked a piece up, sniffed it, and ate it. Then he was just like, “This thing. It gives you food. Want some?” And to us, that seems ridiculous. But when you take into consideration that he grew up in “the Pit,” this hellish underground place with no light or water, let alone gadgets, where people survived by eating rats, moldy food scraps, and each other, you realize that cat food is definitely a step up, and his behaviors actually make sense. So not only was he interesting, he was well-written.

Though I admit it was funny to me that Riser was so fond of cat food since he actually reminded me of a cat. He was so curious and cunning, always paying attention to everything, but he was also so easily awed and distracted, like in this other scene when he chased a little flying electronic thing all over the room, trying to catch it and swat at it.

There was also this other scene in which Maia was taking a bath and Riser suddenly started washing her hair, and at first it seemed weird and forced because who does that? But then he realized what he was doing and explained *MILD SPOILER ALERT* that he used to take care of his mother, and washing her hair was one of the few things he was able to do for her. So then it made complete sense—when he started washing Maia’s hair, he wasn’t even thinking, it was just the way he was accustomed to showing care and affection—and was an insightful look into his character. *END SPOILER ALERT*

But anyway, I think I’ve talked enough about Riser. Now for some lists!

More Things I Liked:

– The book was unique and intriguing. It did keep me pretty hooked.

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

– The almost love triangle was complicated, subtle, realistic, and unpredictable. To be honest, I’m still not even sure if it was a triangle at all. (Romance was really a background thing though.)

– The story in general was somewhat unpredictable.

Things I Disliked:

– I was confused about the world. I’m not sure if this was supposed to be an alternate universe or our world in the future because there was no explanation for how it would’ve come to have that society, but they had the same kind of animals and objects and things as we have on earth. There was also a lot to figure out and keep track of—Golds, Silver, Bronzes, Royalists, Mercs, Centurians, Fienian rebels, Chosens, different cities, different technologies, etc.

– I had a hard time picturing some of the settings, like the Pit in the beginning.

– A lot of things worked out just a little too perfectly. Not that bad things never happened (trust me, they did), just that some things happened exactly as the characters needed them to.

– Certain things didn’t quite make sense. For example, 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? Anyone watching would hear these things. There was a brief mention that the uploaders wouldn’t see/hear anything that wasn’t meant for them, but that wasn’t enough explanation for me.

– I couldn’t really get a handle on Maia/Everly’s character and how the Reconstruction worked. See, they “reconstructed” Maia and gave her someone else’s (Everly’s) feelings and memories. But there were also some bits of Maia left? It seemed kind of inconsistent. Also, Everly was cold and heartless most of the time, so the character just wasn’t very likeable.

– Riser, as much as I liked him, was a little too stereotypically YA perfect. He was edgy, but then he was also super sweet and protective, even when it didn’t seem to fit with his character or situation. I liked his feral, murderous side more πŸ˜‰

– All the ruthlessness and evilness within the society and many of the characters was too extreme for me to find it realistic.

Overall though, even though the list of things I disliked is longer than the list of things I liked, the good still managed to outweigh the bad, and I was pretty hooked while reading and am considering continuing the series.


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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. πŸ™‚

    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 πŸ™‚

  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. πŸ™‚

    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 πŸ™‚

  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.