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I Belong

Review: Game of Shadows by Erika Lewis

Game of ShadowsTitle: Game of Shadows

Author: Erika Lewis

Genre: YA Fantasy

Series: N/A

Publication Date: February 28, 2017

Format: Hardcover, 400 Pages

ISBN-10: 0765381389 (Tor/Macmillan)

ISBN-13: 978-0765381385 (Tor/Macmillan)

Reviewed by: Kristie


Ethan Makkai thought that seeing ghosts was the worst of his problems. Between his ethereal gift and life with a single mother hell-bent on watching his every move, he feels imprisoned. When Ethan sees a chance to escape, to leave the house by himself for the first time in his life, he seizes it, unaware that this first taste of freedom will cost him everything.

Ethan is thrown into a strange and eerie world, like nothing he’s ever seen. He’s assaulted by dive-bombing birds and rescued by a stranger who claims to be his bodyguard. His apartment is trashed, and his mother is kidnapped to a place Ethan never knew existed—a hidden continent called Tara.

Travelling to Tara in search of his mother, Ethan discovers that everything he knows about his life is a lie. His mother is royalty. His father is not dead. His destiny is likely to get him killed.

Confronted by a vicious sorcerer determined to destroy the Makkai family, Ethan must garner strength from his gift and embrace his destiny if he’s going to save his mother and all the people of Tara, including the beautiful girl he’s fallen for.

Quick & Dirty: Game of Shadows is an imaginative, non-stop action teen novel but with the main character’s abrasiveness and combativeness this story may not be for all readers.

Opening Sentence: “Ethan Makkai, freedom is a state of mind.”

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Game of Shadows is a YA teen fantasy novel geared toward the teen boy in your life. I only say this because I had a hard time really caring for the main character and the only way I could really understand him was to try to imagine myself as a young teenage boy having to deal with the issues that he has to and I would probably have the same attitude problems too. I’ll have more about this below. Game of Shadowsis about a teenaged boy who can see ghosts and because of this he has always been sheltered. His mother  never letting him leave her side no matter what. He never realized that his seeing ghosts was a part of a bigger story about a hidden world and that he is an heir to be a King of a land in Tara in this world. The concept of this hidden world of Tara is what really intrigued me about this story.

The story starts off with young Ethan Makkai having to deal with a smothering mother and a total bully at school. Ethan is not allowed to go anywhere without his mother by his side and because of that he has to endure needless torture from an annoying high school bully. It is Ethan’s birthday and he is really hoping that he can walk to school by himself like every other normal kid. Actually he is hoping to walk with his friend Skylar, the cute girl with an apartment by his that he secretly has a crush on with whom he used to be friends. Ethan decides that today is the day for freedom and he bolts on his mother when she went to go change for the walk to school. Ethan finally gets some alone time with Skylar but it soon ends when the bully targets Ethan finally without his mother. A fight breaks out but things get even stranger when birds start attacking Ethan. Then a strange man calling himself Ethan’s grandfather comes to the rescue saying that Ethan’s mother is in trouble. Ethan has been told he has no family. Ethan’s mother was kidnapped during the short time he was outside without her. The man claiming to be his grandfather knows where she has been taken. Ethan was never told anything about his heritage and has no idea about the strange things that the old man is talking about.

Once in Tara, Ethan begins making friends and enemies right away. He is dedicated to finding his mom no matter what could possible happen. Ethan goes on a journey throughout most of Tara searching for his mother and the evil Sorcerer whom had her kidnapped. During his journey he meets a lot of strange creatures and inhabitants of Tara.

I don’t think I would have had such a huge problem with Ethan if he had seemed to learn a lesson in the end about being so snotty. He does learn something but I still think he’s a bit immature to be a ruler. At the beginning, he isn’t nice with his mom, then he just takes off and he doesn’t help matters any during his “fight” with the bully. Of course, I’d probably have attitude problems too if I was smothered like that. Ethan is brash, impulsive and he just straight up likes to do his own thing. He doesn’t listen to anybody unless it suits him for what he needs and sometimes it works out while other times it does not.

Game of Shadows is told in the third person and occasionally jumps around to other characters but it mostly sticks with Ethan’s storyline. The worldbuilding is pretty cool. I really liked Tara and how it wasn’t completely Fae like I would have thought. The creatures were a little different than what I’m used to with the Irish/Scottish folklore. This book is definitely open ended for a sequel. I was a little thrown off since it did have an epilogue but it sets up a sequel and it hooked me enough that I would check out the next novel. I didn’t love this novel but I didn’t hate it either.

Notable Scene:

Runyun patted Christian on the back. “I like any man who enjoys beating the sense out of Julius Niles, no offense to the Niles present.”

“Offense taken,” Lily shot back.

She wasn’t the only one offended. For some reason, the fact that Runyun would tell Christian that he liked him didn’t sit well with Ethan. All he ever did was pick at Ethan, telling him exactly what was wrong with him. He couldn’t ride a horse, or use a sword, or build a fire. Pick. Pick. Pick. But Christian, he liked, and why not? His cousin had trained since birth. He was, to Runyun, what a perfect son would look like.


FTC Advisory: Tor/Macmillan provided me with a copy of Game of Shadows. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.


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