Monday, March 7, 2016

Review: Shades of Darkness (Ravenborn #1) by A.R. Kahler

Shades of Darkness by A.R. KahlerShades of Darkness
(Ravenborn #1)
by A.R. Kahler
March 8, 2016
304 pages

Goodreads Summary:
Islington Arts Academy is not an average high school. Nestled in the forests of Michigan, surrounded by trees and nature and virtually no evidence of civilization, it is an oasis for those looking to get away. Perfect for a student like Kaira Winters, who wants nothing more than to put her past behind her and focus on the present…and her looming graduation, just a few months away.

But the past has a way of returning when least expected.

Kaira knows that what happened before, at her old school, wasn’t normal. She knows that what happened to her ex-boyfriend wasn’t natural. But she refuses to believe that the recent death on campus, the one that left everyone on edge, has anything to do with her. She refuses to believe that she could be at fault again.

But just as the past always returns, the truth can never stay hidden for long.

Even if Kaira didn’t cause the first death at Islington, or the second, or the third, she has the ability to find out who did. She has the obligation to stop whatever is coming to campus. To end the darkness that is falling with the same snow that once blanketed the woods in beauty.

But to embrace this power—to relinquish herself to the ancient entity that has been lurking in the corners of her mind–is to let go of her humanity…and Kaira doesn’t know how far she can go before she loses herself completely.


Shades of Darkness was one of those books where you didn't know what to expect until things happened. For the most part, I enjoyed it. The writing evoked emotions and A.R. Kahler did an excellent job setting up the dark tone to the story. However, the slow pacing made the first half of the story a bit boring.
Like I already said, this book was a slow read. There was a bunch of hinting and foreshadowing but nothing really happens until about three quarters of the way in. Then the story really takes off. I never fully understood the underlying Norse mythology but I could appreciate the significance of the twists and reveals. The impact was just lessened because of the minimal amount of information we got.
I found the boarding school setting to be really neat. I would love to see the place and the artworks it displays. The artistry and creativity had a strong presence in the story. What I enjoyed the most in Shades of Darkness was the atmosphere the author creates- the lightness when it was a group of friends surviving schoolwork and the darkness when unexpected deaths occurred. The creepy, ominous vibe made me shiver every time a raven or crow was mentioned (which was a lot).
Past trauma has made Kaira afraid to take chances. Even when a cute genuine boy takes an interest in her. It was sad to see her so withdrawn but she had her reasons. Her life at Islington Arts Academy would've been very different if not for the sweet friends she made. The love and friendship between Kaira, Ethan, Oliver, Chris and Elisa made me so happy. Ethan especially, with his quirky personality and one-liners, made me laugh despite the heaviness of the plot. These friends are definite keepers.
Just a note that Shades of Darkness does end on a cliffhanger. One that requires more explanations which hopefully we'll get in the second book. I will be continuing this series because something big is coming and I want to know!
3.5 Cats
*I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinion are my own and not affected in any way.


  1. Boo for the cliffy but I do love a good boarding school read (I blame the H.P,.. series for this!). Great review, I think I would like this one!

  2. I also love boarding school stories - why do so many of us love those? For me it pre-dates Harry Potter too. I would like to try this!
    Jen @ YA Romantics

    1. I would really like to hear what you think!

  3. Thanks for the warning. The only time I will read past 30% if a book is super slow is if it is a review book. Otherwise, I'm outta there. Ha ha. Great review. ;)

  4. Slow reads aren't my thing lately but this does sound good. I don't know about my relationship with Mythology related reads but I'd love to give this a try but maybe not right now. Great review! :)

    czai @ the Blacksheep Project

    1. Thanks Czai! I'd say wait until the sequel to decide ;)


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