My last three book reviews were glowing and I have to admit it's been making me nervous. It's hard to have credibility when all you ever say is "Great job!" The problem is that I hate reading mediocre books and I carefully pick what I spend my precious little reading time on. Hence when I was sent an advanced reading copy Of Shadow & Stone along with works by tried and true favorites it's not really surprising that I got to it last. Eventually, though, its day did come and alas, my 5 star review streak has come to an end.
Of Shadow & Stone by Michelle Muto is not terrible. I've read worse. I've read worse just this year. Most of the book feels like a better than average set up for a new series. The main characters, Kate and Ian, are likable and Shadow Wood is mysterious and intriguing.
This story suffers from premature resolution unfortunately. By the end everything is tied up neatly. Too neatly, too soon.
Fantasy writing requires a certain amount of world building and back story in an introductory piece -- the author is giving us a new world and we must be made to understand it. A certain amount of character casting is also required -- the author is giving us new characters and we must be made to care about them. It feels like Muto was just accomplishing those two things when suddenly everything is fixed and the story is done.
Of Shadow & Stone gets many things right but ultimately doesn't live up to its promise.