The Shadow Realm by Anya Costello Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A young girl finds herself transported to another dimension after living in a world in which her parents disappeared and the mysterious Shadow Hour loomed every day over the world, and soon she must fight to survive and find a way of saving both her new friends and humanity in author Anya Costello’s “The Shadow Realm”.

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The Synopsis

A teenage girl is transported to a dangerous realm and must learn to trust others if she and her friends have any chance of survival. The protagonist Amber is a thirteen-year-old girl just trying to keep up her grades and survive the daily Shadow Hour that has taken over her world. Amber has lived with her aunt since the strange disappearance of her parents and the loss of her memories. Left alone with her aunt, trying to move on from the mystery of her parents’ disappearance, and wary of the threat that the Shadow Hour poses to her and everyone around her, Amber becomes fiercely independent and motivated though reluctant to reach out to others or accept help. Only when Amber is swept into another dimension and forced to work with an unlikely group of friends does she begin to open up and realize that she doesn’t need to face the world alone.

In this Hunger Games-like fantasy adventure novel, Amber is banished from the dangerous near future of her own reality to another realm known as the Shadow Realm. There she must survive a series of deadly obstacles in order to save not only herself and her friends, but humanity as well.

The Review

This was such a brilliantly written and imaginative read. The author, a young teen author, showcases an incredible command over world-building and atmosphere, both of which this novel has plenty of. The tension and unique settings of this dark dimension highlight the surreal dangers and newfound threats facing the world, while the action and suspense keep the reader on edge as the journey progresses. 

What really stood out to me as both a reader and writer was the author’s ability to develop complex and engaging mythology in this world of the Shadow Realm and the various creatures and figures that inhabit it, as well as the emotional character development that occurs between the protagonist and other survivors of this world. The mystery of the young woman’s past and family mix with the theme of opening up and letting others into her life, which proves crucial to her survival. The losses and struggles that occur over time as the trials continue to make this story’s narrative feel thrilling and heart-pounding as each chapter plays out.

The Verdict

Harrowing, entertaining, and exceptionally well written, author Anya Costello’s “The Shadow Hour” is a superb new YA Fantasy meets dystopian thriller. The first in what one can only hope becomes a series, the lengthy read starts out strong and never slows down, giving the reader an engaging experience that keeps them invested in the protagonist’s journey and the emotional bonds she forms. The way the author brought the iconic theme of the Hero’s Journey to life in a fresh and brand new way showcases a growing talent in the literary world that will only get better and better as time goes on, so if you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy of this incredible novel today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Anya Costello is a teen author whose manuscript won first prize of the International Writing Contest of Stone Soup magazine and Mackenzie Press.

Anya says: I have been writing stories since the age of four and at age ten, I attempted my first full length work of fiction, The Shadow Hour. I have always been drawn to writing fantasy and fiction. Building worlds that follow different rules from our own, like the Shadow Realm, and creating the characters that live within them allows me to put aspects of my own life, experiences, and thoughts in an entirely new context.

Anya has been presented at the Frankfurt Book Fair and has received a citation from United Sates Representative Joseph P. Kennedy III.

Anya was born and raised in Massachusetts where she currently resides with her family.

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