A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Never let anyone define who you are or what you're capable of achieving.
Positive Role Models
No one messes with Ki. She's not at all intimidated being the only girl in knight training and never holds back when competing with her fellow recruits. Courageous and fiercely loyal, she'll put herself in danger to help a friend. But she also acknowledges she's often lonely and wonders what it would be like to give a piece of herself to someone and own part of them. As the relationship between Ki and Jude unfolds, she refuses any special treatment and demands to be treated as equal to any other knight.
All the characters read as White. Ki's first love was with a neighbor girl and she was heartbroken when the girl ended their relationship.
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Violence & Scariness
Graphic violence is a constant in this novel. Throats are slashed, bodies stabbed, and heads are chopped off shoulders. There are descriptions of severed limbs, heads impaled on spikes, gutted toros, being eaten alive by ants, and black liquid oozing from skulls. Once the characters enter the Mist, they do battle with all sorts of creatures, some of them are vampire like and suck the blood from their victims. Jude is haunted by both the violence he's seen and the killings and murders he's committed.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
The unfolding romance between Ki and Jude is confined to a few kisses, some cuddling, and lots of witty bantering and intense longing looks.
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There's some mild profanity ("s--t," "damn," "hell," "a--hole," "bastard") throughout the story and several uses of "f--k."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that in To Kill a Shadow, Katherine Quinn's fantasy romance horror story, a darkness has settled over the mythical kingdom of Asidian. The only hope of lifting a curse and bringing back the light lies with a small band of young recruits in the Knights of the Eternal Star. The best warrior among those recruits is the only girl, 18-year-old Kira (Ki) Frey. Led by Commander Jude Maddox (aka the Hand of Death), the team enters a terrifying land called the Mist, where they battle fearsome and bloodthirsty creatures as they search for the three mysterious keys that will end the curse. Graphic violence (bodies dismembered in sword fights, gutted torsos, blood sucking creatures, and lots and lots of flowing blood) is a constant in the story and there's some mild profanity ("s--t," "damn," "bastard") and several uses of "f--k." Ki and Jude begin a romance that's more about bantering and one-upmanship than kissing and cuddling.
Is It Any Good?
Despite vividly drawn characters, impressive world building, and an unexpected romance, the story is often overwhelmed by long stretches of horror, blood, and gore. The boldly drawn character of Ki makes To Kill a Shadow an inspiring read for teens who sometimes feel like outsiders and a powerful storyline about friendship explores both the rewards and costs of loyalty. Fantasy horror fans will find what they love here, but this may not be the right pick for more squeamish readers looking for a sweeping fantasy romance.
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