Shadows by R.J. Furness

Shadows by R.J. Furness

Series: Sapphire Smyth and the Shadow Five #1Rating: 2.5/5
Date of Publishing: March 16th 2019Genre: fantasy, YA
Publisher: Orgo PressAvailable: Amazon
Number of pages: 104Author’s website:



Have you ever seen something you can’t explain? Did it vanish as fast as it appeared?
Perhaps that thing you saw was lurking in the shadows, and you caught a glimpse of it before it went back into hiding.
There’s a good chance, of course, that the thing you saw simply emerged from your imagination.
Or maybe, just maybe, it didn’t…

Sapphire Smyth is no stranger to rejection. When she was only a baby, her father abandoned her after her mother died. Since then, Sapphire has never felt like she belonged anywhere, or with anyone. To make things worse, her foster carers have now turned their back on her – on her eighteenth birthday. After living with them throughout her childhood, Sapphire has to find a new home. Is it any wonder she finds it hard to trust people?

Abandoned by the people she called family, Sapphire is alone and searching for some meaning in her life. Except that meaning has already come looking for her. When she discovers mysterious creatures lurking in the shadows, Sapphire soon realises that her fate is unlike anything she had ever imagined.


Personal notes

I’ve got a copy from the author in exchange of an honest review. I’ve read this book as part of The Write Reads Blog Tour.


First of all, I have to note, that Shadows is part 1 of a 6 parts long serial. I haven’t read a serial before, so this was a new experience. And I’m not sure I’ve become a fan of this format. It has some pros and cons as everything else, but at the end of the day I prefer to have full length novels or if I really crave to read serials, I can always find some great ones on the internet. Or short stories. Or novellas. The thing is, every part has to be really good for me to pick up the next, to keep reading on.

I read Shadows as part of a blog tour, and although it’s outside of my preferred genres (YA is not really my cup of tea), I figured it would be a great palate cleanser between SPFBO books as it’s pretty short with its 100 or so pages. Besides the blurb sounded interesting. It was indeed a quick read, though I found a number of issues that almost made me quit.

Shadows starts off as a YA urban fantasy novel. Sapphire is having a pretty rough 18th birthday. After receiving a heirloom of her mother, her foster parents kick her out of their home, so she finds herself homeless. Then she gets attacked, and by the end of the day everything she knew about her life is about to change. I try not to spoil this, so I can’t reveal much more about the plot, but let’s just say things happen pretty fast. We drop into the story as Sapphire tries to figure out where to spend the night – and that leaves me with plenty of questions that aren’t answered.

I guess we are supposed to feel sorry for her or at least symphatise with her, but she annoyed me so much that I just couldn’t make myself care. She is being offered help by her so-called best friend (based on their dialogue it doesn’t feel like they are friends, let alone best buddies), which she refuses (okay, I understand pride, I have a lot myself). Until she really needs help so she goes up to this friends. Then throws a fit because how dare another person be in the house?! Seriously? And she is supposed to be 18? In some countries (mine included) at 18 you are legally an adult – can drink, vote, marry without your parents’ consent, etc. It means you are mature enough to have responsibilities, but apparently, age doesn’t mean much these days. Then she keeps making stupid decisions (who the hell goes back to see what happened when they finally stop being chased??) and of course some people conveniently pop up at the right place at the right time which is just a bit too hard to believe. Also doesn’t make much sense – along with the fact that Sapphire is running around in pumps. I’ll let that sink in.

This first part with its prologue and 7 chapters felt like Furness just wanted to rush through the introduction and set things up – somewhat clumsily with a lot more tell than show – for the fun parts in later installments. As I haven’t read further, I don’t know how much world building will be done – but as we are talking about another world, I’m betting a lot. I also hope that some things will be cleared up regarding Sapphire’s real parents, and what exactly happened to them.

As you might have gathered at this point, Shadows wasn’t really a book that I could enjoy. It has the potential to be intersting, but it just falls flat at the execution. I did like the fox creature though, that was cool. I’m pretty sure as she discovers her talents and the world she’ll learn a lot more about these creatures, the magic and most of all herself. She’ll need it.