From the chaos of Dissolution rises a secret order, a Brotherhood formed to protect the world of the living from the world of the dead. Adam, a teenage boy living on the streets of London, knows nothing of the fantastic and precarious world that exists just beyond his reality – until he dies, cold and alone, aged 14. After years of rejection, Adam discovers he is important, and the Brotherhood needs him. His recruitment to their Order will take him on an adventure that spans the worlds of both the living and the dead, as he and a living girl battle to solve a prophetic riddle and save the world.
I received this book in exchanged for an honest review through Netgalley. I picked up this book because of there seemed to be a theme of chilling/creepy stories so far this Spring and a book about secret societies, death and ghosts seemed perfect! The title and the beautifully illustrated skull on the cover made me really excited to see what this book is really about.
This book’s setting is a bit harder to nail down than other books I’ve reviewed. The majority of the story does take place in modern day London, but alternates into flashbacks often since many of the characters are dead and “remember” their life from long ago. This was a necessary part of the story, but the frequency of setting and time changes left me confused from time to time. I really enjoyed the technology of the world the author created. Since so much of their magic relies on old texts, I was pleasantly surprised how much modern technology was incorporated into the Brotherhood. That was a unique aspect of this world that really made it stand out to me.
There is a large cast in this book. Before we even meet the main character, Adam, we meet at least three other people who are also essential to the story. I enjoyed the diversity of the characters and the author does a great job of writing fully developed characters. Unfortunately, though, I found the characters difficult to relate to. It was easy to understand who they are and what they want, but I struggled to like the characters in the book. Additionally, Adam and Edie’s voice feels a bit too old for them to be 14, which often distracted me and took me out of the story.
The summary of Brotherhood of Shades promises an action-packed story filled with ghosts, secrets and danger. And while those elements are in this book, it takes a long time to get there. A large portion of the book deals with explaining how the Brotherhood operates and how their technology works. This really slowed down the pacing of the story and made it difficult to trudge through to the action-filled scenes. There were definitely some fast-paced moments, but they were too few and far between to hold my interest.
Brotherhood of Shades is author Dawn Finch’s debut novel. It was published in the UK in 2012 and is now being re-released in the United States. While I struggled with the characters and plot, the setting was excellent and this might be a great book for people looking for a new twist on Supernatural Young Adult novels or people interested in the Dissolution of the Church by Henry VIII. This is the first book in her Shade Trilogy.