Review by Krisi Keley, author of the ‘On the Soul of a Vampire series’
The second book in the Diamond Peak series, Stalking Shadows, sets the pace and the mood for the rest of the novel by opening with a frightening, surprise revelation: Ariel’s mom hasn’t been rescued after all, and the Rasa demons are increasing their mind game warfare to stop Ariel before she can reach the Master Demon, Rasama, to destroy him and the dangerous Serpentine infesting the human race. This first action and emotion packed scene gives a perfect introduction to the themes of the novel as well, with its focus on self-discovery, relationships and the struggles we all must face on the path of life.
As are author Tahlia Newland’s other novels, Lethal Inheritance(Book 1 in the Diamond Peak series) and You Can’t Shatter Me, Stalking Shadows is a highly original and creative story that reads on two levels. The first is an exciting fantasy/magical realism tale of adventure with sinister, slimy demons, nature spirits, magicians of darkness and light, a sarcastic pearls-of-wisdom-spouting cat and an adolescent girl’s quest to become what she’s destined to be. On the second level, it’s a metaphysical story of the journey of life, in which a human being must defeat fear and anger, prejudice and self-doubt and in which its heroine, Ariel, learns that inter-dependence and a relationship of love and respect don’t weaken personal strength and self-discovery, but enhance them, and that when we give ourselves to others, we don’t lose anything, but instead gain our more true self.
For fantasy fans, Stalking Shadows offers enchanted forests, shape-shifting, new magic and magical allies and enemies, and a deeper development of both Ariel’s sense of her own powers and purpose and her growing attraction towards and intimacy with fellow warrior and friend, Nick. For metaphysical fiction fans, as Ariel journeys farther on her path, there is a deeper look at the philosophical ideas of destiny vs. a future that’s self-determined, love vs. lust, reality vs. perception and the importance of self-knowledge, reflection and human compassion. As with Lethal Inheritance, I thoroughly enjoyed both aspects of the novel, fascinated to consider the similarities and differences between my own Christian worldview and the Buddhist vision of these ideas and impressed by how the author so skillfully weaves deeper ideas into a fun, easy-to-read fantasy adventure.
I was fortunate to read an advance copy of Stalking Shadows as its copyeditor and I eagerly look forward to the next book in the series, as anxious to see the growth in Ariel and Nick’s relationship and where Ariel’s quest will take her as I am to discover more of the mystery behind Twitchet, the very human-like cat that can become a tiger and who seems to me to be even more of a riddle than that. A beautifully written, exciting fantasy-adventure with vibrant description, I highly recommend this novel to fantasy and metaphysical fiction fans alike.
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The first book in the Diamond Peak series Lethal Inheritance is on sale (on Kindle only) for $0.99 until the end of the month only. (Note from the author – don’t wait for it to be free because it aint gonna happen.)
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