Shadow and Shade by Matt Gerrard

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Matt Gerrard is a blogger from Boston. On his blog, The Daily 400, Matt sets himself the impressive challenge to write 400 words every day. His first novel, ‘Shadow and Shade’ is a heady mix of fantasy, sci-fi, romance, wolves and mayhem with a few slitherings of the real world about it.

Here’s what you need to know about ‘Shadow and Shade’ (taken from The Daily 400):

Logan doesn’t just hunt with wolves. He talks with them. He can also see in the dark, heal, and feel the emotions of the forest itself. If only dating were so easy.

Marissa, the missionary’s stepdaughter, captivates him with her fiery spirit. Logan’s taste for trouble and strange ways fascinate her. Marissa’s stepfather fears that Logan will drag her into darkness with his heathen ways. Logan’s mother is outraged because she thinks Logan is abandoning the blood of their people.

Angry words turn to vengeful deeds. Logan and Marissa become ensnared in a web of bitterness that was spun hundreds of years before they were born. Blood demands blood, and it refuses to be denied.

The book is described as a fantasy novel with supernatural themes and otherworldly experiences. I found this to be accurate but it sometimes got a little bogged down with belief systems of the real world, particularly with reference to organised religion and the prejudices that it emanates into a community that doesn’t follow its rules. There are some very big themes in this book; religion, belief, love, being caught in a witch hunt (literally) and family all wrapped up in the workings of a community.

I enjoy the themes within the book; Gerrard talks about some important issues within his fantasy novel, but for me, this is eclipsed a little by the presentation.   This is definitely a YA book. Regular readers (hello to you) will know that I’m not a huge fan of this genre. To me, the simplicity of the language used can come across a little patronising. Events are often over-explained, leaving little for the reader to discern for themselves. I think particularly in ‘Shadow and Shade’ some of the themes are a little laboured. For example Marissa’s choice of living arrangements or Jon’s control issues. But then other more serious areas involving life and death (I won’t drop a spoiler) seem to be lightly skimmed over. This is not a personal attack on Gerrard’s writing, it’s just my opinion on the genre. Although I do think there is an over-use of the word ‘lad’ here. Also, it read more like a screenplay to me than a novel. There is too much dialogue, peppered with stage directions rather than prose. But don’t take my word for it, give it a read and see what you think.

If you enjoy your fantasy hero caked in mud and always ready for a fight, then ‘Shadow and Shade’ is for you. Its a good story, with a bitter sweet ending that resonates with real life.

Thank you to Matt Gerrard for sending me a copy of his book straight to my kindle. ‘Shadow and Shade’ is now available for you lovely readers to snap up here. Enjoy.

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