Review of ‘Beyond the Shadowed Earth’ (Beneath the Haunting Sea #2)

By Cynthia Bujnicki

Beyond the Shadowed Earth by Joanna Ruth Meyer
Page Street Books
Image Credit: Goodreads

Eda dreamed of being Empress. So she made a deal with a God. However, there was a price. While she fulfilled her side of the bargain, the Gods did not hold up their end. Feeling betrayed and guilty, Eda swears vengeance and embarks on a perilous journey to kill a God.

Published by Page Street Books, Beyond the Shadowed Earth by Joanna Ruth Meyer is the second novel set in the world of her YA fantasy debut Beneath the Haunting Sea.

Beyond the Shadowed Earth takes readers on an epic journey to unravel the deals of Gods and machinations of dark spirits.

Beyond the Shadowed Earth was such a great novel. Eda is a girl, a power-hungry girl, who has made a deal with a God. Nevertheless, that is the thing with deals; the trick is in the details. Eda thought she was careful, but her deal cost her dearly. Now, that is a great premise, drawing some allusions to religious doctrine of making deals with the devil, or some other dark deity. Furthermore, for this novel, it works out well to highlight all the flaws in Eda.

Eda is, admittedly, an incredibly unlikable character. Now, this could be off-putting for some readers, but on the whole, it is not terrible. Eda is selfish, self-centered, and power-hungry, and her deal, the messages she keeps receiving highlights in her inability to see and to listen. That is her most significant flaw, her inability to listen to the world around her. However, while she goes on her journey, she does grow, and Eda finally begins to realize just how selfish of a person she has been. Her journey is empowering, it is eye-opening, and the detail, the description that goes into developing her narrative allows the reader to understand her and connect to her, even while not liking her.

As for the mythology of the world, it is clear why this author dedicated this novel in part to Tolkien. The detail that went into developing the Gods, their stake in the world, and the circles surrounding the God, they are so thoughtfully and wonderfully constructed. The language is thoughtfully used and placed, and the development of the world, the development of the mythology, is genuinely breathtaking.

This novel has many allusions to Dante’s Inferno and Tolkien’s work. It highlights the struggle humans face with dealing with peace, grief, guilt, anger, resentment, and a whole slew of other emotions that make up the complex human psyche. It highlights character growth and delves into the mythology to allow the world-building to flourish within the story. (★★★★☆)

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Product Details:

Pub Date: Jan. 14, 2020

Page count: 400pp

Age Range: 16 & Over

ISBN: 978-1-6241-4820-0

Publisher: Page Street

List Price: $17.99


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