Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Shadow Cats {by Rae Carson}

Title: The Shadow Cats
Series: Fire and Thorns, 0.5
Author: Rae Carson
Purchase: AmazonBarnes & Noble

Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness. And it was not Alodia.
Alodia is the crown princess of the realm. The sister who knows how to rule, and the one who is constantly reminded that she has not been marked for a grand destiny. But Alodia has plans, and she will be the greatest queen her people have ever known. So she travels--with her hopeless, naïve, chosen sister--to a distant part of their land, to begin to secure her supporters. This region needs its princesses, for it is plagued with a curse. The crops don't grow, the spring doesn't arrive, and a fierce jaguar stalks the shadows, leaving only empty homes splashed with blood behind. If Alodia can save them, no one will be able to deny her strength and her sovereignty.
But what she discovers could change the fate of her kingdom, if not her world. And it will most certainly change her opinion of her younger sister.

So I loved The Girl of Fire and Thorns. We didn't see much of Alodia, except for the fact that Elisa thought she hated her. And although Alodia wasn't the most likable character, I wanted to know more about her from her perspective. And that is what The Shadow Cats is, so of course I picked it up.

Alodia is the older sister, and crown princess. But her younger sister, Elisa, is the bearer of the Godstone. Because of this, Alodia feels cheated, overlooked, and rightly bitter. Alodia throws herself into kingdom, with plans to be the greatest queen ever, while Elisa sits around, naive and fat and hopeless (Alodia's thoughts, not mine). But everyone looks to Elisa, who is "destined" to do something great. Alodia, well, hates it.

This little novella was enough to give us insight to Alodia. She is bitter, yes, and it hard not to feel sorry for her, or at least understand where she is coming from. Even if you still don't like her, you respect her. Because she has worked so hard, only to be slighted. And no one can deny that Elisa was like that in the beginning, before the events of The Girl of Fire and Thorns. 

But during the events of this novella, Alodia starts to understand her sister. Starts to understand that maybe she was reading her wrong, not valuing her enough. She starts to see that maybe she was wrong about Elisa, that she is so much smarter and braver than Alodia ever gave her credit for. And the fact that Alodia is big enough to admit this is what makes her a better, and more likable, person.

Although Alodia may be proper to the point of being a snob, everything she does is for the good of the kingdom. She truly does want to be a better ruler. And it helps that she is a strong ruler, both physically and emotionally. She isn't a damsel in distress. Instead, as this story shows, she is able and willing to fight and defend herself and others. Being the crown princess, she could wait for someone else to do it, as it their job. But she is fully capable of taking care of herself and isn't afraid of anything.

I don't if this is completely vital plot-wise, if what happens is going to come back and be important in the later books. But although it isn't completely necessary to read, it does give insight into the sister's relationship. And although it is a short story, it is still full action and emotion, like one of her novels. Thsi will definitely leave you wanting more of this world.

Although I will say... does $2.99 for an ebook seem like a lot? Yes. Did I buy it (and the other two) anyway? Yes. I do love this story and the characters, and so although it hurt, I bought them. (The ebook library service my local library had didn't have them.) But what do you consider a reasonable price for an ebook? I just think of the fact that I have bought full books for less than that and cringe.

Rae Carson:

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