Saturday, 10 August 2013

Sent for review: Shiloh by Helena Sorenson

Around about a month ago, I was contacted by Helena Sorenson - she offered to send me a copy of her novel Shiloh for review! I of course jumped at the chance; I've never had a book sent for review before, and first off I'd like to thank Helena for sending it to me (and Ruby, for directing her to me). A few days before my holiday to Portugal the book arrived and I took it with me to read there.

The story of the world is the story of things forgotten, of desperate people cowering in the dark, blind to who they truly are. In Shiloh it is no different, except there, the darkness is tangible.

And it has a name. The Shadow.

Amos was born a thousand years after Evander led his clan in search of the legendary Sun and disappeared from all knowledge. Evander was called a madman for seeking a world beyond the Shadow, but there are some who still believe, Amos among them. He has special power over fire, and he seems to fear nothing. But when his world falls apart, the fear takes hold, and Amos becomes a pawn in the hand of darkness. It takes Orin, the master blacksmith, Simeon, the Dreamer, and Isolde, the fiery woman with the mighty destiny, to draw Amos back. Together, they set out to find the path of escape from the Shadow.

Sounds interesting, right? When I went to Helena's website I was immediately drawn in by the premise. I was also struck by how weird it sounded - and I'm not going to lie, it was quite weird - but as I think most bloggers know, that's not a bad thing. In fact....

But anyway. About Shiloh

Overall, I enjoyed it; the storyline was original and unique, and I got a very clear sense of the world Sorenson was creating, with its perpetual darkness and ominous forests, the oily river that runs through it, and the tiny villages full of people struggling through lives in the blackness, mistrustful of each other and blind to the truth. I also liked the character's names - they felt 'fantasy' without being over the top - and the place names (though the alliteration of Pallid Peaks and Whispering Wood made me cringe a little. I felt that it took away from their scariness). I'm not going to say this book didn't have its flaws, because that would be untrue; whilst the characters were credible, well-developed and good throughout, I couldn't believe that Simeon and Amos were seven at the beginning - the way they spoke and acted made them seem much older. When I began reading I also wasn't a fan of the dialect used, but as the novel progressed I did get used to it and I suppose it did give me a clearer connection with some of the characters. I also felt that a certain romance was very predictable - but maybe I'm just a cynic. The other thing that killed me was the formatting and I know most people don't understand fonts so this isn't really a valid point but it was in Arial and Times New Roman, interspersed together, and the indents were so big and I just, I just...~whimpers~ But anyway.

My main problem with the novel was definitely the pacing. A lot happened in a short space of time and quite often I felt that a lot more suspense and build-up was required. This makes me think that perhaps I am simply too old for the book - I am used to wordier, longer novels and to me it felt more like a story for, say, an 11 or 12 year old. However, that said, I did enjoy the book - Sorenson did what every fantasy writer aspires to, which is create a tangible world with a problem that the readers are rooting to be solved. I have given it 4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads and I would say that, if you are that bit younger - pre-teen, I think - then I would definitely recommend Shiloh to you.

Thanks again for sending it to me, Helena! 


  1. I remember getting my first review books - I was so excited! I couldn't believe publishers were sending me books.

    Shiloh sounds amazing, and you're right it does sound weird but in a want-to-be-a-part-of-it way.

    Congrats on getting your first review book! :)

    1. Thanks for the comment, Sophie! When she first contacted me I was like L;AKDJF;LKASJDF;LKJ OH MY GOODNESS I'M A FAMOUS BOOK BLOGGER!!!!!


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