ARC book review | Bride of the Shadow King by Sylvia Mercedes

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Title: Bride of the Shadow King
Series: Yes (1st)
Author: Sylvia Mercedes
Age Group/Genre: New Adult (18+), Romance, Fantasy, Adventure
Publisher: Fire Wyrm Books

Publication Date: March 20, 2022

About the Book

For fans of The Bridge Kingdom and A Deal with the Elf King, this arranged marriage romance about a human princess forced to wed a dark and desperate Shadow King is sure to entice!

A shunned princess. A reluctant king.
A marriage that could save both their kingdoms . . . but destroy their hearts.

Though she is the oldest daughter, Princess Faraine lives in the background, shunned from court and kept out of sight. Her chronic illness makes her a liability to the crown, and she has learned to give place to her beautiful, favored younger sister in all things.

When the handsome and enigmatic Shadow King comes seeking a bride, Faraine is not surprised that her sister is his choice.

Though not eager to take a human bride, King Vor is willing to do what is necessary for the sake of his people. When he meets the lively Princess Ilsevel, he quickly agrees to a marriage arrangement.

So why can’t he get the haunting eyes of her older sister out of his head?

When disaster strikes and the marriage alliance is compromised, Faraine suddenly finds herself forced to take her sister’s place . . . regardless of her new husband’s desires. Can she find a place at Vor’s side as his queen? Or is his heart forever closed to the woman who deceived him so cruelly?

Passionate and alluring, Bride of the Shadow King is an arranged marriage tale with dual point-of-view (his and hers). It’s perfect for fantasy fans looking for a touch of spice to go with the sweet in their next swoony, slow-burn romance.

My Review

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟💕

An immersively transportive and beautiful fantasy romance.

I completely adore Vor + Faraine’s development and chemistry – it’s more on the slow-burn side but not achingly slow 😉 (although, let’s be honest, that ending is TOO CRUEL xD – I mean that in a reader’s heart-wrenching way… it’s very well done and this series is obviously intended to be read back to back <3).

Mercedes crafts a beautiful subterranean Shadow-Under World for the troldfolk (trolls – but much more elegant and refined and advanced – I thought this twist is awesome!) and I love all the scenic descriptions that do not drag out the story. I really like their unique names and diction and culture in contrast to the human world.

The dual 1st person POV is written very well and Mercedes’ prose is impeccably elegant yet still fast-paced. For me, this is certainly a wonderful and eagerly-awaited change in prose/tone compared to her Eros/Pysche retelling, OF CANDLELIGHT AND SHADOWS duology.

Faraine is relatable and admirable in her long-suffering and patient responses – all without being weak – she’s the catalyst/supportive sort. (Slight spoiler but I really liked the emotional connection ability she has and how that’s weaved with Vor and the story as a whole!) And Vor is irreproachably honorable and competent (and NOT the #badboy type, which is a refreshing aspect, and he’s anything BUT boring) despite his struggles dealing with the looming trolde curse as the Shadow King. This overarching terror implied by the curse throughout the story is brought to the forefront in the final act will certainly be revealed and resolved more in the next book – so I can’t wait for Vow of the Shadow King (set to release in late summer 2022)!! ❤

Aside: In my experience, Mercedes’ novels typically have almost no publication issues (annoying typos, etc.), so be assured of their quality. 🙂 Also – the covers she commission are always delicious to look at. ❤



This is Mercedes’ debut in the New Adult genre. And the story’s overall tone reflects this. So I’d recommend this for mature audiences/adults only due to the overall mature tone of the book in regards to the arranged marriage. And specifically a rather intensely intimate wedding night scene in one chapter – there’s no sex but there’s quite a bit of descriptive buildup, so to speak (i.e. kissing and caressing). There are also some repeated swearing in trolde fashion (meaning we don’t know what those words mean), and some exclamations of “gods/goddesses” or “the seven gods/goddesses.” And although the banter between Vor and his rakish brother Sul are quite fun, the latter is quite persistent in his innuendos. There is mention/use of fantasy alcohol-equivalent.

Overall, I personally consider everything well done still in regards to the story at hand. But do realize that this is not for young adult readers, although, to be honest, sadly many young adult books today feature the same or even higher level of content concerns.

About the Author

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Sylvia Mercedes makes her home in the idyllic North Carolina countryside with her handsome husband, numerous small children, and the feline duo affectionately known as The Fluffy Brothers. When she’s not writing she’s . . . okay, let’s be honest. When she’s not writing, she’s running around after her littles, cleaning up glitter, trying to plan healthy-ish meals, and wondering where she left her phone. In between, she reads a steady diet of fantasy novels.

​But mostly she’s writing.

​After a short career in Traditional Publishing (under a different name), Sylvia decided to take the plunge into the Indie Publishing World and is enjoying every minute of it.

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What do you think of my review? Does Bride of the Shadow King sounds like the kind of story you’d enjoy? Do you have any similar titles you’d recommend to me? Let me know!

P.S. Are you on Goodreads? If so, follow me there and like my review so more people may find it helpful! ❤

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