Title: Defying Shadows (Rising Shadows #3)
Author: Ashley Townsend
Pub. Date: November 2015
Publisher: Ink Smith Publishing
Pages: 350 Pages
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy
Rate: 5/5 Stars
One choice can define your future.
At first, Sarah’s return to twelfth century Serimone is as wonderful as she could have hoped—reconnecting with Will and celebrating the union of her two friends—but things quickly fall to pieces when she uncovers something that could unsettle the new regime. Before she can share this information, Sarah is forcibly whisked away by the one man she thought she’d never see again: Damien Lisandro, the friend who betrayed her and the traitor who was supposed to spend his life behind bars. Even more unsettling is the revelation that the mystery they had solved is far from over as a dead man comes back to life with the intent of corrupting the future.
In Will's desperate attempts to find Sarah, he uncovers the mystery that she left behind, putting into question the kingdom’s past and the motives of its current king. But the madman whose mission it is to change history will stop at nothing until he succeeds, and a team of ragtag time travelers are the only ones left who can stop him.
As this exciting chapter of her life nears its end, Sarah must finally choose between Serimone and her world--between the easy choice and the right one.
I would like to extend a HUGE thank you to Ashley for letting me be a beta-reader for the last book in the Rising Shadows series!! This was the first time I ever was a beta-reader and it was the most amazing experience! To have an author such as Ashley truly listen to her fans and take their opinions and thoughts into consideration was so nice and sweet. Anyway moving on with the review...
The last book in the Rising Shadows was simply amazing! I experienced a whirlwind of emotions while reading, from laughing hysterically to fangirling to gross sobbing. Yeah it wasn't always pretty. But Ashley Townsend has created yet another fantastic addition to this series, and while it is incredibly sad to have this be the end of the series, I am so happy with how everything turned out. I seriously don't know how there can be no more Sarah, Will, or Damien in my life, but that's what re-reading is for!! Ashley showed tremendous growth as an author in this novel, and even though this was an early copy of this book, it is clear how truly gifted she is as an author.
One of the best parts of this book (and series in general) is the characters. Every single character has a special place in my heart, and has grown so much since the first book. Sarah is such a remarkable character. She is brave, strong, and never once loses her faith....even when times get extremely difficult. I did like that Sarah's strong faith played more of a role in this novel as opposed to the last novel. However, Ashley found a nice balance between Sarah's faith and the fantasy elements of the story. Sarah's faith is seamlessly woven into the story, and it just fits. It is never forced on the reader. It is simply a part of who Sarah is, and it's a part that you love about her. Moreover, Sarah truly steps up by fighting for what is right and just. She doesn't back down from those that are threats. Lastly, she was extremely realistic, and that is what made me connect with her even more.
Will is just AMAZING! I have loved him from the very second he graced the pages of the Rising Shadows series, and that love has only grown. This was me every time Will was in this book...
He goes through countless changes in this book, one of which is finally finding peace. I don't want to spoil anything as to how he comes to his revelation, but it is a major turning point in the story! Damien was so swoon-worthy in this book, and there were a couple times he made me melt into a pile of mush. Don't get me wrong, I still hardcore ship Will and Sarah, but Damien will always be my brooding "hero." Just like Will, he goes through many changes. And while I was suspecting all along what Damien's fate would be, I was still gutted. There is a certain scene towards the end that is so beautifully written and touching before something terrible happens, and it left me sobbing and looking like this...
Another wonderful aspect of this novel was the plot and the setting. Ashley has crafted such a wondrous story and world that I never want to leave. In this book though, we get to experience not only the past, but the present and the future. These made for some thrilling moments, and I was so excited to see how every little action from beginning to end made an impact on the final outcome of the story. While this book was a little bit slower than the previous two, it allowed for a slow burn until a heart-stopping ending. The entire epilogue of this book was utterly breathtaking. Beautifully written and the perfect way to end a series, this epilogue made all of the sad events worthwhile. I will say that it did leave me crying a bit, but everything is wrapped up nicely and all questions are answered.
Overall, I would highly recommend this novel if you are a fan of the Rising Shadows series, and if you haven't started the series yet...what are you waiting for?! Prepare for an epic thrill ride that will leave you guessing until the end. There are betrayals waiting around every corner, surprising twists and turns, and a romance for the ages. This book has it all and I can't wait to check out more from Ashley!!
Happy reading :)