September 2, 2013

The Pentrals by Crystal Mack (eARC)

Title: The Pentrals (The Pentrals, #1)
Author: Crystal Mack
Publisher: Apologue Entertainment
Expected Publish Date: November 12, 2013
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Mystery
Rating: 4/5 Stars

Picture your life without free will.  
No choice. No voice. No personal direction. 
For 17 years, it's the only path I've known. Always a follower, never in control, I am an afterthought, burying my impulses as I bend to the whims of another. I dream of someone taking notice-of falling in love and being kissed. But I probably never will.  
My name is Antares. I am a Shadow. 
Deep in a secluded canyon lies Talline, a metropolis of mirrors filled with forces called Pentrals that outline our very existence. Antares, Pentral Class Two, took an oath to act without influence—to echo without opinion. But in a cruel twist of fate, she must watch as Violet, her person, encounters a tragedy that will change both their lives forever. When Violet starts making careless choices, Antares can no longer remain a silent silhouette. She won’t allow lost friendships, broken hearts, or those mysterious menaces looking out from the glass to tear apart Violet’s very being. In doing so, Antares unknowingly crosses forbidden boundaries and ends up illuminating a darkness much deeper than her own.

There's no question that this is a unique book.

In the mirrored world of Talline, everyone has a Shadow. Shadows have rankings, One through Four, and each ranking has a separate duty to fulfill. Class Two Shadows are with their Person from birth to death, following them and mimicking their actions (though humans are unaware of this). Class One Shadows stay in place, impersonating the actions of inanimate objects--therefore, staying in one position forever, as inanimate objects do not move. Violet's Shadow, Antares, is an active shadow who strives to follow Violet as best as she possibly can. But when Violet falls and she and Antares swap roles--Violet becoming a shadow, Antares becoming the Person she has always strived to be--they discover a world much darker than either of them had realized.

I dove right into the book. We get a glimpse of the new world almost immediately without giving too much away--which is helpful, considering the numerous other fantasy novels that left me confused until halfway through the story. The next thing I noticed was the interesting perspective we get from The Pentrals. The entire story is told from the point of view of Antares, Violet's Shadow. It's such an intriguing angle to read from, mainly because I've never read anything like it before, but also because it's depicted so well. For a debut novel, Crystal Mack has done extremely well.

Aside from the point of view, the writing itself is excellent. Mack has done a beautiful job with imagery and descriptions. When she described food at the banquet, it was almost as if I could taste it.

With that said, there were points where the writing didn't feel natural. I couldn't tell if it was because I wasn't accustomed to reading from such a different vantage point, or if the writing itself was flawed. Still, these sections were easily overlooked.

The characters were well-developed, which was surprising--considering how difficult it must have been to make them seem real while writing from the vantage point of a Shadow, someone who hadn't experienced the characters firsthand.

The plot twists were excellent--I didn't see any of them coming. I may have even let out a dramatic gasp here and there while reading!

Overall, this was an excellent debut and I'm extremely excited that there will be a sequel--I can't wait to read more from Crystal Mack!


  1. How did you get an e-ARC? Just curious, awesome post!

    ~Remy @ Books In Her Head

    1. Thanks! Netgalley and Edelweiss are two awesome ways to get eARCs. :)