Title: Into Shadow (The Tallan Chronicles Book One)
Publisher: Cosmic Egg Books
Author: Morgan Daimler
Pages: 369pp
Price: $20.95 / $6.99

Muireann wants revenge. Her husband and children are dead. Her home is destroyed. And the red dragon is responsible. For months, she hones her archery skills while scouring rare texts for clues on how to kill the dragon. Miraculously, she succeeds. But she comes away from the encounter … changed. Now she must rely on friends old and new — and some who become more than friends — to fully understand what has happened to her, what her place is in the world now, and why people are trying to kill her. Oh, and then there’s the matter of the ancient artifact of evil magic that she picked up in the dragon’s cave ….

I’ve been a fan of Daimler’s nonfiction for years, and I make a point of following them on social media. When they announced that they were participating in NaNoWriMo, and that they had completed a novel that would later be published, I was thrilled. When the book finally became available, I immediately moved it to the top of my To Read list.

Happily, I was not disappointed. Into Shadow is a terrific epic fantasy filled with well-rounded and sympathetic character, solid world-building, found family, exciting action sequences, and meditations on the nature of grief and faith. Not only does it feature a middle-aged, curvaceous protagonist, but it is also explicitly, deliberately polytheistic and polyamorous. While the former is fairly common in fantasy, the latter is not. Polyamory is presented as the norm in Muireann’s world; marriages tend to be between two people, but relationships outside of the marriage are acceptable. In Muireann’s case, she had several female lovers during her first marriage. Her second marriage is to a selkie woman, who has no objection to Muireann taking a male elven lover.

Into Shadow is a fun and entertaining. I had a blast reading it, and I look forward to the next book in the series. Highly recommended to fans of Cursed Cocktails by SL Rowland, the Kindred Kingdoms anthology, The Elf Tangent by Lindsay Buroker, and The Riven Kingdoms series by Shari L. Tapscott.

[Reviewed by Rebecca Buchanan.]

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