Book Review: The Shadow of Death by Becky James and Wren Murphy

Reviewed: September 29th, 2022
Released: October 4th, 2022 (Realm of Darkness anthology)
Genre: Fantasy Romance

A king with a broken crown. 

Shay rules from the murky corners of the Topaz Court, a realm not many willingly travel to. It promises only one thing —Death. Duty eats away at the dark king, and as he escorts departed souls to the Otherworld, something—or someone—threatens to taint his kingdom and destroy the magic that sustains it. 

A selkie searching for answers. 

Seven years ago, Neri’s sister disappeared on dry land over the sands. Neri has prepared every day since to follow after her and find what delays her sister’s return to the waves. 

Death hounds after the selkie. Shay shouldn’t stand in its way; to upset the balance is to risk everything. Not even when her spirit stirs something inside him, something he thought long lost…

As the threat to magic grows, the selkies might be the key. Together, Shay and Neri traverse the realms to save their homes, their families, and themselves. Can they succeed under the shadow of death?

Helen’s thoughts: 5/5

I was lucky enough to beta read The Shadow of Death and Becky and Wren sure have created some wonderful characters for us to fall in love with.

Neri is a selkie, one who is curious about the human world, and determined to discover what happend to her sister. Her first attempts on land are quite amusing as she swaps her tail for legs, though she stumbles into trouble straight away.

Shay is the broody king constrained to protect his kingdom even though there is little left to protect. He has resigned himself to a life of isolation and sacrifice, trapped in an endless cycle of sustaining the barriers to protect the world, no matter what happens to him.

Stepping in to recue Neri goes against his every instinct, and he knows he is putting his lifelong struggle to protect his world at risk, but Neri is a bright spark of light in his dark world, banishing his gloomy outlook on life and tempting him to consider there might be more to fight for.

A mix of fae, magical creatures and shifters combined with an age old conflict makes a riveting read as Neri and Shay combine forces to find her sister.

I love the mix of welsh and scottish sayings at the beginning of each chapter, it gave the story a fabled feel of magic and mystery. Combined with the beautiful imagery evoked by this story, this is sure to be one fantasy romance you won’t want to put down.

Exclusively available via the Realm of Darkness Anthology

About the author:

Becky James is the author of The King’s Swordsman series. Based in the UK, she has a deep love of the British countryside, canals, and all things fantasy; she devours anything that has magic, swords, good friends and good times.

Wren Murphy: When Wren was a little girl, she never wanted to be a writer. In fact, she aspired to be a pharmacist, and she achieved that life goal about a decade ago. However, the spark for creating stories lit in the back row of her high school history class during her sophomore year, and passing notes to her best friends led her to create her very first character. From there, it was wild fire, and she has been weaving fantastical tales ever since.

Wren is a world traveler, but fondly calls the corn fields of north central Indiana home. She currently resides in Western New York with her four children – her daughter, her husband, and her two dogs.

​Writer of romance, fantasy, and romantic fantasy, her stories feature strong, relatable heroines, swoon-worthy heroes, and nail biting escapades. Sometimes, if you look close enough, there’s even a dragon or two.

Pharmacist by day, author by night, she wears many hats, which also means she takes up most of the closet space. Obsessed with elephants, cute video games, and books with fierce heroines and sexy heroes, she is also addicted to social media, much to her husband’s chagrin.

Be sure to sign up for Wren’s newsletter for sneak peeks, special project announcements, and to stay up to date with release info at

Realm of Darkness Anthology

If you enjoy fantasy romance books then you will love my new release SoulBreather, part of the Realm of Darkness Anthology, and my epic fantasy Sentinal series. As a new threat against Remargaren is discovered, only one man can wake the ancient guards who can protect them, only he doesn’t know how. Start the adventure and stay for the journey. Sign up to my newsletter and download a free novella called Sentinals Stirring and get notified when my next books are publishe

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