Book Review

Book Review: The Song of the Marked (Shadows and Crowns #1) by S.M. Gaither

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Fantasy
Length: 512 pages
Author: S.M. Gaither
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: September 17th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


An ancient evil is stirring. The old gods are growing restless. Can she stop the coming storm?

A Devastating Sickness

For decades, the Kethran Empire has been plagued by a strange illness that leaches the very life and soul from its victims.

The Girl Who Survived

Casia is one of the Fade-Marked—one of the few people who caught this sickness and lived. Why she lived is a mystery even to her and the outcast crew of mercenaries she calls her family. It also makes her an intriguing target for the young, enigmatic king-emperor, who claims he wants to work alongside her to find a cure.

Unfortunately, working alongside him also means working with the handsome but infuriating captain of one of the most prestigious branches of the Kethran Army.

A Soldier With No Past

This infuriating Captain Elander also has secrets: A past that Cas can’t seem to uncover, a powerful but strange brand of magic, and a deep distrust of the very monarch that he’s sworn to serve. She feels oddly drawn to him in spite of these things…

But can she really trust him?

The Fate of an Empire

As the bodies pile up and strange monsters begin to wreak havoc throughout the realms, Cas and Elander will have to work together to protect their world whether they trust one another or not. Because one thing is clear: Something ancient and evil is stirring in the shadows of Kethra.

And the empire will not survive its full unleashing.

But how can they save a world where nothing and no one is what they seem to be— including Cas herself?


I’m always looking for a fantasy series to dive into, and this one is it. It was SO DANG GOOD. And the audio book was fantastic. Highly recommend that avenue if you’re interested. I flew through this fast. The pacing was well intentioned and never felt like a drag. I love the high stakes action and the plot itself. Gimme book two ASAP.

Of course, one of my favorite aspects is the enemies to lovers trope. It’s heated and tangled. Left me begging for them to actually kiss and then contemplating what I was supposed to do with AN ENDING LIKE THAT. It’s going to be a long haul and I am here for it.

I love a strong female main character and Cas IS THAT WOMAN. She takes charge, occasionally runs off into danger, but is fiercely loyal and is just looking for answers to save her loved ones. Cas got in on the action and drove this book forward with her stubborn tenacity. Can’t get enough of her. There’s been some mention of Throne of Glass vibes and I can definitely see that here (in a great way).

The ending left me reeling and I am not coping well waiting for the next book. I’m excited to continue this series because that first book was a hidden gem.

Overall audience notes:

  • Fantasy + Romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: brief open door
  • Violence: physical and magical altercations, creature attacks
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: blood/gore depiction, loss of loved ones, a wasting sickness

Instagram || Goodreads

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