Book Review

Book Review: One Dark Window (The Shepherd King #1) by Rachel Gillig

Rating: ★★★★★
Audience: Gothic Fantasy
Length: 432 pages
Author: Rachel Gillig
Publisher: Orbit
Release Date: September 27th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


Elspeth Spindle needs more than luck to stay safe in the eerie, mist-locked kingdom of Blunder—she needs a monster. She calls him the Nightmare, an ancient, mercurial spirit trapped in her head. He protects her. He keeps her secrets.

But nothing comes for free, especially magic.

When Elspeth meets a mysterious highwayman on the forest road, her life takes a drastic turn. Thrust into a world of shadow and deception, she joins a dangerous quest to cure Blunder from the dark magic infecting it. And the highwayman? He just so happens to be the King’s nephew, Captain of the most dangerous men in Blunder…and guilty of high treason.

Together they must gather twelve Providence Cards—the keys to the cure. But as the stakes heighten and their undeniable attraction intensifies, Elspeth is forced to face her darkest secret yet: the Nightmare is slowly taking over her mind. And she might not be able to stop him.


This wasn’t on my radar until a few friends gave it glowing reviews and I’m here to add mine to the bunch. I thought everything got progressively better over the course of the book and now I’m definitely wanting the sequel.

I loved the fairytale vibes with a good dash of darkness (always here for some darkness). There was a magical quality to the writing that created a well formed story that I understood with ease. I loved the magic system with the cards!! It worked really well and was intriguing.

The romance grew on me. I thought the fake dating and tension worked well between them and I’m excited to see where that continues. It’s more of a well place sub-plot and the chemistry and dynamic is certainly there.

There’s some quirky demons who think they know best and a magical king missing from the game board. I thought the ending was WILD and can’t wait for more.

Overall audience notes:

  • Fantasy + Romance
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: one open door
  • Violence: high
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: possession, physical and magical violence

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