Review: Shadow Beasts by Nellie H. Steele

Posted August 15, 2023 by Lola in Contemporary, Fantasy, Review / 2 Comments

Review graphic

Shadow BeastsShadow Beasts (Shelving Magic #1)
Nellie H. Steele

My Rating: 3 stars

Genre: Urban Fantasy
Age Category: Adult
Type of romance: MF

If Paige isn’t careful, her new job could land her in an early grave.

Paige Turner’s zero-balance bank account demands she take on a new job, but she never expected it would be as Shadow Harbor’s newest librarian. Now the unlucky orphan is learning it’s not books she’ll be shelving…but magic. Dark, dangerous, deadly magic.

Her new position requires she keep the supernatural subworld at bay while retrieving and archiving magical artifacts from around the globe. If she fails, the world may just be doomed…but even trying could get her killed.

Teaming up with a snarktastic teacup dragon doesn’t seem to be helping, either. Paige still struggles to master magic and shelve supernatural secrets. And when her first assignment involves massive multiplication of a group of wayward werewolves, she fears the world may not survive her tenure as librarian.

Fans of The Librarians and Warehouse 13 will love this enchanting new cozy contemporary fantasy series.

My Review

I received a free copy from the author through Booksprout and I voluntarily reviewed it.

The cover of this book caught my attention and I was sold when I saw the Librarians mention in the blurb. I requested a copy and was excited to start reading this one. I think this book has a lot potential and while I struggled with some parts I also really enjoyed other parts. I feel hopeful I will enjoy the later books in the series even more.

Shadow Beasts is the first book in the Shelving Magic series and I felt especially the earlier half of the book really suffered from it being the first book. This book started off so slow and there is just so much descriptions of everything. I thought there was way too much details and descriptions of things that didn’t seem relevant from the plot and those slowed down the plot a lot. The pace slowly increased the further I got in the book and the focus became more on the plot and less on the mundane things Paige did.

I was excited when Paige first enters the library and really understands what she is up against, but I kept having my doubts about this book as then there would be a scene again that I struggled through. This kept up till the later part of the book, only after they board the plane I felt like the book really hit it’s stride. I felt like I flew through the last part of the book which was packed with action and adventure. I really felt like this was the meat of the story and think it would’ve worked better if the start was shorter. I am hopeful the next two books will be even better now that the introduction is over. I think this book would make for a great movie or series as some scenes really had a movie vibe somehow.

I thought Paige felt very real in the opening scene where she is struggling to get a stain out of her clothes and worrying about her upcoming interview. The rest of her characterization after that seemed to mostly focus on illustrating how immensely klutzy she is and after a few examples of this, it quickly became too much. I think it was supposed to be funny, but it felt a bit overdone. I would’ve liked to get to know her more and what her personality was besides being a klutz. I also didn’t like how she acted sometimes, like not thinking things through or making weird decisions. And then in other scenes I really liked her, like how she bonded and stood up for Dewey. I also like how she isn’t instantly capable at her job, she does her best, but not everything goes flawlessly. She feels real in how she shows emotions and feels fear and makes mistakes.

I liked the concept of the world and the set up with the series. The premise is very similar to The Librarians, but as I enjoyed that series I was happy to find a book series with a similar premise. The world building mostly sticks to the basics of how the library works and then the magical objects, artifacts and creatures they directly come in contact with. There are also enough hints and mentions to give the feel of a much larger world with lots of magical creatures and items. There isn’t a whole lot of focus on explaining everything, but the relevant details at least are explained.

To summarize: I think this series has a lot of promise and I liked the set up and premise of this book. I feel it suffers a bit from being the first book in the series and having a lot of introducing to do. I also felt the book and especially the earlier half or so of the book really suffered from having too much details and descriptions, it slowed down the pace a lot and the book felt so slow. In contradiction once they board a plane the pace picks up a lot, the story stays on track and it’s filled with action and adventure. I am hopeful the next books are even better. Paige felt like a realistic main character, until her clumsiness takes over. It felt overdone as for a while almost everything she did would get wrong, luckily it got toned down later in the book. There were scenes where Paige annoyed me, but then in others I really liked her. I liked how she bonded with the dragon Dewey and how they become a real team and grow to care for each other. I felt like this book would make for a great movie or tv series and some scenes just felt like they would’ve worked better on the screen than in a book somehow. I look forward to the next book!

3 Stars


You can also read my review on Goodreads and Bookbub.


2 responses to “Review: Shadow Beasts by Nellie H. Steele

  1. Too bad it took a bit to get going, but glad it picked up and you could look forward to more in the series. I am a sucker for paranormal involving librarians, too.

    • I think the next book will be better now that a lot of the world and such is established. I loved the paranormal librarian concept.

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