Shadows (Sapphire Smyth & The Shadow Five) by R.J. Furness

Have you ever seen something you can’t explain? Did it vanish as fast as it appeared?
Perhaps that thing you saw was lurking in the shadows, and you caught a glimpse of it before it went back into hiding.
There’s a good chance, of course, that the thing you saw simply emerged from your imagination.
Or maybe, just maybe, it didn’t…

Sapphire Smyth is no stranger to rejection. When she was only a baby, her father abandoned her after her mother died. Since then, Sapphire has never felt like she belonged anywhere, or with anyone. To make things worse, her foster carers have now turned their back on her – on her eighteenth birthday. After living with them throughout her childhood, Sapphire has to find a new home. Is it any wonder she finds it hard to trust people?

Abandoned by the people she called family, Sapphire is alone and searching for some meaning in her life. Except that meaning has already come looking for her. When she discovers mysterious creatures lurking in the shadows, Sapphire soon realises that her fate is unlike anything she had ever imagined.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Publication Date: 16th March 2019

Page Count: 104 pages

Genre: Fantasy / Paranormal


Released March 2019, Shadows is a brilliant introduction to what I hope will be a successful, serialised story.

From the very beginning we are thrown into the action with a haunting prologue depicting the death of our soon-to-be protagonist’s mother, killed at the hands of a dark and sinister collection of beings. Described as little more than shadows with yellow, malevolent eyes, Furness leaves us already questioning who they are and what they want.

Sapphire’s introduction is just as abrupt. Having been abandoned by her father, shortly after the death of her mother, we meet her on her eighteenth birthday. However, all is not well. Although having been given an heirloom that belonged to her mother, she is struggling to come to terms with having been asked to leave her carer’s home and start a life for herself. Yet, as she finds herself isolated outdoors, unsure where to go, she encounters something she cannot believe. Something not of this world.

The plot is fast-paced and abrupt – something I very much enjoy in shorter pieces. Spanning approximately seventy pages, Furness’ work is not lacking in plot or content. And unlike other reviews, I do not mind the sparing world and character building (sometimes you just want to get to the action, you know?).

Being new to the serial world (Shadows being one of six in the collection), I was not sure what to expect. However, Furness’ first installment was a delightful, fresh way to read. It ticks all the boxes of a short young adult, fantasy, and definitely leaves the reader wanting more.

I look forward to continuing Sapphire’s story and to see where Furness takes us to next.

About the author

R. J. Furness has been passionate about great stories since he was able to read. At an early age, he would frequently create new characters, worlds and creatures, then write crazy tales all about them. However, until now, he has always kept those ideas completely secret. After having a lifelong interest in animals, music and anything spawned from pure imagination, R.J.’s first love are now his wife and children. Over time, he has also developed an overwhelming desire for mugs of tea and good biscuits to dunk. He lives in Southport, England, with his family, a dog and several fish, chickens and quails.

Furness’ website can be found here.

His Twitter can be found here.

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