• Alex Lopez

Beyond the Shadowed Earth

They say a god's will is absolute. Yet none should ever underestimate the determination of an Empress.

"Long ago, when the world was young but not quite new, a man dared stand against a god, and the god struck him down."

In Beyond the Shadowed Earth, author Joanna Ruth Meyer takes us to a land beyond shadows and earth where Eda makes a deal with the god, Tuer, to reign over Endahr. Little does she realize at the time that her price is greater than she could have ever imagined.

"You are to be queen, when the spirits are free. It's why I made you. Why I called you."

I absolutely loved Eda's character because of the author's conscious decision to depict her as a villainous character. I found Eda to be a dark knight that sets apart in our contemporary sea of tropes and dimensional characterizations. Her strength and determination to obtain what she desires is one that truly struck a chord with me and had me cheering for her until the final chapter. Another element that I immensely enjoyed about Beyond the Shadowed Earth was how Meyer penned down the full extent of her imagination through her detailed world that built Eda's temple to satisfy her bargain with the higher powers.

"How good it must feel, to have the power of a goddess at her fingertips. To have a place, a purpose. But how cruel of the gods, to offer her all that in exchange for a lifetime of all-consuming loneliness."

Additionally, Meyer's depiction of the five circles of existence the: Circle of the Living, Circle of the Dead, Circle of Time, and Circle of Sorrow brought to mind Dante's Inferno. During my reading experience, this lent the feeling that I was reading a work of lore where the Circles are intertwined with the fates of various characters in the story. Because of these elements, I quickly became engrossed by Beyond the Shadowed Earth as I read how the world of the gods and mortals are merely separated by a thin veil of belief and promises of equivalent exchange.

"As the Stars shone with one light, may you be one. As the Tree flourished upon the earth, may you flourish. Until the last Star falls from heaven, may your love endure. Until death parts you, may you be true. Until time itself is ended, may you be of one mind and one heart and soul."

It's rare that I sit back and enjoy a story as rich in world-building and descriptions as this. All in all, I found Beyond the Shadowed Earth to be a refreshingly original read with an unforgettable champion full of fierceness and spirit. Paired with the constant unpredictable nature of the story, this is my first 5 star fantasy read of 2020 that I highly suggest you add to your shelf.

Long live Empress Eda....gods permitting.

"She had never felt so strong, though the strength twisted through her with the bite of knives. She was pain and fury and rage.

She could brush the stars with the edges of her wings, and swallow the world with her power."


Beyond the Shadowed Earth

(Beneath the Haunting Sea)

by Joanna Ruth Meyer

Publisher: Page Street Kids Release Date: January 14th 2020

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy


It has always been Eda’s dream to become empress, no matter the cost. Haunted by her ambition and selfishness, she’s convinced that the only way to achieve her goal is to barter with the gods. But all requests come with a price and Eda bargains away the soul of her best friend in exchange for the crown.

Years later, her hold on the empire begins to crumble and her best friend unexpectedly grows sick and dies. Gnawed by guilt and betrayal, Eda embarks on a harrowing journey to confront the very god who gave her the kingdom in the first place. However, she soon discovers that he’s trapped at the center of an otherworldly labyrinth and that her bargain with him is more complex than she ever could have imagined.

Set in the same universe as Joanna’s debut, Beneath the Haunting Sea, Beyond the Shadowed Earth combines her incredible world building and lush prose with a new, villainous lead.






Google Books:


Joanna Ruth Meyer hails from Mesa, Arizona, where she lives with her dear family, a rascally feline, and an enormous grand piano. When she’s not writing, she’s trying to convince her students that Bach is actually awesome, or plotting her escape from the desert. She loves good music, thick books, looseleaf tea, rainstorms, and staring out of windows. One day, she aspires to own an old Victorian house with creaky wooden floors and a tower (for writing in, of course!).










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