shadow and light coverRating: 3.25 stars
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Length: Novel

For Henry Greenaway, surviving the car wreck that nearly took his life was the first challenge. Getting back on the ice as a functioning member of the Arizona Raptors is the second and right now it seems impossible. His leg injuries are healing, but the loss of some vision in one eye seems like it might be a career ending injury. On top of it all, Henry’s in financial trouble since his mother and her crooked partner have taken nearly all of his money. He’s isolated and struggling and even if he manages to overcome the physical hurdles, the mental ones might cripple him.

Apollo Vasquez lacks purpose. His best friend, Adler Lockhart, has a man of his own now and no longer needs the support Apollo offered. Then he learns of Henry and it’s decided he’ll go to Arizona to help the young man get back on his feet. It supposed to be a caretaking job, but Apollo and Henry find themselves drawn romantically to one another. Apollo does everything he can to get Henry returned to health, even though he knows it might mean the end of what they have. But for the Raptors, love and hockey go hand in hand so they just might get their happily ever after all.

Shadow and Light is ultimately about finding purpose when your world shifts sideways for one reason or another. It’s the third in the Arizona Raptors series and there are enough overlapping characters with the Harrisburg Railers that you really need to have a working knowledge of both series to appreciate this one.

Henry is a fairly sympathetic character. He’s been used and abused by the people who claimed to love him most and nearly lost his life in the process. He’s moody and emotional and all of that reads as relatable. Apollo sometimes feels more like a stereotype than a fully formed character, but his loyalty and love of family and friends is heartwarming. What doesn’t work, though, is their romance. I don’t feel like we’re ever really allowed to see it evolve. We’re just told it’s happening, as if they’re hitting relationship marks along a preset path. But a lot of whatever happens between them occurs off page and the passage of time from one chapter to the next only emphasizes this. Most of the time, I felt as though the only reason they were together was because they happened to be living in the same house and they had a romance of convenience rather than desire. The end result was a book that felt more like filler than a productive chapter in the Raptors series.

Shadow and Light ended up being one of those novels that tries hard, but never quite achieved its own goal for me. Henry and Apollo are interesting enough, but their romance doesn’t have much depth and fails to make this couple a vital part of the Arizona Raptors and Harrisburg Railers legacy.

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