Carved Amidst the Shadows: M. T. Fontaine *Review*

Image of the cover of Carved Amidst the Shadows by M. T. Fontaine is in the middle of an image of teal and grey inked colour. Added text says: Kaianne is the sole survivor of a massacre... And soon the world as everyone knows it will fall.

Genres: Dark Fantasy, Fantasy Romance, Fantasy | Release Date: 30 August 2022 | Series: Brands of Taelgir | Series Book: #1 | Pages: 561 | Indie Author | Review

“This woman danced to her own tune. Carved or not… Her agenda would never match his own.”

M. T. Fontaine


Thanks to the generosity of M. T. Fontaine and Book Sirens, I was given an e-arc of the fantastic dark fantasy, Carved Amidst the Shadows. It is the first book in the Brands of Taelgir series and I can tell you right now, I am signing up for every book that follows! In this realm, there are two types of people: the Marked and the Carved. The Marked are loyal to the system, whereas the Carved are traitors. Or so everyone thinks…

When Kaianne’s entire family is murdered simply because her new brother was born without a brand (aka a Flawed), she soon learns that her world’s foundation was never solid to begin with. Joining a rebellious group of Carved, Kaianne plots her revenge against the kingsmen and nobles that set everything on fire. No one can stop her now, not even the Prince who was best friends with her brother, Grayson. But will her thirst for revenge be enough? And what will Prince Andreiyes decide to do: kill her or join her cause? There are deadly machinations going on, and no one knows what the cost will be when the dust settles…

Image of the cover of Carved Amidst the Shadows by M. T. Fontaine is to the top right of a blurred image of ice tracks. Added text says: The Carved are forming a rebellion... And Kaianne and Andreiyes will soon discover what lines should not be crossed.
Carved Amidst the Shadows is a fast, tumultuous epic fantasy. I absolutely loved it!

Happiness Boost:

The world building for this book is *epic*. And I do mean epic! Carved Amidst the Shadows is a treasure trove of detail, without being overwhelming; there’s even a different way characters mark time to what we know. I am always over the moon when an author gifts us such an extensive realm to wander through, and this book didn’t feel like anything I had read before. How wonderful is that?! And by the way, if you do get a little lost, there’s a glossary at the back to help you. Fontaine thinks of everything!

This world isn’t solely about ‘good’ vs. ‘evil’. Yes, there are some people we can (and do) loathe with a passion, but for the most part? There is a grey area which the rest live in, because as we all know, life is complex. When you’re looking for a story with more than just the stereotypical fantasy characters, this book delivers in spades. And even though we want to protect our protagonist, the fact that we can ache over some of Kaianne’s choices is a definite happiness boost.

There are quite a few surprises in Carved Amidst the Shadows, and each one ramps up the danger and intrigue. I just counted my highlights in this e-arc and it’s 179 passages… And that was with me trying to be strict and hold back! That’s proof right there that this fantasy is incredible. If you love a story that is driven by both plot and character, which keeps you questioning until the very end of the book? Let me tell you, you’ll want this one on your bookshelf.


I couldn’t find a downside in this beautiful story. I honestly loved it from start to finish.

Final Thoughts:

I have loved M. T. Fontaine’s debut dark fantasy, and this book will definitely be one I’ll read again. Carved Amidst the Shadows hits the reader with tragedy within just a few pages, and from there the adventure rarely stops to let us breathe. I was hooked, and I honestly wanted to look away when Kaianne’s life was threatened once again. Hadn’t she been through enough?! But no, she hadn’t. And that’s the great thing about this beautiful, wonderful story. I couldn’t look away. I needed to know what came next. And even now, I’m aching to know what Fontaine has in store for all of us. This book deserves all the stars…

Now I’m signing off so I can go order a physical copy, because Carved Amidst the Shadows needs to have a physical presence on my bookshelf. Happy reading, glitterbugs!

You can pre-order Carved Amidst the Shadows via these links:

Amazon | Booktopia | Fishpond

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