…a striking, infuriating, endlessly surprising and wonderfully disturbing work, penned in prose whose clarity, wit and elegance more seasoned wordsmiths must dream about.
…Kalin’s honest writing delivers a deeply human heroine, prey to fear, embarrassment and pride, and who, cornered with decisions upon which lives balance, doesn’t always choose rightly. She feels real, though, and even if you bemoan her actions you’ll understand them every time. As a study of an unbreakable young woman battling the manifold barriers that ensnare her, Shadow Queen succeeds as surely as we hope Matilde will.
I haven't read a book with such relentless drive for ages. …Allen & Unwin are pushing it largely as straight fantasy, which I think is misleading. This is political, machiavellian, more than fantastic. And it's also fucking brilliant more than fantastic too.
Deborah Kalin is a newcomer to the world of fantasy and, judging by Shadow Queen, the first of a two-volume effort, she has a bright future. The book has strong narrative drive, a fiery protagonist and most importantly … it moves at a cracking pace.
Deborah Kalin’s SHADOW QUEEN is totally brilliant — fascinating and often painful … unlike anything I’ve ever read before
Shadow Queen … offers the start of what may well be a career to watch.
Be prepared for a late night because this book is impossible to put down…If you enjoy reading fantasy fiction, you will love this book. If you have never tried fantasy, this is the perfect place to start. If you hate fantasy, this book will change your mind forever.
Shadow Queen is a fantastic book. It is magical, complex, deeply emotional and very dark… I was hooked in the first few pages.
Kalin's tension and pacing skills lead me to keep reading chapter after chapter until I fell at my knees at the conclusion.
A powerful, exciting escape.
This is strong, tense, economical yet poetic writing by first-time author Kalin, and her world is harsh and treacherous. Gripping. Highly recommended.
Deborah Kalin has hit the ground running with this superb fantasy … Her prose is flowing and deceptively easy to read, appearing artless even in passages that can, on closer investigation, be seen to be thoughtfully and cleverly constructed. Her descriptions are delicious.
assured writing, and the main character makes this novel rather unforgettable and truly a sensational read
…up there with the best international fantasy writing.
Kalin’s writing is smooth and effortless … The plot is engaging and fast-paced, making this book very difficult to put down … Deborah Kalin is an Australian talent to watch.
Kalin is a master of world building and her strengths as a writer lie in her ability to weave a complex plot complete with political turmoil and hard won alliances.
[Kalin's] characters are utterly real, so completely possessed of their own destinies, foibles, beliefs and motives that the idea of an author sitting down and planning their story feels almost…wrong. And yet, one has, and the longer I think about that fact, the more it becomes miraculous. The Binding is an incredible, beautifully written duoloy, and Deborah Kalin is a writer to watch.
…the intrigue and the lack of sentimentality of Game of Thrones, but …[with] the fast pacing of YA…
One of the strongest parts of this story is Matilde's character, which is one of the most believable female heroines I have encountered. Every move she makes is credible, and the responses of her adversaries are equally credible. This is rarer in fantasy than it should be. She is strong and smart, but she is not charmed or presciently brilliant. The actions she takes have prices. Also, I loved that in the whole book there is never an evaluation or even much of an impression of what she looks like physically, but you are so drawn into her situation and character that this never feels like a gap.