Review: Master of Restless Shadows by Ginn Hale // Or, The Gays vs. the Fantasy Church

★★★★☆ | This releases on my birthday, yo.

“For his part Narsi wondered how Lord Vediya managed to woo so many lovers when he so blithely and constantly implied himself to be riddled with merrypox.”

Title: Master of Restless Shadows

Series: Master of Restless Shadows, #1; The Cadeleonian Series, #5

Author: Ginn Hale

Publisher: Blind Eye Books

Release Date:October 6th 2019

Pages: 406

Genres:  Fantasy | LGBT


Two M/M Relationships; all four have POV
Side Sapphics
Side Trans Man
Lots of Religion Talk; kinda parallel to Christianity & Rome/Vatican
Magic in a World without Magic
Court Intrigues

A childhood promise has led Master Physician Narsi Lif-Tahm to leave his hometown and journey to the royal capital of Cieloalta. Atreau Vediya, the man Narsi is chasing after, had a lot going on for him between the double life of a lousy author and the spymaster for the Duke of Rauma.

But with the royal bishop’s attack on witches, a physician is exactly what Atreau needs to stop a war.



The action takes place in a parallel Italy with the Crown and the Bishop wrestling for power. 

Long ago there was a big battle in Cieloalta. Since then the magic was cast out and the only acceptable version of it is channelled by the Church while the rest is treated as a heresy.

This places lots of power into the Bishops hands and lets him rid of inconvenient people.

We also get to see many aspects of Cieloalta while following four different protagonists.

Narsi is close to one priest that isn’t awful so he brings the good side of the Church along with the world of medicine and his perspective of an outsider seeing Cieloalta for the first time along with us.

Atreau shows us the underground of scoundrels and artists. Sometimes both at the same time. He knows the secrets of the capital and he learns them both while sneaking around and partying.

The Duke of Rauma brings us into the official court life. The balls. The daily duties. Politics. We tour palaces and look at marble statues with him all the while whispering in someone’s ear.

Ariz gets the worst parts — the awful people living there. We see him struggle and suffer in silence and learn that there is evil even in the most beautiful places. Or especially so.

The POVs are focused on men but all of them rely on amazing strong complex women and even though they’re not the focus of the story, their characters are really well developed.


I skimmed a bit because of how it was written so I may as well join those.

This book will be great for people who love history. I hate history. There are so many names and titles and politics. I enjoy political intrigues but I have a goldfish memory when it comes to names so I couldn’t get so into it when I barely knew who is who for a long time. 

But that is more of my personal failure so let’s put it on the book’s failures. It was interesting even though I didn’t always know what was going on.

It was also rather slow, though my attention span is different than other people’s due to my mental health stuff. You may enjoy the rich exposition. I couldn’t stay focused for too long at a time.

What I really enjoyed about the writing style was that every POV had a distinctive voice. Each of those men had his own way of thinking and tone. Also, it’s hilarious at times.


There were two relationships here.

The first one is Narsi and Atreau. They have kind of a budding romance and that at best; Narsi harbours his childhood crush while Vediya focuses on securing kingdom’s safety and starts developing some interest in the other man but his past attempts at romance make him reluctant and he places his country above individual people.

The other is Ariz and Fedeles. And, well, now we have the longing and yearning guys! Those two are like magnets and desperately want some closeness in their lives. Ariz lives under difficult circumstances though and he can’t hope from much from life so he can’t even get the hint if it hit him in the face (also involving himself with the Duke would be dangerous for both of them).


I’m interested in the 2nd book as well as the other books from this world but (in my opinion) it would profit from some stricter editing as it would be better shorter and faster-paced.

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13 thoughts on “Review: Master of Restless Shadows by Ginn Hale // Or, The Gays vs. the Fantasy Church

    1. The past is super interesting but I have 0 brain cells when it comes to names and dates so I’m always lost ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
      The book is interesting but I advise to write out people’s names and have some colourful pens with you so you can remember how the hell they’re related! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Great review! I love how you formatted your post! The religious aspects of the book sound really interesting; I love reading about history, even in fiction, and all that jazz, so this may be right up my alley!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I get super confused when it comes to history because of my poor memory when it comes to names but someone without that issue will surely love this one! It had amazing atmosphere and the characters were very intriguing 🙂

      If you’re into history, you may also want to check out The Founder of Diabolism! It only has unofficial translation but it was amazing even though I had to draw up a chart with all the names lol! I won’t be posting review here I think but I want to redraw my chart to help people with chicken brains like mine make sense of all the names and I may add a short note but it’s ancient China m/m slow burn with war and ghosts and zombie and music magic ❤


  2. Hey! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any trouble with hackers? My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing several weeks of hard work due to no backup. Do you have any solutions to stop hackers?


    1. No, fortunately, no hackers here! I’m so sorry though — I’m now thinking maybe I should back up my posts somewhere? Hah, I think you can export and import posts in ‘tools’ and it may be wise to export them from time to time just in case maybe?
      The worst I had to deal with is losing drafts and comments so I save the drafts as often as possible and copy comments before posting. I’m so sorry that happened to you! It’s so much of your work lost :c


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