Welcome to my stop on the TBR and Beyond Tours Book Tour forStalking Shadows by Cyla Panin. I was so excited when we scheduled this tour and couldn’t wait to start. Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom to see the tour schedule for other content creators.
Thank you to Cyla Panin and PUBLISHER for providing me with an ARC for this review
Cyla Panin is an MG and YA writer who prefers to look at the world through a dusting of magic. After spending most of her childhood wanting to escape into the wonderful worlds her favourite authors created, she’s now using her own words to craft magical places. When not writing, Cyla can be found playing dinosaurs with her two young boys, watching swashbuckling and/or period TV shows with her husband, and, of course, reading.
Her YA fantasy debut, STALKING SHADOWS is a gothic, feminist fantasy retelling of Beauty and the Beast. To protect her sister, Marie laces perfumes with honeysuckle to mark victims for Ama to hunt when she transforms into a beast at night. But when a child in their town is killed, Marie is forced to acknowledge that she might be losing control of Ama—and must instead find a cure for this curse. It will be published by Amulet/Abrams in fall 2021.
About The Book
Title: Stalking Shadows
Author: Cyla Panin
Publisher: Amulet Books
Publishing Date: September 14th, 2021
Page Length: 400
Genre: Fantasy Retelling
Age Range: YA
Rep: mental health (anxiety)
A gothic YA fantasy debut about a young woman striving to break her sister’s curse and stop the killing in her small French town
Seventeen-year-old Marie mixes perfumes to sell on market day in her small eighteenth-century French town. She wants to make enough to save a dowry for her sister, Ama, in hopes of Ama marrying well and Marie living in the level of freedom afforded only to spinster aunts. But her perfumes are more than sweet scents in cheap, cut-glass bottles: A certain few are laced with death. Marie laces the perfume delicately–not with poison but with a hint of honeysuckle she’s trained her sister to respond to. Marie marks her victim, and Ama attacks. But she doesn’t attack as a girl. She kills as a beast.
Marking Ama’s victims controls the damage to keep suspicion at bay. But when a young boy turns up dead one morning, Marie is forced to acknowledge she might be losing control of Ama. And if she can’t control her, she’ll have to cure her. Marie knows the only place she’ll find the cure is in the mansion where Ama was cursed in the first place, home of Lord Sebastien LaClaire. But once she gets into the mansion, she discovers dark secrets hidden away–secrets of the curse, of Lord Sebastien . . . and of herself.
What inspired you to write Stalking Shadows?
I was inspired to write Stalking Shadows after coming across an article about the historical mystery of the Beast of Gévaudan one day. I started reading more about this beast that killed more than 100 people in one area in 18th century France, and starting thinking about the possible connection to the story of Beauty and the Beast. The Beast of Gévaudan often killed women and children as a result of them usually being unarmed, and I wanted to flip that story and have the beast with the power be a girl in my book.
Were there any interesting facts that you found while researching for this book that didn’t end up being used?
In the 18th century, when the Beast of Gévaudan was attacking, the King of France sent hunters down to the area to try and capture it. When I first plotted Stalking Shadows, I had Marie and Ama’s father go to Versailles and come back one of the king’s hunters, but I scrapped that because I wanted the community they are in to feel closed off and almost inaccessible to the outside world.
Without spoilers, what scene did you have the most fun writing and why?
There’s a scene where Marie and Sebastian are in a cave together, and let’s just say there’s “body heat needed for survival” involved.
Stalking Shadow deals with mental health. Do you believe it is important to have more themes of mental health within YA Fantasy?
I do believe it’s important to have mental health rep in YA fantasy because when you live with something like anxiety disorders, as one example, in your life, it can be helpful to know that others are experiencing similar things, that you’re not alone it in, that it’s normal, and that everything can be okay. I would have loved to see characters with anxiety and some of the physical manifestations of that in books I read as a teen — I think I would have felt less like I always had to hide it.
If you could spend the day with Marie, Ama, and Sebastian, what would you do with each of them?
Oh fun! I’d ask Ama to show me the deepest, best part of the forest that she’s explored in her beast form. With Sebastian, I’d want to spend some time in his library and get him to show me his favourite books. With Marie, we’d go rabbit hunting and just talk while we hid in the grass, waiting for a target.
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