Review: PM Freestone – Shadowscent: The Darkest Bloom

Shadowscent: The Darkest Bloom
PM Freestone

Rakel’s father is dying of the Rot, and Rakel knows there is only one way to save him – to use her sensitive sense of smell to gain a position as a perfumer. Instead she finds herself tricked and serving in the one place she cares nothing for – and suddenly faced with accusations of poisoning the crown prince. The only person who might be on her side has his own dark thoughts and wounds to hide…

While I initially thought that the magic was scent-based in the end it ended up being part of every place in society. I could easily accept that scents could do wonderful things and I could see the real-world basis of the author’s thoughts (people with memory loss can remember more things when they smell familiar scents, HIV/the Rot can’t be caught just by breathing the same air).

This is a ‘quest’ novel so don’t go looking for any character development. Rakel remains her impulsive self, and Ash remains elusive. I’d align it as being a newer ‘Deltora Quest’ – instead of pipe parts and jewels they are looking for scents.  Others have commented that they don’t want Rakel and Ash falling in love – and I can reassure you that that doesn’t SEEM to happen in this novel.

I would have been more than satisfied for this novel to be a stand-alone. And right up until the final chapter, it seemed like it was! Some elements hinted that there could be more, but it wasn’t guaranteed. Basically I felt cheated. I wanted to just sit down and enjoy a novel without having to hold its suspense in my head for a long time afterwards and chew it over for the next year!

Again, I am certain that I have read another novel with this premise, but for the life of me I can’t remember. I’m pretty sure the main character had the brilliant nose, but used it to both harm and heal. Does anyone remember?

I’ll tuck this neatly into teenage fiction and recommend it for reader who enjoy plot based stories that don’t require very much thought or expect very much of the reader. I’ll give it 4 stars to be generous. I’d read the other books in this series, but I’m not sure I would seek out the author’s other works.

Scholastic | 1st May 2019 | AU$16.99 | paperback

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