• Tracing Shadows

  • Scout, Book 1
  • By: Alex Lidell
  • Narrated by: Hayden Daviau
  • Length: 6 hrs and 21 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (38 ratings)

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Tracing Shadows  By  cover art

Tracing Shadows

By: Alex Lidell
Narrated by: Hayden Daviau
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Publisher's Summary

To protect the throne, 17-year-old spy Kali must play a male guardsman trainee by day and royal lady by night.

Orphaned and trained on a spymaster’s remote estate, Kali is a scout who works alone in the shadows. But when a terror group threatens the Dansil throne, the king forces Kali to accept a mission at the palace or forfeit her sister’s life. 

Suddenly thrust into the light, Kali must infiltrate high society as the royal Lady Lianna while penetrating the servant ranks as Kal, a male guardsman trainee. It doesn’t help that Trace, the harsh and enigmatic captain of the king’s guard, is soon assigned as both Lady Lianna’s palace escort and Kal’s commanding officer. 

As Kali edges closer to the truth behind the violent group’s identity, she uncovers dangerous secrets that could bring her mission to a brutal end. A scout’s job is to observe and report, never to engage...but if it means saving her sister and kingdom, Kali may have no choice. 

Tracing Shadows, by Amazon best-selling author Alex Lidell, is the first novel in the Scout series. Perfect for fans of Tamora Pierce, Leigh Bardugo, and Sarah J. Maas.

©2018 Alex Lidell (P)2018 Alex Lidell

What listeners say about Tracing Shadows

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A entertaining story.

With a good Narrator that presented the story in a manner that was entertaining this
Audio Book is worth your time.

The plot is well constructed with interesting characters.




This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

A female scout living two lives to learn info.

*I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

Hayden is a new narrator for me. She speaks with a pacing which I do not need to increase the speed of the book. Which is nice. This pace blended with Alex's writing of constant movement, keeping the story moving forward. There was one section that seemed to be a longer pause, which I'm not sure if it was meant to be there because a break in the section of the book or the audio part. At times, though, it feels as Hayden speaks fast to get through the book in a limited time frame, too fast. She does seem to fit the personality of Kali vocally though.

It's of a female playing a part of a Lady in royal court and as a guard trainee, as a male. It's a common story with two parts focused on one outcome. I listened on, and the more I did I liked the book. I'm curious as to what will happen in the next book with where we're left in a bit of an uproar and things that could happen.

The story is good, but I don't find it as catching as Alex's two other series. In the end we see there is something special going on with Kali but don't know exactly what yet. I think the catch of the story is the magic used with crystals and that Kali is something else in the magic spectrum. Also we have the kingdom the midst of rebellion with how things are going for their lives and the area they lost to another empire decades ago.

We get most of the story from Kali's view as she lives as Lady Lianna and Kal. There are moments added in from other characters. Violet is added in to give a view from her side, though the first section by her feels to introduce the fact that she likes to cut herself to take the emotional pain away. At first meeting, it felt as though Alex had to have something in the story that is emotional and catching. As the story line moves on, we see how Violet falls into a group, where they comfort her in a way she needs emotionally, who are against what the King is trying to do. It's easy to do when there is a void in one's heart, like Violet feels. The first meeting of Violet set this up for us to see.

As the story goes on I started to understand the troubles in the Dansil kingdom. They are struggling with baring children. Many woman are having still born children or dying in birth with the child. This is affecting the kingdom and people in it. They are not thriving as they should to survive as a kingdom. They need help.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

this is great

a wonderful story I love it very much it was so very good and very enjoyable book with a great narrator five stars definitely
I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Female Warrior, posing as a Male Guard

I really enjoyed this book. The narration in audio was a bit slow, but once I sped up the audio, the pacing went well. The narrator did a good job with the characters, and I enjoyed the tale. It uses the trope of a woman wanting to prove herself as good as a man in combat, and gets tasked with a mission to hide herself in the men's royal guard. The magic system is simple and revolves around crystals. I can see a lot more expanded on it if desired. Although the main character cannot use magic crystals, it seems it can, or she can affect it in some way.

My largest complaint of this book is the fact that she keeps changing from being herself (she's someone important in royalty as a woman) to being the male "guard" in the army, and I had a hard time keeping straight what role she was playing in several different spots. I think it could of used a bit more clarity at times which role she was playing.

Other than that, it does end in a pretty harsh cliffhanger with unresolved story without much resolution at the end.

Overall, I really enjoyed the book, and it looks like I may have found another fantasy author to keep an eye on. =)

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

My favorite series by Alex Lidell so far!

Story: Political intrigue? Check. Interesting and imperfect heroine? Check. Excellent world building? Check. Slow burn romance? Check. Tracing shadows is easily my favorite book by Alex Lidell so far. I devoured it via kindle in a matter of days, and was excited to "reread" via audiobook.

Performance: Not the best narrator I have ever listened to, but not bad by any means. This book is performed well, and the distinct voices of the characters come out strong.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

THIS IS SUPER GOOD

This book was very interesting and intense! The ending left me me wanting more! The narrator did an amazing job portraying the emotions of each character and the different voices were great too! Hayden is a good choice to narrate this story and I will definitely listen to the second part when it comes out!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Amazing listen!

I LOVED this audio! Fantastic characters and story kept me on the edge of my seat until the end. I can’t wait to listen to the next book! Great narrator too, she put so much emotion into her performance and had unique voices and accents for each character, even the many faces of Callie had their own unique voice. I received a free review copy of this audiobook at my request and I have voluntarily left this review.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Amazing story

This was an amazing fantasy read I have to say it felt a little slow but when it it picked up it never put me back down. I have read Alex Liddell’s power of Five series and this is definitely very different but man did I love it. I can not wait to get to the next part of the story.

  • Overall
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  • NC
  • 07-01-19

Fast-paced fantasy adventure with a lot of depth

I've been tearing through Alex Lidell's books lately and this one was no exception--I loved pretty much everything about it.

Kal is determined, witty, takes-no-nonsense, and is above all human. And that humanity is what I really love--she makes mistakes. She says smart things, and she says really not smart things that get her in trouble. She makes mistakes and there are consequences.

This reminded me a bit of Robin Hobb's Farseer books (some of my favorites), in the best possible way. Kal is an illegitimate royal trained as a spy, and her only legitimate lives are through her various roles, which are really fun to watch her play out. But she isn't truly any of her roles. Sometimes I get a little tired of the girl-dresses-as-boy trope (even while I admit I'm still a sucker for it), but it's balanced really well here with her dual roles as both Kal and Lady Lianna.

The romance is just right, too. And the world is that perfect balance of really rich politics without taking over the story. And this story doesn't pull punches--Things Happen, and there's some pretty deep stuff going on beneath a plot that looks deceptively light/fun at first glance. There's a lot of depth to this book on all levels, and I really appreciate that in a story.

The only thing I didn't care for was the ending--I'm not a fan of out-and-out cliffhangers, though I think you can get this as an omnibus on Audible, too (and I'd recommend that for this reason). But, on to the next book! I really can't wait to see what happens next.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Great book

Great story. It is very descriptive so you feel like you are in the story and the characters are wonderfully written and complex. The narrator does a good job of matching the tone of the story.

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  • DabOfDarkness
  • 08-06-18

A good start to a fun series!

Kali and Trace make a really good team! I enjoyed getting to know Kali on her own and even enjoyed her initial interactions with Trace, who was a bit high and mighty. There was a bit of silly tension between the two as they worked out their always fluctuating relationship but I can forgive them that.

Kali’s young enough to have doubts about her abilities on her first real espionage mission. Still, there were situations that I thought her training would have readied her for, like nudity in the guards change room, etc. So, I did do some small eyerolls. After all, what good is a spy that gives themselves away by blushing over a bit of casual nudity? Kali totally redeemed herself with her knife skills.

Leaf, Kali’s sister who is being held hostage, has her secret skills too – she’s talented with the crystal healing magic, a Whisperer. Alas, this talent can get a person killed. Even though she has such a small role, I liked her character and want to learn more about her.

Crown Prince Wil and his sister Violet are very different from each other. Kali is charged with protecting Wil, so she has to traipse around with him, and also Trace. Meanwhile, Violet is an introverted young lady who has severe doubts of her self-worth. She is also caught up in deep grieving over the recent death of their mother. While I didn’t particularly like her character, she gave us a window into a dangerous and manipulative religious group.

Next to Kali, Trace becomes my favorite character…. yes, it’s a tie between the two of them. While the plot and characters start off simple, we get a little layering later in the tale, with Trace especially. He’s got plenty of secrets and hidden skills. Kali eventually grows a bit after she makes a bad mistake that leaves her injured.

The story never lagged for me. Plenty of action interspersed with spy stuff kept me engaged. The tale does end on a cliff hanger so I hope Book 2 comes out on audiobook very soon. 4.5/5 stars.

The Narration: Hayden Daviau gave a really good performance with this narration. Her male voices are believable and she had distinct voices for all the characters. I especially liked her waspish, peeved voice for Leaf while she tries to attend to Kali’s injuries. She did a great job with the emotional scenes as well. 5/5 stars.

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Alex Lidell. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • BookAddict'sReviews
  • 07-31-18

Want something more in depth

The voice narration by Hayden is good, but at times I felt she spoke too quickly. Overall her voice narration for the different characters is distinct and full of emotion. There were a couple times that long pauses were used, I think due to some editing. It felt a little off and broke up the story for me. I would give the audio a 4/5 stars.

The storyline by Lidell is good, although I think it could go into more depth. Listening to this story I was wondering why things had turned out the way they did for some characters, and I do think we get some answers by the end. Just not enough I’d say to feel completely secure with where the story is going. I also felt with characters like Violet that they were used to spice up the novel, but also didn’t go too deep with them as well. I would give the story a 3.5-4/5 stars. It’s a well written novel, I just want more attachment to my characters and setting!

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Alex Lidell. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Book Addict
  • 07-27-18

An Exciting and Magical World!

Tracing Shadows is a fast paced fantasy novel, following the fortunes of Kali a trained scout that can adopt a male persona. This helps her on spy an underground society that terrorises the local people. Her other identity is Lady Liliana niece to the king and her sister Leaf who is posing as her maid.
As this is the first book there is a lot of world building, plenty of action. We also become familiar with all the characters. I don’t want to spoil it for you, this is aimed at the young adult market with Kali being a teenager. We have plenty of males in the book as Kal has to bunk with the other guardsmen, and Will the Crown Prince decides to make Kali his guardsman.
Plenty of action as Kal, Trace and Lucas discover who’s behind the violence and trying to keep  a war going. There is plenty going on which I’m not going spoil for you. If you love kingdoms with magic and interesting characters, some more than others. I listened to this in one go as the narrator  was brilliant with the different voices, and it kept me glued to the story. The narrator was superb, I wasn’t pulled from the story once.