- File Size: 2306 KB
- Print Length: 585 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Dauntless Realms (December 8, 2016)
- Publication Date: December 8, 2016
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B01MYXPO4G
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #194,403 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
Blood and Shadow (The Mage's Gift Book 1) Kindle Edition
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This story is about a carefree, innocent boy who loses his brothers right before a wedding. He thinks he can help find them and plans a sneaky escape only to be shut down. Rehash the escape/capture sequence a few more times as he tries to flee the evil wizard hell bent on converting him into a brainwashed lackey power tool in between periods of study until the end.
I really enjoyed the descriptive text. The author has a good, almost poetical way of describing a scene to shape the reader's mood which is my favorite type of writing. The grammar and writing style were good and I didn't notice any glaring issues.
The world building was fairly detailed in the religion and descriptions of buildings, but skipped out on any cultural details aside from tossing in a few words from other languages. Also, the story only takes place in two keeps plus some woods so you don't see much of the world. The religion was probably the most detailed as the kid protagonist asked a couple different people about their beliefs as he was trying to come to grips about why bad things were happening around him. Unlike the one reviewer, I didn't feel it to be too preachy, just people giving the boy info on what they got out of prayer. The only other possible issue was with the long names for some things which got a bit much for me but I just abbreviated them in my head.
I liked that the kid protagonist was intelligent and not very strong. It made him struggle with physical combat which he didn't really enjoy either. Though all his family are warriors, he doesn't want to be one and hates hurting others. This made for a good mini char development story arc. He also didn't know much about his magic and used it mostly instinctually. Never once did he turn into a superman with either his magic or his combat. The end solution he came up with was more about intelligence and quick thinking which stayed in line with his character and known abilities.
While the rinse/repeat of the escape/capture was tedious, I felt it added realism in that a kid his age probably would have a rough time trying to outwit the older, more experienced soldiers around him.
Most of the characters felt fairly developed except the evil mage (though I did love his creepy vibe). I liked how the characters in the evil wizard's place were more questionable as to whether they would help or hinder the kid.
The reasons I wanted to dock this story two stars has to do with the repeated use of escape/capture and the lack of building tension. Aside from one side plot involving a storm, every other tension building event was tied to the kid escaping and being caught. It got old really fast and failed to ramp up the tension that a good book delivers. A really good story builds the tension higher and higher until the final climax whereas this one was almost like a series of stories jammed together. What we really needed was something like political upheaval or the discovery of someone at the crux of all the nefarious deeds backed by evidence that builds a case in a suspenseful way instead of giving it away early on. While this was hinted at, nothing came as a result and then the kid was gone. I was expecting more reveals during the months the kid stayed with his father. The story also needed to point out the Bad Thing that could happen if the kid didn't get away instead of this vague thing that didn't really add much tension.
Because of the weak tension, the middle of the book when he's on lockdown in his father's keep dragged on. It didn't help that he was a whiney brat during most of this time. I wasn't sure who was annoyed more - me or the kid. Fortunately, it's just that section and he goes back to being more interesting.
I also found that knowing the wizard's name from the prologue removes all manner of suspense as to the bad guy in the story. Even if his name was changed or not given in the prologue, he acted too creepy such that even the boy could tell he was 'off' even if he was a relative. I would have preferred to have an entire creepy mystery with the evil mage guy planting the blame on others so you can see the turmoil building but not at the right villain. And he acts normal and nice until SURPRISE! he's the bad guy and he flips to creepy when the boy repeatedly defies him.
Finally, I would have liked an epilogue of some kind to wrap things up. The way it ended wasn't a cliffhanger, so no worries there, but I wanted a little closure of some kind.
In summary, despite the issues, I do want to read the next story and find out what happens. Hopefully we won't see any more escape/capture and maybe find out just what was going on with the evil mage's 'wife' since his motivation was never explained and as it stands it never made sense to me. There are other things the villain does that don't make sense because we never get his POV but maybe they are explained later.
I recommend this story if you are into youth coming of age type stories in the fantasy genre.
Most recent customer reviews
Another great book by Lythgoe. Wonderful description of the growth of Sherakai and a gripping tale.Read more