- File Size: 5691 KB
- Print Length: 614 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: North Col; 1 edition (December 1, 2015)
- Publication Date: December 1, 2015
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B016KW8NH8
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #541,078 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
The Labyrinth of Flame (The Shattered Sigil Book 3) Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
I decided to read The Whitefire Crossing attracted by a couple of good reviews I had seen from trusted sources and the fact that mountain climbing paid an important role. High mountain passes and epic fantasy do not usually go together, but I love both of them.
I read the whole trilogy one after the other, and it was a really enjoyable experience. This story pressed all the right buttons for me. It is something between Epic Fantasy and Swords & Sorcery (only, with no swords and a lot of sorcery). Instead of swords, we get intrigue and spying. Oh, and did I mention, a lot of magic?
The story is told from the point of view of two characters: Dev, whose chapters are narrated in first person, works as a guide for caravans wishing to cross the rugged Whitefire Mountains. He is also a former tainted child (tainted children have several psychic powers that they lose at puberty) and has a passion for mountain climbing. After a betrayal by his partner, he desperately needs money to make good on a promise he made long ago. Kiran, whose chapters are narrated in third person, is on the run and hires Dev to smuggle him across the mountains and through the spell-protected border of the neighboring country of Alathia. He is willing to pay a lot. What could possibly go wrong?
From then on, the trilogy is a wild ride with very good pacing. There is hardly a moment of respite. The heroes are always in extreme danger, hunted by incredibly powerful and ruthless enemies. Schafer may not be a great stylist, but she is an excellent storyteller and she creates memorable characters: compelling, passionate and with interesting internal conflicts. Also central to the trilogy is one of my favorite bromances ever.
I read the three books one after the other and enjoyed all of them thoroughly. When the story was over, it left me with that satisfied but wistful sensation you get when you finish a long and excellent story, and you know you are going to miss these characters. I recommend this trilogy unreservedly.
not much food to eat
poisoned water to drink
traitors from near and far
rivers melting the skin
wacky tribesfolk to dodge
canyons going to flood
Ruslan fast at their heels
demons after their blood
Yet Schafer's love for her characters shines bright in the way she created Dev for Kiran, and Kiran for Dev, joining them together in a symbiotic bond of aid, friendship and love. The bond is simultaneously a yoke willingly shouldered and a liberating devotion forged and continually reinforced by and through crises.
Dev and Kiran's foes also deserve a mention. They are formidable--powerful, cunning, resourceful, in many ways more than a match for the heroes. While they are the villains in the tale, they are not unreasonable, whimsical automatons. Schafer demonstrates that they, too, know something of loyalty, friendship and devotion though perhaps often misdirected and misused. You can understand their drive and motivation on some level. Further, Ruslan, Mikail and Lizaveta's lives are intricately woven with those of Dev and Kiran and their association is not always undesirable. There are interpersonal relationships coloring the tale beyond the life and death, worldly repercussions. Neither are Dev's and Kiran's other foes inconsequential or two-dimensional. Rather, they have their own legitimate, even noble, reasons for pursuing an objective that is diametrically opposed to that of our heroes. I shall say no more about these other foes. I might have said too much already.
The other characters are noteworthy as well. The people that Dev and Kiran encounter are not decorative, incidental or insignificant. Cara, Melly, Marten, Lara and a long list of others--their words, choices, actions and even their very presence have very real impact on Dev and Kiran and their objective. As with the main foes, their lives intersect with Dev's and Kiran's on a substantial and often personal level. They are all integral to the narrative and without any of whom the tapestry would not be complete.
Other than exploring friendship and family--by blood and by choice—the LABYRINTH OF FLAME also delves into the concept of power and its many levels. One motivated by an unrestrained desire for power will always leave injury, death and destruction in his wake. Wielded alone, power can be fearsome; wielded with others, it can be magnified or diminished. Power also includes influence, especially over others, to which much care must be given as good intention is insufficient to guarantee a favorable outcome.
Finally, THE LABYRINTH OF FLAME demonstrates that relationships are, and shall always remain, complex. Enemies can be chivalrous as well as villainous. Allies can present an intractable hindrance as much as comfort and aid. Friends can be found in unexpected or inconvenient places. Family can—and will—often be difficult. Yet relationships are how a person grows and develops and how one demonstrates that growth and development, whatever direction it may take.
The end of a series can be a rather melancholy event, the realization that you have to put paid to your time with a world, a host of characters and a story that has entertained, intrigued and captivated you. There is also satisfaction, however, to seeing a story through to its conclusion and the satisfaction is great indeed when a story ends as this one did—leaving no stones unturned, leaving no character unfulfilled, leaving the reader sated yet with still enough to wonder about and hope for more.
One last thing. Do not try to eat the book. It's NOT an actual turducken.
Thank you, Courtney Schafer. I will forward my therapy and anti-anxiety medication bills forthwith.
I'm sad to see this story and these characters end, but happy to have a new author to follow!