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Merlin's Shadow (The Merlin Spiral) Kindle Edition
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The book's main strength is its vividly drawn setting and atmosphere. The weather conditions, geography and physical discomfort the characters experience are brought to life on every page. (A scene involving an escape from a cockroach-filled dungeon is definitely not for the squeamish.) The characters, at least the main ones, are portrayed as real people, as opposed to stereotypical storybook heroes and heroine. They sometimes lose faith, even cry and stumble, but always get back up on their feet (even, as in the case of one, after falling into a corpse pit). The author also does everything to ensure that you can read this book without needing to read its predecessor: including a pronunciation guide, glossary of all characters, and as mentioned a brief "The story so far," as a preface. Overall, it's an engrossing read and an original take on a legend.