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Shadow of the Ghost: Book 1: Lord of Chaos Trilogy Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
I will not summarize the plot here, as other reviews have already done so. I will simply comment as to what I perceived to be the strengths and weaknesses of this work. First, the strengths: The writing is very competent and well edited. The author makes excellent use of imagery and exposition, so that the reader is well placed in the scene. There are too many characters to develop them all, but some are developed well. They are interesting and unique to say the least, particularly Ky, the main character. It is quite obvious that the author really, really enjoys and cares about this character--a good thing in a fantasy. `Shadow' is not like any other fantasy I have read; it is a unique approach.
Nothing about this book is simple. Ky, the main character, is an enigmatic little elf, who turns out to be quite the force to be reckoned with. I wasn't sure whether I liked him for a few chapters, but once I began to realize his nature, I warmed to him. By the time I came to the end of the story, I really enjoyed him (when is an elf NOT an elf....?) I will say no more.
Only `down' side: this is a complicated, multi-layered story requiring attention, or one may be quickly lost (at least, I was). I found some parts confusing, but after a bit of explanation by the author, I was back on track. This is not a story to be tackled by an under-motivated reader--this is a challenging tale that will keep you engaged, as long as you don't allow too many distractions. The four-star rating reflects my occasional confusion rather than the quality of the writing.
The diversity of characters suggests roots in RPG, and I have recommended this book to any and all of my `gamer' friends. They will have no trouble following it. I wouldn't recommend this book for mindless entertainment; however, if you want to be intrigued, challenged, and excited by a good, intricate plot line, `Shadow of the Ghost' is for you.
In the beginning, for me, there was a certain sense of displacement--in particular the preface--that left me somewhat confused. I could have done with a bit more explanation and narrative, since it would have helped me get into the story better.
First of all, I get what the author is trying to achieve, but I think that for lazy readers such as myself--who like to have everything, motivation, action and deed fully described, rather than only the technical and physical description--Shadow of the Ghost requires a bit of a mind shift to fully enjoy this creative fantasy story. The rather intense cadence followed a straight line that rarely diverted. It comes down to the fact that I would have liked to see the author take a bit of risk in his sentence structures, rather than go for the steady and consistent.
The thing I missed while traveling through Artesz' world, was the "why" rather than the "how", since his descriptive prose focused primarily on actual actions, instead of motivation, which allowed me less of a connection with the protagonists.
I do have to warn that I am definitely a character-based reader. To me a plot is secondary to my connection with characters.
Artesz created a multiple layered plot that was, for me, difficult to keep track of at times. All the elements were there, keeping me on my toes throughout. This novel is definitely a prelude to more to follow since few (if any) of the multiple questions I had get resolved in part one.
I love the idea of all-powerful Gods, especially if they are suffering from a slight handicap, which is, in this case, missing memories. Even after finishing the story, I am still a bit in the dark about what the author tried to convey with this part (I am hoping it will resolved later on in the series) but it is a unique feature of the story from my point of view.
Together "the Nine" Gods battle against their ancient enemy, while we (the readers) are going back and forth between what can only be two different dimensions, (or three, if you include the world of Chaos). The world as we know it--or a version thereof--and a fantasy world of elves, goblins, orcs and wizards. While the Nine face their woes and wage war, an "Old Man" resides in Austria in the late eighties and early nineties. For some reason the contrast made me smile and brought that "little extra" any book needs.
Though there are a vast amount of characters to keep track of throughout the story, Delmaria, to me, was most likable. She had a cozy and caring way about her, and Artesz certainly managed to make her a prominent figure within his tale.
Archos, a wizard of old in my estimation, is the wise one and a solid protagonist. A man who lives and breathes the cause, so to speak. Dedicated and strong, he is a good basis for a story to evolve around.
All in all there was an interesting mêlée that gave diversity to the tale when necessary. Personally I would have benefited from a more detailed description of their appearance. I like to be able to form an image of the characters I read about, and yet, for instance, it took me more than a page to discover that Archos had a beard. It was almost as if it were mentioned as an afterthought, but by then it no longer fit with the image this character had become in my head.
Most of the other characters were either transient or sporadic, leaving us with Ky, the lead.
Due to what appeared to be mostly only description of deeds, the main protagonist failed to fully engulf me in his heavy burdens--e.g. it is explained that he is frightened but not the how, or the why, which I regretted a bit.
It left me with some trouble to commiserate with elf Ky as he struggled with the toils of his Godly life (of which there were many) and tried to find his way through the maze of his missing memories.
In due time, however, vengeful Ky did grow on me and he was a wonderfully powerful god beyond compare.
Rachk-Sha, puts in an only sporadic appearance, but was properly evil and with a wonderfully archaic choice of words that, in my mind, would fit a Shakespearian actor. Personally I prefer a clear-cut enemy, but Artesz left me guessing a long time if this villain was the only one I had to worry about.
On the most part Rachk-Sha was described as a feline creature, and this left me with some trouble in creating a clear image of him. Like I said, I'm a lazy reader.
There was quite a bit of it, described in short and concise detail that went to the point of extreme bluntness. Personally, I would have liked to see more of the effect it had on the characters, the emotional burden it laid on them, if you will.
On the most part the sharply descriptive events left me a little desensitized to the horror of said occurrences, much to my regret.
Other than that, if effectively showed the might of the main character, his peers and enemy in a very satisfactory fashion.
As you read this story, you will discover that Artesz has a wealth of creativity just bursting to get out. This is, of course, one of the most important aspects of fantasy, and in world creation his imagination goes to great heights that should fascinate the die-hard fantasy readers. He has a good eye for detail, and to get his image across, he goes into specific detail until there is little left to guess about.
Though regretfully not "my cup of tea", Tanner Artesz and his Shadow of the Ghost offered me a fascinating story into a world that was, as of recently, unknown to me.
I will gladly recommend this book to those who love to submerge themselves into a fantasy world with definite possibilities for a follow up.
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