Of Shadow and Sea (The Elder Empire: Shadow Book 1) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 338 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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If you're reading this, then you probably know that Wight actually wrote 2 "first books" of the series, the other being Of Sea and Shadow. They both cover roughly the same time period and intersect at various points, but follow two different main characters, allowing us to see the same events through two different perspectives. There is no suggested order to reading these books, but I imagine that whichever you read first will color your bias towards the other character.
This book features a flashback system that is very reminiscent to Sanderson's Words of Radiance. The perspective is almost all the main character Shera with a few other POV's sprinkled in, but there are regular flashbacks that flesh out Shera's back story. Similar to Words of Radiance, there are momentous events in Shera's life that have greatly shaped who she is in the present that are hinted at throughout the book and are built up to in the flashbacks. Also, there are short asides at the beginning of each chapter that help us to learn how the world and its magic work, which is a good thing because we're tossed into the deep end, so to speak.
I'm reading the companion book, Of Sea and Shadow, now, and it will be interesting to see if my pro-Shera bias is maintained as I read the perspective of the other main character. I admit, I was sad to see that the world of The Traveler's Gate trilogy wasn't going to be expanded upon, but I enjoyed this book quite a bit.
Of Shadow and Sea has a great cast: Shera, a likable assassin who wants nothing more than a nap, and her equally likable team. We also see the antagonists who star in their own story: Calder and his crew. Over the course of the story we begin get to know these characters, but there is still plenty of room for development as the trilogy unfolds.
The unique twist we are given of these parallel novels is fantastic. It is fun to watch the same events from a different set of eyes and see the characters that you have come to love in a different light as the antagonists in someone else's story.
Will Wight is pretty well known, but mostly for Cradle and the Traveler's Gate series. Deservedly, as those are both great. That said, my favorite series by him (and his favorite, incidentally) are the Shadow/Sea books.
I won't go into a ton of detail at the moment, but they feel deeper and more complex than his other stuff. The characters are wonderful, the action is fantastic (as it always is with him), and the world feels more grounded than in his other novels.
The series has a gimmick, though, and it's one that I was highly skeptical of going in. He pulls it off, though, in spades.
It's actually two series that occur concurrently, from the perspective of two opposing characters who are on opposite sides of a conflict. The storylines weave back and forth, into and out of each other, and seeing the same scenes from a different POV is a fascinating experience. Putting the characters on opposing sides keeps it from being a rehash of stuff you've already read; if the characters had been on the same side, it would have been hard to make the second viewing of the scenes interesting.
But what really hooked me were the characters, and how he makes you love or hate them by turns. When you read a book from the Shadow series, you find yourself viewing the characters of the Sea series as the enemy, and root against them and want our heroes to triumph. Going into the concurrent book, I found myself wondering how the hell he would make me care about characters who'd been the antagonists for an entire book.
But man, he does.
Calder and Shera are both fascinating characters, and you really care about both of them. The supporting casts are great, too, with Calder's cobbled crew a standout in the Firefly, banter and badass way.
They're great books, and I found that reading the first of each series before moving onto the seconds worked really well for me. They have issues, some pacing stuff and such, but they're definite 5 star books for me.
And it's basically impossible not to love Urziah. You'll see.
Most recent customer reviews
This is the one book that I recommended to my spouse.Read more