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The Shadowed Path Paperback – October 14, 2011
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About the Author
Simon was born in London, UK, about the same time the original Star Wars movie was released to the world, but spent the majority of his adolescent life growing up in North Wales, the land of sheep and dragons (the dragons cunningly masqueraded as his French and History teachers). After relocating back to the city of his birth he got married (to an Colombian, just to make life interesting) and now spends his time hovering somewhere between his twin loves of music and literature.
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But let's back up a bit. First of all, the world. It's dark and it's gritty and it's mysterious and it's intriguing. It's the kind of world that captures the imagination, the kind of world that's bigger than the story being told. It is inventive, unique, and a pleasure to explore.
And then the writing. The author brings his characters to life, from the spoiled rich kid who fought his way through a virtual hell to the broken farm girl with personalities to spare. It's exciting to read what they do, see how they interact, and adventure right beside them through the rich landscape of a well-imagined world.
Finally, the story. Now, don't get me wrong. This book wasn't perfect. There were a few typos, a few missed/wrong words, but half-way through the book I realized that I really didn't care. The prose is engaging, the plot is enticing, and the read is a treat. The good guys are flawed, the bad guys are mysterious, and you get the distinct impression that there's more going on just behind the curtain, that something bigger is going on. Even better, you actually want to know what it is.
So if you're looking for a good read, take a walk down The Shadowed Path. You'll be glad you did.
1) Characters were flesh and blood--you got the disgusting habits, the bad moral values that we as individuals have by virtue of breathing--there was no pure good or anyone even close to it (everyone had delicious faults). It's a book about surviving, how to go on living even if you're not quite sure why, how to be strong and have compassion along the way. And of course, in the background, you have Prast itself, on its deathbed, how is it going to spend its final days? After you've read through the entire book and you sit back to digest, you see how everything flows together, how each of the characters and the setting itself are in a way asking themselves the same questions of why am I thus, how do I go forward. I was also really impressed with how well minor characters were used. They were minor, yeah, but you still feel like you got a satisfactory bite of their life.
2) Pacing. Plot never slowed down--which is quite a feat since you start with a massacre. I always like when a book actually has themes and ideas and all that other stuff (which this one definitely does!), but really, I read to enjoy so even if a book is completely devoid of literary value, as long as it's got a swashbuckling story, action, and humor, I'm in. I say this because I think often authors forget that you are supposed to provide entertainment along with the philosophy. Well, this one's definitely got the blockbuster factor down. So break out the pop-corn (or caffeine in my case) and milk the adrenaline rush (or as close to it as you're going to get by just reading) for what it's worth.
Minor Dislikes (semi-spoiler alert?):
1) Not sure how I feel about Sheena's multiple personalities. I think this was the one part of the story that felt unnatural, more like a contrivance. I mean I understand she's been traumatized, but I don't know, it just didn't seem to fit.
2) Not quite sure I'm going to buy a romance between Sheena and Marcus. He seems to like her too easily. Sure physical attraction is important, but I'm just saying there's like no chemistry there to base a relationship on (well at least not yet) if this is where this was going.
1) the environment is familiar, safe, and does not require intensive worldbuilding - the author borrowed roman culture for his political and military backdrop. I enjoy romanesque military fantasy sometimes, and this was an pleasure to read.
2) the author didn't rely solely on roman fantasy tropes. He weaved in a new and believable religious system with a pantheon, and other races.
3) good story, varied characters, nice tension in the character interaction, a very enjoyable story to read overall. I would recommend this book in a heartbeat.
what dropped it a star;
1) the author created some great characters, and then (in my opinion) deviated from how those characters would act (marcus/jinx-sheena). This is not story breaking by any means, in fact the author does this to move his story along, but it felt as if it could be written a little more cleanly.
2) the semi-"cliffhanger" ending wasn't completely satisfying, and the giants' abduction of certain characters in the end didn't flow as nicely as other plot developments did earlier in the book.
3) a lot of effort was spent introducing a certain character at the opening, and then that character was used as barely present supporting cast starting about midway through the novel and then reappearing at the end.
I bought it on 6/5/2012. I will buy the follow-up. I recommend this book. Other authors I will buy from in the future include Weeks, Hulick, Sanderson, and Ryan Anthony. There are more, but Simon Stone has made it up to this list for me.
Most recent customer reviews
Shadowed Path mixes a failing Roman-like civilization with a mysterious dangerous forest with unimaginable...Read more