Customer Reviews: Shadowland
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on February 27, 2012
A great story filled with tense scenes. The world described is evocative, atmospheric and really nails the sense of uncertainty as the folk, left behind by Rome's withdrawal from the British Isles at the beginning of the Dark Ages, try to protect themselves and rebuild their culture. There's also a strong sense of mystery, magic and adventure as the plight of the main characters unfolds while they move through the landscape toward their destiny. (Can't say anymore without spoiling!) As you get to know the characters' strengths, weaknesses, hopes and fears I really found myself relating to them and visualizing who they were.
There are some unforeseen and unexpected twists too which move the story forward nicely and some exciting battle/ skirmish scenes. I really was hooked from the beginning. Having read quite a few published novels in the same vein I would rate this for sure. Highly entertaining!
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on April 8, 2012
My feelings on this book were very similar to Ignite's. I've read a lot of Arthurian stories, and this was, at least, different. I confess that I had actually forgotten what the book was supposed to be about by the time I started reading, which helped quite a bit.

I enjoyed the "current time" scenes quite a bit more than the "flashbacks," actually. They seemed fresher, more vivid somehow.

All in all, I just wasn't engaged with a lot of the story. I'm not a big fan of battle scenes and my impression, now a few days after finishing the book, was that there were a lot of them that I just kind of flipped through. Once everybody started moving in the same direction, it just kind of lost the spark, for me.

There were also errors noted:
arms "flaying" for a hold on empty air
"Warrior's wearing" rough kilts
in a "warriors knot"
hast "heeling hands"
"as he past"
"may once of possessed"

At one point, Cal says "he doesn't remember comfy." This yanked me right out of the setting. Intellectually, I know that the language was very different. I realize people in this time frame may not have even used the word "comfortable." (At least one dictionary points to the mid-14th century.) However, a relatively modern slang word like "comfy" is just beyond the pale.

There is one section where "thee" and "thou" run amok. "Thee have arrived!" No. For one person, "thou hast." For multiple people, "you have." Thee and thou are generally singular.

To give the author credit, I can't be positive that it wasn't deliberate, considering the source. However, speaking for myself, it was, again, jarring and took me out of the story.

It was an okay diversion. There are a lot of books that I just delete without writing a review. I enjoyed this one enough to take the time to write a review, and I hope the author's not too disappointed by it. I would read more by this author, but I would suggest some additional proofreading and editing assistance.
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on March 21, 2012
A fine rendition of the adventures preceding King Arthur and the round table.

The author brings Uther, Merlyn, and the Lady of the Lake to life in this engrossing tale. The characters are real and believable. The action flows quickly as the author stories the lives of our young heroes from young teenagers to heroes of Britain.

If you like the Arthurian Legend genre, you'll enjoy this book.
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on March 24, 2012
This is an unusual re-telling of the birth of the Arthurian Legends and I almost gave up when I came to the anachronisms, lemons, tobacco, from a man telling a first person story about the Dark Ages. The explanation comes very far into the tale. It's full of mystery, magic, druidism and hard battles.

There's some rather good writing here and there throughout this story but it was let down by its lack of proof reading. It could have been much better but nevertheless, as a lover of the stories of Arthur, I enjoyed reading it.
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on October 16, 2012
This book had the bones of a great story, but without the flesh. The author spent a lot of time on things that didn't eventually matter (e.g. the whole wolf detour), and not nearly enough time on things that did. I enjoyed it, but it could have been so much more. I think it is probably true that many authors in the Kindle space have great ideas for books, but have difficulty realizing the potential of a well crafted story.

The 3 star rating really reflects disappointment born of anticipation. To quote Todd Snider, "It ain't the despair that gets you, it's the hope".
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on January 26, 2014
It's an historical fiction fantasy, written to school, but really completely entertained.I love stories of medieval times and fantasy so it had a lot going for it from the start. The writing though was what took you into the era hook line and sinker. You saw, felt and heard what the characters did from page 1 through to the end, and lived in that time. It truly was wonderfully written. I read some other reviews, and seriously thought the lower rated ones somehow missed the mark. I found a few mistakes in this book, but I can find those and more in the biggest named authors out there. The author's writing ability far outweighs a few mistakes. Trust me.

If you know anything about King Uther, King Arthur, Merlyn and the Druids, then you will know some of the storyline. How this author goes into the background of these people though is what keeps you fascinated and wondering throughout the pages. I always wonder about characters and in this case historical figures and their lives beyond what I have read, such as their childhood, what shaped their personalities and so forth. This story ventures into that realm of speculation, or maybe truths, you be the judge.

It's a great story to give to a younger audience, from 3rd through adult age as it is written with clean yet interesting verbage. No sex or profanity, and even though there are wars fought and therefore violence, it is told with a gravity toward a 'compassionate humanity wins out', giving it an ending feel of the right morals are in place. Morals that when the leaders lived by them, a great nation was born. History tells us how great it was, and also what the falsehoods and falters were. If only present leaders would understand history and see that it repeats itself, for the same reasons.

The format of the story is a character that lived it, telling the story of what actually happened. It was a nice and comfortable rendering that made you feel connected, like years had not passed. The fantasy elements were what allowed this possibility and for the story to continue, again connecting you with the past as if it happened just yesterday. I consider it a great way to tell an historical tale that keeps the reader engaged and learning a little history at the same time.

Overall I loved the book. I have since purchased it for others, and recommend all who are interested in the medieval times to enjoy this venture. The ebook is extremely easy to buy, very affordabe and one you definitely won't put off reading after reading just the first page.
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I, too, am a King Arthur/Merlin fan, and I enjoyed Shadowland.

Some passages were superbly written and, for much of the book, I was 'there' in the Dark Ages with all of my senses engaged. I liked the two perspectives ('then and now'), and I felt the changing role of each character was handled well, too.

I was jarred out of the story occasionally by small errors/typos, which was a pity. However, overall, I am glad I took the opportunity to read this book.

For me, the final chapter tied the tale up wonderfully.
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on April 16, 2012
The story of King Arthur and Merlin has been told over and over so often that it would take an extraordinarily imaginative viewpoint to retell it in an entertaining fashion. C.M. Gray tries very hard in "Shadowland" but the misspellings, grammatical errors, and erroneous historical details ruin his efforts.
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on April 24, 2012
Shadowland tells the back story of King Arther through the tale of his father, Uther. What began as great potential paled almost immediately in this book through lack of proofreading/editing. The writing wasn't bad in and of itself; in fact, some of the description was very well-written. I just found the book hard to finish and toward the end I was downright bored unfortunately. But give it a try...if you're not as picky about writing as I am, you'll probably enjoy it.
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on April 13, 2016
I really liked this story. It caught my attention from the very beginning as Usher Vance, the old storyteller, started spinning his tale. What he didn’t realize, the story would end up being about him. I love the fact Gray strung the plot out, revealing bits and pieces the further we got into the story. No one was as they seemed.

The characters were well-developed, along with the story. I couldn’t wait to see what happened next. The plot, for the most part, was well-paced. I did think it bogged down in the middle with all the battles, but they were necessary for the advancement of the plot. I never thought about fighting from chariots before, or the logistics of using them to tear through the wall of defending soldiers. At times, I felt I was in the chariot with Uther and Samel as they chased down Horsa. I could see the piles of dead and dying, as the chariot and horses leapt and weaved their around around or over them. As I’m writing this review, a week and half later, the images still seem fresh in my mind. Very well done.

If you’re looking for an alternative spin on the Arthurian story, you’ll want to read this story. I give it 5 feathers.
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