Thursday, 29 December 2016

Review: The Shadow of What Was Lost by James Islington

The Shadow of What Was Lost (The Licanius Trilogy #1) by James Islington
Publisher: Orbit UK
Released: November 10th 2016
My Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

It has been twenty years since the god-like Augurs were overthrown and killed. Now, those who once served them - the Gifted - are spared only because they have accepted the rebellion's Four Tenets, vastly limiting their own powers.

As a young Gifted, Davian suffers the consequences of a war lost before he was even born. He and others like him are despised. But when Davian discovers he wields the forbidden powers of the Augurs, he sets in motion a chain of events that will change everything.

To the west, a young man whose fate is intertwined with Davian's wakes up in the forest, covered in blood and with no memory of who he is . . .

And in the far north, an ancient enemy long thought defeated, begins to stir.
(from Goodreads)

I was really pleasantly surprised by this book! Great start to a new fantasy series, and I’m really looking forward to book two.

The story centred around Davian, a Gifted boy of sixteen about to take his Trials. It also followed several other characters, including Davian's best friend, Wirr. I really liked Davian. It was easy to empathise with him, and you could see how his character began to change as the book went on. He was gradually losing the innocence and naivety he started off with, and began to question things more than he had before. I also loved his friendship with Wirr; this wasn’t a case of two characters thrown together with the title of “best friends”, I could actually believe they had known each other for years and were loyal to one another. Davian never pried too much into Wirr’s life, even though he knew he was hiding things, and Wirr was determined to keep Davian’s Augur abilities a secret, because he knew the terrible things that could happen if word ever got out. Wirr was generally a great character, always trying to do what was right and struggling with his responsibilities. I enjoyed reading both of these characters' POVs, and though I guessed the secret about Wirr fairly early on, I still liked following his narrative.

I also really liked reading from Asha’s perspective; she was another friend of Davian’s from school (though he liked her as more than a friend) and was separated from him in the first few chapters. Her story took a very different turn from Wirr’s and Davian’s, but she played a major role in what happened, and I liked seeing how she dealt with all the new information she was learning, and especially how she managed to integrate into the lives of the new people she met and become such an important figure in the book. You could tell people like Erran and Michal and Kol really began to appreciate her. I did feel like for the first part of the book when she thought both Davian and Wirr were dead, she didn’t seem to really care much that Wirr had died…but I don’t think this was a fault with just her character. Every time people died (and a lot of people died), it seemed like all the characters got over the deaths very quickly, unless it was someone they were very, very close to. A lot of casual brushing aside of murders, and I think it would have been nice just to see some more mourning, from all of the characters!

Caeden was the final perspective we mainly followed in this book, and honestly, I found his the most boring, until the revelations at end. His flashbacks in particular, were, in my opinion, a bit too long and were quite difficult to get through. I did also guess his secret (well, mostly) and I was just waiting for him to realise what was going on, and it was a little frustrating. I generally found him to be a bit dull. There were a lot of things about his character that I did enjoy, however, and I liked that as the book went on, we got to find out how certain things were connected. It will hopefully be interesting to find out more about him and his past in the next book. I am also very curious as to where his character will go in the next book, because after the ending, I’m not sure what he’ll decide to do.

Plot-wise, so many interesting things happened, and we met so many characters that are sure to play big roles later on in the series. I especially liked seeing the glimpses into the future, and I am so curious as to what happened to Davian in his later years and how he managed to do the things we see happen in the book. Characters like Malshash also intrigued me; I have a few theories about him, but I’m not sure. I would like to know Taeris's motivations as well, he was one character who was left fairly mysterious throughout the book (in a different way from Caeden, however, because he was actually familiar to Davian and some of the others). I think the writing was generally good but not brilliant; it started a bit shaky at the very beginning, but did improve as the book went on. And while a few parts were a bit predictable at times, I am still left wondering about a lot of things (in a good way, seriously, I have a lot of questions) and I’m very much looking forward to finding some answers in the next book.

Overall, I really enjoyed The Shadow of What Was Lost, and recommend it to anyone looking for a new fantasy read.

1 comment:

  1. I love when friendships in books are portrayed well. I'm glad it was a positive relationship, but that you could actually believe these two really knew each other! Thanks for sharing.



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