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Reaction: Shadow’s Son by Jon Sprunk

So I finished reading Shadow's Son by Jon Sprunk today at lunch. Finally. And I've decided I'm gonna have to keep this reaction post on the short side, as I don't like writing negative reactions. I wish I could think of some positive things to say to counterbalance the negatives, but I can't. On paper (pun intended) this should be a book I old school, sword & sorcery fantasy. And for the most part, I've liked the assassin books that have been published in increasing numbers lately. But this book failed for me in just about every way. While I like the main character, Caim, that's pretty much where my positive feelings stop. Josey seemed like a total stereotype, and I didn't believe her transformation during the book. I also didn't like how the Shadow magic was handled..everything was too vague. I understand that is most likely due to Caim's limited knowledge of his heritage (to be deliberately vague), but the effect, for me, was to make the shadow "magic" feel shallow. Finally, the usage of similes was way over the top. I felt like every page there was a "like" simile. For example:

-It gathered around him like a cloak.
-The arrow sped across the hall like a diving falcon.
-The soldiers flitted about like bees from a jostled hive.
-Dappled moonlight splashed over him like a gossamer rainstorm.
-Kit danced ahead of him in the distance like a will-o'-the-wisp.
-Apprehension welled up inside him, rising up like the deep arm of the sea...
Note the above were ALL on page 17.

To be fair, they were less frequent as the novel progressed. And maybe I could find something similar in most books, but it just jumped out at me in this one. I don't ever remember feeling the need to mention similes in any other review.

Anyway, the good news is that I am in the minority, as the reviews on amazon and goodreads are way more positive than mine. I follow the author's blog, and feel bad for writing a less than positive reaction. But I had to force myself to finish it, after putting it down several times thinking I was done for good. I kept hoping it would get better, and it did for awhile in the 2nd half, but at the end, I was just glad it was over. Part of me wants to read the 2nd book to see how it starts, to redeem this negative review with a positive one on the 2nd book. The other part of me thinks maybe I need some time away to let the negative vibes fade away a bit, before attempting the next book.

Grade: You don't want to know.

Comments (3) Trackbacks (1)
  1. Hunh.

    Yeah, we agree to disagree on this one.

  2. Paul…I’m more than happy to see a lot more posts agreeing with you :-)

  3. I felt almost the exact same way as you about this book. There were some cliches that I just couldn’t get past, and the magic left me wanting. I’ve thought about giving this whole series another try, but I think I’m going to give myself another year before I do.

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