Hello Everyone and welcome to my latest review!
I hope you are all doing well and have something fantastic of your own to read, but still if you haven’t read this book, I am going to try and tempt you to add it to your TBR or move it up The TBR altogether!
I figured it was about time I wrote my review for The Shadow of What Was Lost considering I am due to start book three very soon! I have read this book and book two with David from FanFiAddict and Eleni from Late Night Books in one of the best Buddy Reads!
You can find David’s review HERE.
A few facts about this book:
- Title: The Shadow of What Was Lost
- Author: James Islington
- Series: The Licanius Trilogy (Book One)
- Published by Orbit
- Pages: 704
Here are a few things you can expect from this book:
- A complex epic fantasy done RIGHT;
- NAMED WEAPONS;
- An outstanding character driven fantasy;
- A wonderful and oh so relevant magic system; and
- another AMAZING debut.
On to the full review…
The Shadow of What Was Lost is another book you could say I am late to the party for, I missed all the hype of its publishing originally and then missed it allover again for book two. It wasn’t until book three was making its rounds in the Book Community that I thought to move it up The TBR, and not because I didn’t want to read it because I did. It was just one of the many unknown ways in which the TBR sucks books into its void.
Anywho to the review, as you may have gathered from the fact I will be starting book three soon I enjoyed this book.
This is my first time reading the works of James Islington and I was not disappointed in the slightest, he writes in such an accessible and easy flowing way. Before you know it you have read 100 pages and you are hooked! He is also incredibly skilled at doing complex the right way, which I mention a little later on. While Islington’s writing is easy to consume it doesn’t not lack flare, and is beautifully written!
“You can put your trust in something that’s obvious, that’s measurable or predictable – but that’s not faith. Nor is believing in something that gives you no pause for doubt, no reason or desire to question. Faith is something more than that. By definition, it cannot have proof as its foundation.”
The Shadow of What Was Lost is a fine example of an outstanding character driven fantasy, and I can confirm it has an incredible cast of characters of whom you will want to fight for, love, cry for and so much more. This book is told from several POV, we have Davian, Wirr, Asha and Caeden (who my phone ALWAYS changes to garden, so if you see it just pretend it says Caeden, yeah?)
I loved every single character of this book, I didn’t find myself getting to a certain POV chapter and wishing for another. Each POV brings you something unique to themselves and also relevant to the world, so you are always excited to read all of them. Which may sound like a silly praise but it is incredibly important to me, too often have I found I don’t like all the characters and when I get to them I think ‘ahh I will stop reading here’ because I cant really be arsed with them. So, the fact this isn’t an issue in a book of this page count makes for an incredible read.
The plot of this books is quite complex and has many intricacies, though having read Gardens of the Moon right before it I honestly didn’t feel at any point like I wasn’t following, Islington gives you the details and feeds it to you in such a captivating way, I didn’t find myself being like ‘Gahh, what is going on i’m so confused’ but more along the lines of ‘ohhh Islington you crafty devil, this now makes sense and that does but what about this mean…give me MORE’. It was fun, and wonderful and, in my eyes, how complex plots should be done. I wanted to know everything while 100% enjoying what I had received so far, I didn’t get frustrated or annoyed at it!
Also, guys the prologue and overall start to his boo is brilliant!
The world of Andarra is also a joy to read, Islington seamlessly shows you the world through all of his characters. The history of the world, the conflicts and key figures are all explained to you perfectly. He does not drop place names, people, wars and other historical facts at your feet like a sack of spuds but feeds it to you in an easily digestible and incredible alluring way. He gives you just enough for you to understand but also enough to have you going ‘ohhh thats great but wait what about this..?’ And so you HAVE to read on! This is in my opinion how world building should be done! Especially with epic worlds which have such a well established and fascinating history and magic in place, like Andarra does.
The magic in this book is wonderful, it has rules and limitations and at no point felt pointless, also we have NAMED WEAPONS people, NAMED FREAKING WEAPONS. I love them, can you tell? The magic is also quite a visual one and is crucial to the plot. It impacts the world/setting, the characters, their choices and so much more so the fact that it is easy to understand and generally fun to read works brilliantly.
“Everyone has a darker nature, Caeden. Everyone. Good men fear it, and evil men embrace it.”
Honestly, this book really blew me away and I’m pretty sure it will be one of my top series’ pending book three but I’m not worried about it, the reviews so far speak for themselves!
Also, the fact that this is a debut blows my mind, it is such a large sale epic fantasy and done so well you would think Islington had been writing for a lot longer.
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I rated this five stars on Goodreads and I would happily get the HARDBACK of this book! I enjoyed this immensely. I always love doing buddy reads with likeminded people because you get to theorise and gush and cry about which ever bit you are on, and it makes the reading experience so much better but even if I read this on my own I would have loved this book just as much.