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The Shadow of Black Wings (The Year of the Dragon, Book 1) by [Calbraith, James]
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The Shadow of Black Wings (The Year of the Dragon, Book 1) Kindle Edition

3.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product Description

About the Author

James Calbraith is a 34 year old Poland-born writer, foodie and traveller, currently residing in South London. Growing up in communist Poland on a diet of powdered milk, Lord of the Rings and soviet science-fiction, he had his first story published at the ripe age of eight. After years of bouncing around university faculties, he moved to London in 2007, found a decent IT job and started writing in English. His debut historical fantasy novel, "The Shadow of Black Wings", has reached ABNA semi-finals and was published in July 2012. His volume of short stories, "Transmission", published on Amazon Kindle in June 2012, has reached the tops of Kindle bestseller lists in USA, UK, France, Germany and Italy.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1262 KB
  • Print Length: 334 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Flying Squid; 3 edition (28 Jun. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008FS5RPC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #19,034 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Ok what you have in this book is not a story but the set-up to the story. You learn some of the background to the 2 main protagonists and you learn how some of the world works. As a piece of scene-setting this book almost works.

So you have Bran, whom we first meet as a student who is virtually finished on his course to be a dragon rider. We have a fairly boring interaction with a bully and then Bran graduates from his class and then has the summer to work out what he intends to do with his life. He reads the logs of his grandfathers journey to the orient (Japan under a different name) and this is part of the set up to what Bran will be doing in the future.

Sato is a Japanese girl trained as a samurai. She is extremely good with blade and elemental magic. She finds Bran and hides him from the authorities. It is clear that when the story actually starts that these two are going to be the hero and heroine.

However this story stops just about there. We have no idea what the problem that will trouble these two actually is. Another review called this a massive cliffhanger, I would rather say that the whole book is just a tantaliser hoping to draw you far enough into the world that you will ignore that you have just read a whole book and the story doesn't really start. This annoys me. Having just read a really good series where each book is a proper enclosed story underneath a whole series arc I find that a single story over several books which is just abruptly stopped is less likely to make me want to buy the next book and more likely to make me disparage the author.

Don't get me wrong. The book is well written as far as it goes. However this book is not a story, it is just part of the story. Don't read this if you like to come away from a book even partially emotionally fulfilled.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The Shadow of Black Wings is a brilliant debut novel by James Calbraith, which blends fantasy with alternate history to conjure a Victorian world full of dragons and magic and derring-do. With the vast majority of placenames altered dramatically, it can take a few moments to realise the places being described, but by keeping his story grounded in our (albeit altered) world, Calbraith is able to exploit the mythologies of several cultures for a much more layered and subtle fantasy environment than most authors manage with a completely blank canvas.

If there was one drawback to this exciting story of Bran the young dragon rider's first voyage to the East, it's that it ends on such a powerful cliffhanger. Fast-paced and fun, I can't wait to see how this story develops. Beg, steal or borrow a copy. Or, you know, download it. It's all good.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is an interesting tale of a young lad just fresh out of college and setting out in the world.

Its an alternate Victorian history story with magic and dragons and steampunk technology.

Let's start with the not so good:

- There are some occasions where the wrong words have been used. To be fair to the author, this book is written in English but he's from Poland and there are only a few (probably about half a dozen). It's a minor niggle really but it is one of the things that stopped this being a 5 star review. These sort of mistakes really pull me out of the story... so I had to mention it.

- There is a large break in the tale, or at least that's what it feels like to me, between the time something that occurs to the protagonist and him reappearing in the story. However, and this is the bit I didn't like, I get the impression that the gap between the event and his reappearance is meant to be instantaneous. It feels disjointed to me so I struggled with it for a spell.

- There are so many words to learn. I found myself repeating character and place names - a lot - to get them into my head. And that was every time I saw the words written.

What did I like:

Solid world building. I can relate to the world but I know its not where I am from, even though really it is. I can see where the inspiration for each country, and their associated populace came from.

Great characters that I could visualise every time they were focused upon in the story.

Intriguing take on a magic system with solid mechanics behind it.

Dragons! (that's all I'll say on the matter)

I really enjoyed reading this book and I have already recommended it to friends.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Good Read so far interesting concept but can be confusing if read out of sequence could be a bit more discriptive
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