- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 3659.0 KB
- Print Length: 818 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B075C71Z8N
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #191,932 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Shadows of the Dreamspire (The Raven's Tale Book 2) Kindle Edition
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***I will not post any spoilers in this review*** I thoroughly enjoyed the first book in the series and you can find my review on this site as well as Goodreads. If you haven't read it, I suggest you do so to keep them in order. This book follows on directly from the first, and manages to break some fantasy conventions along the way. It also features some elements that historically I have not been overly enamoured with - deities, different planes of existence - but these are really cleverly done and rather than being the slog I expected I found I really enjoyed these vignettes.
This book also opens up the world from the first novel, introducing factions from an arid desert part of the world. Again this is cleverly done, some fantasy staples come into play (examples being abandoned but dangerous ruins, a gladiatorial arena) but in enjoyable and novel ways that just added to the flavour of the world being created. I would not go so far as to draw direct comparisons with the world-building of Robert Jordan or Stephen Erikson, but I got a definite whiff!
I read an awful lot of fantasy books, and it is fair to say that a lot of them are awful. When a writer comes along who can titillate my jaded palate it is something I value enormously. The book straddles heroic and gritty fantasy without wading deeply into the Grimdark mire, is well structured with likeable (and immensely dislikeable) characters and maintains a good pace despite being a fairly lengthy read. I thoroughly enjoyed this second adventure with Cole and Raven, and wholeheartedly recommend it.
The sequel sees us once again in the company of Cole, who has the power to enter people's dreams; Raven, the black-haired warrior; Harri the hunter; Princes Adelmar and Jarrod (one good, one bad), the fantastic Captain Brandt (my favourite); and Cole's best friend Caspian. Even Grume the incredibly foul-mouthed Boggit puts in appearance.
In this novel Alan creates his most complex character to date – Oren. Oren is able to commit an utterly atrocious act (no plot spoilers here) yet the reader, while remaining firmly ambivalent about him, can put that to one side and give him a second chance. A lesser writer wouldn't have been able to achieve that with a character whose motivations are at best opaque.
Book two sees the relationships at the heart of the story begin to unfold and untangle. We learn more about Maldonus and the how the Order of Enlightenment has managed to gain such a hold in the kingdom. Partly that's done though chapter-heading excerpts from The Book of the First but also through revelations in the plot... one of which is crucial to the story and delivers a real 'I-didn't-see-that-coming' twist.
As for the finale, let's put it this way: everything is set up for the crucial final showdown between Cole's gang and the forces of evil in book three. And if book two's ending is anything to go by, that promises to be a real humdinger of a punch-up.
Shadows of the Dreamspire is one of the best books I've read this year - so good in fact I'm midway through reading it a second time.
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