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Shadow's Son Paperback – 8 Jul 2010

4.1 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Paperback, 8 Jul 2010
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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (8 July 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575096012
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575096011
  • Product Dimensions: 15.4 x 2.1 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,165,963 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


[Jon Sprunk] is a true storyteller ... the action is well paced and above all it's a very entertaining read, recommended. (SFBOOK.COM) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

Some fantasy novels are gritty and dark, and some are absolute murder...

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Assassins seem to be becoming the dominant figures in epic fantasy these days. While they don't yet have a stranglehold over the subgenre the way vampires do in the paranormal romance sector, they certainly appear to be in the ascendency. Brent Weeks' popular Night Angel trilogy arguably started the recent trend, which has been carried on by new authors Col Buchanan, in his debut novel Farlander, and now US debutant Jon Sprunk in his novel Shadow's Son.

The novel's protagonist is Caim, a freelance assassin working out of the city of Othir. After one particular assignment goes wrong, Caim realises he's been set up - and the only person who might be able to offer an explanation as to who is behind it all is the daughter of the man he was meant to kill. Unfortunately for Caim, this unknown enemy also want to get their hands on the daughter - Josie - for their own sinister reasons. Before long, Caim finds himself embroiled in a sinister game of conspiracy, with Othir's future as the stakes. If he is to stand any chance of survival, Caim is going to have to look inside himself and unleash the darkness that he has been holding back all these years...

The greatest asset of Shadow's Son is the sheer pace at which the story unfolds. The story rips along at speed, aided by short chapters and a pleasing lack of unnecessary detail or exposition. Furthermore, the plot is crafted well and enough hints are dropped throughout to keep the reader guessing, with the pay-off coming further down the line as various revelations come to light. Sprunk also manages to engineer one or two twists that keep things interesting.

The other elements of the novel are much more of a mixed bag.

Caim is a solid protagonist and - despite his profession - is easy to empathise with.
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The good is that the main character is actually pretty true to the personality we are shown, throughout the entire story. He is a pretty typical protagonist, and I'd wager he could be the twin brother of Kylar (if we are being generous), from the night angel series, also published by Gollancz. Then there is the world setting, not really fleshed out as much as I'm used to, and pretty drab. The evil clergy theme is also just slightly tired, however its not done badly, but reads like a first time writer, and there is some promise here.

The bad; not really sure this is a piece of work that brings anything new or even original to the table.

While being a huge fan of gritty fantasy and having raved about many a writer published by Gollancz, this book wasnt able to sink its teeth into my imagination. As the first reviewer mentions, there are some jarring errors during his story telling; the one where our damsel in distress has just had the threat of gang rape, drowning and a cut throat thrown on her, but for some reason is feeling up out protagonists muscly shoulders half a page later. I just can't get down with that. It was such a strange out-of-character moment that it propelled me outside the story to feel the frown on my face. And I hate when that happens while Im trying to read a story, know what I mean?

It took me an evening to read half of the book, and 2 days to force myself to finish it.

If youre a hardened fantasy reader, especially books of the gritty kind, then this is not for you. If you come off a Malazan high and go straight to reading this, it will feel like a 12 yr old got a hold of a crayon and then got published for lord knows what reason.
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Format: Paperback
When I originally read the blurb of this novel, Shadow's Son was immediately relegated to the piles of books I donate to local libraries. Indeed, it felt as though I had read such books a thousand times. But when two trusted reviewers both came up with positive reviews, I retrieved it and decided to bring it along with me on vacation.

Here's the blurb:

In the holy city of Othir, treachery and corruption lurk at the end of every street, just the place for a freelance assassin with no loyalties and few scruples.

Caim makes his living on the edge of a blade, but when a routine job goes south, he is thrust into the middle of an insidious plot. Pitted against crooked lawmen, rival killers, and sorcery from the Other Side, his only allies are Josephine, the socialite daughter of his last victim, and Kit, a guardian spirit no one else can see. But in this fight for his life, Caim only trusts his knives and his instincts, but they won't be enough when his quest for justice leads him from Othir's hazardous back alleys to its shining corridors of power. To unmask a conspiracy at the heart of the empire, he must claim his birthright as the Shadow's Son...

Not surprisingly, based on the cover blurb we quickly realize that Sprunk doesn't bring anything new to the table. Indeed, there is nothing very original associated with this tale, and it is predictable to boot. Yet the quality of the narrative's execution turns Shadow's Son into a very entertaining read.

The traditional tropes are all present, but somehow it doesn't take too much away from the overall story. Thanks to Jon Sprunk's writing style, a fast-paced yet evocative narrative that keeps you turning those pages, even though the story is clichéd somehow you keep going.
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