Top critical review
on 7 October 2014
Many are the times that I have longed for a book that starts on pages one and wraps up the saga by the final page. However, as fantasy is one of my favourite genres, this is not usually the case. Instead the books are inevitably part of a series or a trilogy. Sarah Pinbourgh’s ‘Dog-Faced Gods’ trilogy is a great example. It has been some years since I read book one in the series, but I remember it being good. However, if you wait this long to get around to ‘The Shadow of the Soul’, you may find yourself as confused as I was.
‘Shadow’ is Urban Fantasy and has more than a taste of ‘Neverwhere’ to it. Set in a world manipulated by ancient Gods, it features Cass Jones as a detective who is aware that everything is not as it seems, but just wants to be left alone to solve the common garden variety of murders. However, when someone who appears to have perfectly cloned themselves starts to drop bombs, this is easier said than done.
The first in the series, ‘A Matter of Blood’, was a great mix of crime noir and fantasy. It never delved too deeply into the occult until the end and this gave the book a solid narrative and an ephemeral feel. ‘Shadow’ starts after this book and has left the supernatural door wide open, with no way to shut it. When the Gods played a hidden and secretive role in the story the book was intriguing, now that they are at the forefront, it is confusing. At times Cass is side-lined in favour of a bunch of super beings talking shop; all a bit dull really. Most of the momentum created in the first book is lost towards the middle of this one and only a daring conclusion opens up the series for better possibilities.