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4.1 out of 5 stars
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4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 10 May 2017
I absolutely hate it when I can't finish a book and kick myself for doing so, but I couldn't carry on. I'm a massive reader and lately finding a good new adult fantasy which isn't cliche, is like finding a needle in a haystack (however I do recommend The Summoner by Taran Matharu). Right, back to the book. I got the sample and was so immersed that I thought I'd found a really good book so I brought it after skimming the reviews but I was very disappointed. 35% in and I still have no sympathy for any characters apart from Aaron. Not only that, there are characters that remind me heavily of varis and some others from Game of Thrones and there is the faceless women... I mean COME ON how obvious can you be?
But it's not just that, like I said I'm 35% through and I only have the most basic of plot lines so far and I cannot keep slipping into battle when I don't care what happens to them because of the poor character development.

It's sad that it is poorly written as it has a very promising idea. Maybe if you have never read/watch GoT you may be able to enjoy it...
(It is also written in a very George RR Martin way as there is one chapter for each character and you have to wait several chapters to carry on their story. Personally, I find this very difficult to read.)

SORRY FOR THE LONG REVIEW
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on 14 August 2017
I picked this up after reading some of the authors other books. The book starts off pretty dark and doesn't ever get much lighter which I like. The story moves along nicely and the characters are enjoyable.

If you like his other stuff this is worth looking at.
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on 6 September 2017
Well written but somestimes hard to like the characters .When you do they die a horrible death and you are left wondering who are the good guys.
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on 22 January 2011
The opening of A Dance of Cloaks immediately engaged me, and I thought wow! I'm in for a terrific story. I began to have doubts, however, after what to me was a confusing sequence of events shortly thereafter, but I pressed on, determined to at least get to the middle before deciding whether to quit reading or finish it. I'm glad I did. More and more I was re-captivated by the story and Aaron's plight as a boy wanting to be more than a lethal weapon of his ruthless father. One of my favorite parts was where Aaron meets Pelarak. That scene was so good, so beautifully done, I reread it just for the pleasure of it. In fact, the entire book is immensely readable... but it's not without flaws. There were a few instances where I was challenged to suspend disbelief (such as a scene where an elderly woman and 11-year-old girl snuck up on Aaron, a trained thief and killer who was trying to avoid being discovered). Fortunately, those sorts of issues were infrequent and didn't ruin my ability to enjoy the story, but I did feel they dragged what might have been a 5-star story down to 4 stars. Still, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend A Dance of Cloaks to any (non-squeamish) fantasy fan.
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on 5 May 2017
absorbing and well paced
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on 23 February 2015
A few years ago, David Dalglish self-published a book called "A Dance of Cloaks", the first in his "Shadowdance" series. After finding an audience and, subsequently, a publisher, it was released in a revised edition which the author himself feels to be an improvement.

Thren Felhorn is the leader of the Spider Guild and is a name feared by everyone in Veldaren. For good reason, for Thren has united the Guilds, those groups populated by the thieves and murderers of the city. Thren’s long term aim is to lead the Guilds in a war against the Trifect – the three richest families who control the majority of the city’s legal activities.

Having killed his first man and his older brother aged eight, Aaron Felhorn is Thren’s heir and is proving to be as good as his father, even escaping attempts on his own life. Until, that is, he is sent to kill the daughter of a priest. Something about the way she prays makes him think that not everyone his father hates and not all his father does is right, suddenly Thren has internal squabbles to worry about, as well as making plans for the Trifect at their bi-annual meeting, the Kensgold.

Dalglish has put an awful lot into this book and it shows in the number of twists and turns that occur during the story. There are several Guilds and many of the Trifect have their own families and those they have wronged during their business dealings who are looking for revenge as much as the Guilds and aren’t above a little kidnapping and murder to get it.

The novel is very character driven, as the speciality of the Guilds is thievery and murder and they do it all first hand, not with magic. But Dalglish writes them so well that even as they kill, you find yourself agreeing with their aims, even if their methods might not be entirely comfortable. On the other hand, the Trifect come across as being quite despicable. Madelyn Keenan in particular came across as a version of Marie Antoinette, demanding the comforts of home as the streets fill with rioters, so much so that the killers seem like the most reasonable of the factions.

The size of the cast means that to follow them all effectively the pace of the novel needs to be kept very high to fit them all in. Dalglish achieves this admirably and whilst some characters get a larger share of the story than others, these are the ones who end up with the larger share of the spoils when the book comes to an end. There were very few characters that I felt Dalglish had treated harshly in terms of the attention he devotes to his characters.

Personally, there were a couple of aspects of the story I would have liked to have seen a little more of. Aaron’s change from loyal son to a killer to rebellious teenager happened a little too quickly and I would have liked a little more about how this came about. There were also brief references to competing religions with the priests of Ashhur and Karak getting mentions but with no obvious reasons as to why the religions are incompatible and what each stands for.

It may be that my own faith makes me feel that these elements were lacking and other readers may not need any more than is here. However, more on these would have impacted on the pacing of the story and even with my own preferences, losing that would have done far more damage to the novel than what I felt was missing.

This was an excellently paced, character driven fantasy novel. There was a lot of bloodshed on the streets of Veldaren and whilst this may be a little much for some readers, I do like dark, bloody fantasy of the type that Dalglish has written here and he’s written it very well. The best thing he has done has whetted the appetite not just for reading this book again but for continuing with the series.

This review may also appear, in whole or in part, under my name at any or all of www.ciao.co.uk, www.thebookbag.co.uk, www.goodreads.com, www.amazon.co.uk and www.dooyoo.co.uk
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on 30 May 2014
This is a fast paced action ( and a wee bit gore) packed tale. The characters intertwine cleverly. The twists and turns had me enthralled.
Soon as finished this I immediately ordered book 2..
I can't wait to read it

Highly recommend
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on 13 November 2013
I just felt like I couldn't actually root for anyone in this book, people died or were killed without a second glance, everyone had pretty dire motives, not enough depth to the characters to make you feel that there were even flawed anti-heroes, and even when you got a little background to a character next minute they'd been killed. Everything rushed along at a breakneck speed, no measured pace or build up, it felt like I was reading book two or like when you missed three episodes in a thriller and all the scene setting and character building had already been done. Characters felt shallow and lightweight and most were pretty horrid, I wasn't hoping that anyone survived, narrative jumped almost inexplicably from random person to random person.... Not a fan!
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on 30 April 2014
I am no literary genius, however I do know a well written book when I get one. I have seen this book likened to Name of the Wind and some of Robin Hobbs work. That simply cannot be the case. Both of those books, whether you like the stories or not (I very much do) are so deeply described and structured. Compare them to this book, which I found to be a jumble of badly constructed characters that are left wanting. You feel like you know very little about them, which isn't the type of story I like to read.

Further to that though, the story just doesn't connect. It all seems like very little thought goes into what the characters do and say. This is a fantasy story so don't misunderstand when I say, it feels unbelievable. Not about the magic, or the world, but what the characters do. There are some badly described ghost women for example, that seem impervious to any assault, yet when a few extra soldiers come to attack them they run (float? I don't know, it wasn't explained. I don't know what they really are) off.

Give it a go, it might be your cup of Tea. It perhaps might attract a certain type of audience. It clearly has, and fair enough to you. But if you have read the likes of Robin Hobb, Mark Lawrence (particularly him), Brandon Sanderson, Pattrick Rothfuss, and the fantastic Joe Abercrombie; then I would not waste your time with this book.
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on 22 August 2011
A few reviewers mentioned that there were a lot of fighting scenes in the first third of the book. This, along with very little plot development, I was prepared to read through as sometimes fantasy books do take a little time to get going. Having read fantasy books before which have incidental scenes of violence, torture, even sometimes rape and sexual violence, I was nevertheless unprepared for the scene whose unnecessary grossness is now unfortunately imprinted in my brain. One female character is tied up above a fire naked, and given to a man to rape and torture. He takes a knife and cuts her eyebrow, eyelid, and then forces his mouth onto hers. She then vomits into his mouth and he (and I quote) "drinks it down." I had to stop reading. I am mentioning this, as no-one else reviewing this book said that it had this level of perversion in it, and I would have liked to know in order that I could have made an informed choice as to whether I wanted to buy this book. This is the first book in a long time which I stopped reading before the end but really, there was not enough plot or character to keep me there any longer.
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