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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
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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 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 13 June 2016
David Dalglish writes fantasy how it should be written. No pretentious place names, character names, dialogue or action. The book flows from page to page and does not waffle (like other fantasy books that seem to go on and on and on...)and keeps you reading. I have others in the series, and although there is a basic link, could be read as stand-alone novels. Highly recommend - particularly if you were a fan of the Legend, David Gemmell. Dalglish's books don't have his raw grittiness but they are the best fantasy I have read since Gemmel's death.
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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,,, and
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Another title picked up by Orbit that was originally self-published and if I'm being honest it's a book that not only starts a series but does so in quite an epic way bringing a complex lead character to the fore who you're never quite sure which way he's going to go. I love that in a hero, the unpredictability, it means all bets are off and all round really gives the story an extra bite.

The prose is solid, the pace wonderful and when the action happens its quick, fast and to the point. It's what you want in a title. Back that up with a cracking supporting cast alongside an inventive world and all round I was a very happy reader. Great stuff.
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on 28 December 2010
I didn't know what to expect when I picked up this book, other than it was getting a lot of attention on a few discussion boards I'm a part of. I'm SO glad I purchased this novel, my first of what will be a large collection by David Dalglish.

David captured my attention from the first page and held it to the very last. The characters were enthralling, the action fast and furious (and a bit bloody) and the plot a fascinating conflict between father and son, father and the Trifect, father and most other people in the book. The book is well constructed and brilliantly written.

If this one isn't as well written as the Half-Orc series, then sign me up now. I LOVED this book and can't wait to sink my teeth and claws into additional works. Thanks David!
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on 4 March 2016
The whole of this series is fantastic I have re-read this and all his other books set is this world again and again. I love all of David Dalglish books. Read them all and give yourself a treat....then read them again as you get so carried away with the action you will miss little nuggets that will be found on the second or third re-read.
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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 29 August 2014
I bought every booked published by this author who does write incredibly well. As with all eBooks in my possession there are typos and misspellings which ought not to be there. Also I'm a fast reader and think some books could have been put together. At times it felt like buying episodes rather than a chunky book. However I will buy more books as they are published because the author is talented and tells a good tale. A good read.
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on 25 January 2012
This book just really didn't deliver. The book jumps around from character to character with nothing to tie the story down. With every turn of the page I was willing the story to get better but the introduction left me thinking 'what the hell just happened' and the ending had no climax whatsoever. The characters are shallow, storyline fragile and any scene which should have brought excitement and suspense bitterly disappointed. I'll probably read the next two books purely out of curiosity but I'm not holding out any hopes. For anyone looking to read this book I'd recommend heading over to the Night Angel Trilogy by Brent Weeks which is everything this book will never be.
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