Book Review: Shadowfall by James Clemens

  Roc
463 pp.

The protagonist of Shadowfall is a disgraced “Shadowknight” who is falsely accused of the murder of a goddess. Since the dying goddess bestowed a blessing on the knight this is taken as proof that he killed the goddess to gain her powers. During the protagonist’s quest to clear his name, he discovers that the ancient war that exiled the gods to his world is starting to heat up again. He also encounters a mysterious secret organization that appears to be running a number of insidious plots. (It also turns out that this secret organization may be responsible for the events that led to the protagonists disgrace.)

 What I found most interesting about the novel is the world building. The magic of the world is based on the “humors” harvested from gods who have become bound to various locations. (The gods are also the rulers of those locations) These humors possess power referred to as “Grace,” and the relationship is apparently mutually beneficial because a god who is not bound and harvested of the excess energy tends to go mad.
Most of the world’s technology is based off of the “Grace” acquired from the gods, which reminded me a little of Holly Lisle’s magical technology in The Secret Texts. (One of the big reasons I was reminded of the Secret Texts is somewhat “spoilery,” and involves the similarity between the two magical systems. Another reason that is not quite as spoilery is that the character interactions and perceptions have the same kind of “characters are unable to find common ground and do not trust each other and also have their own agenda which is mutually incomprehensible to the other person to the point the reader will want to stab all of the characters in the face,” that seems to come up in Lisle’s fiction.
I am not sure whether or not I liked Shadowfall. The plot was fairly standard with a few red herrings thrown in for local interest. There were also a few moments where I would have preferred a little more exposition one what was really going on as the plot becomes more complicated and involves a great deal of intrigue. Again, the book was more interesting to me for its world building that its characters or story. We will see with the next book if the interest for the world building can carry over into interest for the plot.
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Filed under fantasy, James Clemens, non-earth, Review: Book

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