05 April 2017

2017 Books: The Shadow of What Was Lost by James Islington

The Shadow of What Was Lost is a worthy addition to the plethora of fantasy epics by the likes of Brandon Sanderson and Patrick Rothfuss. If you like long stories about ancient civilizations, hidden magical powers, and subtexts which may include prejudice and social justice, this will be right up your alley.

It's a good time to be a fantasy reader, of course. It is perhaps more difficult to sort through the plethora of available options to find what truly stands out. Even with the 'intrusion' of YA dystopian fantasy cluttering up the landscape (it's only clutter if you aren't a young adult, and even then, I'd rather people read YA stuff than reading nothing at all), there's a ton of good stuff out there. Islington has started a series with a lot of potential here. I'm looking forward to reading the next volume when it's published. 

This is Islington's first published novel, and at times it shows. It reads a lot like Sanderson and there aren't a ton of surprises anywhere along the way. That having been said, there weren't any of those moments where a poorly-worded phrase or an inexplicable plot change pulled me out of the story. Listening to it as performed by Michael Kramer certainly didn't hurt, but as Kramer has also performed several Sanderson novels, it doesn't help it stand out, either. 

I've been moving back to actually reading books and saving my listening time for podcasts, so when the next volume is published I'll probably check it out from our local library. When I do, I think I might actually enjoy it more for its own content and less for its resemblance to another author I also enjoy. I hope that's the case - the fact that I'm looking forward to it tells me this series is off to a good start either way.

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