Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Novel Spotlight: Shadows: The Book of Aleth Part 1 by Michael Duncan


A stolen text...When the Book of Aleth is stolen, Aaron, captain of the Royal Guard, is ordered by Emperor Therion to reclaim the ancient tome. The mission thrusts Aaron into a world he's never known--a world of elves and dwarves, races long thought extinct; a world where everything he has known and believed is a lie.

A secret past... Forced to challenge his long-held beliefs, Aaron and his companions, two soldiers of the Royal Guard and two men of the Dwarvish kingdom of Brekken-Dahl, set out on a quest to recover the Book. Aaron resolves to discover the truth, and rescue the empire he is sworn to protect.

My Thoughts:

Cons: I had a hard time getting into the book. The prologue, with an almost omniscient point of view, didn't grab me immediately.

The dialog felt stiff--not necessarily stilted, but stiff.

Likewise, I wanted more about the characters. I can't exactly pinpoint it, but there was just a little something missing. As usual, I'm guessing this is because it's the first book in a series.

Pros: I enjoyed the setting of the book: a medieval country, much of it forest, in snow. Hmm...sounds like the view outside my window. :) I haven't read a lot of fantasy novels set in the winter, and it was interesting to see how the author used that to challenge his characters. I also thought that the abundant descriptions were pretty well done.

Though as a rule, I'm not too fond of allegories, I enjoyed this one. Especially, I liked the perspective of a soldier from the bad side as he tries to untangle the truth from the lies he's grown up with. I also liked that not all of his companions condone his changing loyalties. It made for good tension throughout the book.

It was very family friendly. I could see this book being used for a family's read-aloud time, even though the characters are adults. There are some scenes that might scare younger kids: a man dying in a fire; a fight with a demon-like creature; soldiers attacked by trolls. Other than that, there's no objectionable content.

If you're looking for a decent fantasy read, Shadows is a pretty good one. There are flaws, but I think that Michael Duncan is a promising writer and I'm looking forward to the next installment in The Book of Aleth.

Rating: Three stars

***Psssst! Don't forget! I'm running a giveaway of Kat Heckenbach's MG/YA novel Finding Angel. If you haven't entered already, it's super easy (and well worth a few minutes)! Find the full details here! The contest ends on the 18th-only a week left!

1 responses:

Michael Duncan said...

Thank you for the review!

If any of you are interested in this book you can find it at:

Links are available for Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Christian Book Distributors as well as links to the publisher - Harbourlight Books.

God bless!


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