July 9, 2015

Shadowdance 1: A Dance of Cloaks

(This review is free from spoilers, except for setting a little of the main plot). A tale of underworld chaos, retribution, bloody murder, greed and revolution- Shadowdance is a fantasy book series by David Dalglish that chronicles the world of Dezrel, in this book the land of Neldar.

An iron fist and a bloody reputation has landed Thren Felhorn command of the city of Veldaren. Anything he says goes: pay your protection money or be killed. Speak against the spider guild and be killed. Attack an agent and be killed. Blood, coins, the flow of both pleases this sadistical monster. His legacy rests on his son Aaron Felhorn. Instead of becoming a father like a normal man would, this boy will be taught to kill, to steal, to lockpick and to make sound decisions that will strike fear into the hearts of Veldaren's citizens. No one will dare question Thren: when he is done with Aaron, no one will even dare look at his son in the wrong way.

Tit for tat, agent for mercenary, the numerous guild factions have been at each other's throats while attacking the Trifect, a conglomerate of the richest families in the land. Naiive cutpurses try to rob a caravan and become dead; guilds will pilfer and launder the Trifect's money as penance. Greed, selfishness and ruthlessness rule the underworld of Veldaren as well as the city itself.

Aaron has concerns about becoming the ultimate killer. As he watches his father mercilessly kill those who oppose him, Aaron begins imagining a life away from the killing, the combat- the beatings and bruises as punishment for failure. After a failed assassination and kidnapping attempt, Aaron begins to learn of a life more appealing than his father's one and ultimate goal: to enshrine his legacy into his son- by making him the perfect killer.

This book series is great. I am new to the genre and I am glad that Shadowdance stood out to me on the bookshelf. I don't regret buying it and reading it was a ton of fun. While I took my time on book 1, and I hate to talk about the sequel in book 1's review, I plowed through book 2 faster than I did book 1. Let Veldaren take you in; and realize that Thren Felhorn is one conniving, cruel and sadistic son of a bitch. I highly recommend the book series- but some parents may be concerned about the violence and use of (rare) foul language. Oh well. I guess it is better to read about it then to watch a gorey movie. Support the author and 'buy new' on this one.

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