Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Shadow's Son by Jon Sprunk

Posted by Simcha 5:21 PM, under | 6 comments

In the holy city of Othir, treachery and corruption lurk at the end of every street, just the place for a freelance assassin with no loyalties and few scruples.

Caim makes his living on the edge of a blade, but when a routine job goes south, he is thrust into the middle of an insidious plot. Pitted against crooked lawmen, rival killers, and sorcery from the Other Side, his only allies are Josephine, the socialite daughter of his last victim, and Kit, a guardian spirit no one else can see. But in this fight for his life, Caim only trusts his knives and his instincts, but they won't be enough when his quest for justice leads him from Othir's hazardous back alleys to its shining corridors of power. To unmask a conspiracy at the heart of the empire, he must claim his birthright as the Shadow's Son . . .

Shadow’s Son is a fast paced, entertaining fantasy novel that, while not particularly unique, is still enjoyable. Assassins are popular characters in fantasy and Caim fills this role well, slowly gaining readers’ sympathy and affection as his personality and history are revealed. Josephine is the typical lady-in-distress who frequently requires saving and develops from a spoiled nobleman’s daughter to an intelligent and brave young woman, breaking down Caim’s tough outer shell along the way. Though my favorite character is the fairy Kit who has been Caim’s companion since childhood, and can only be seen by him, and who struggles with her impossible love for this human.

There are a number of villains in this story, all of whom are trying to kill Caim because it is a necessary step in their achievement of ultimate wealth and power. One thing I kept wishing for was a deeper look into the personalities of the villains, making them more gray than black, which would have given the story more of an interesting edge. As it was, the villains remained pretty close to the archetypal fantasy villains, which was a bit of a shame as they had some real potential. There were some other characters as well who we meet briefly but I thought deserved more attention from the story. While just focusing on Caim, Jospehine and Kit was fine I think the story could have been richer if some of the side characters had been developed more fully.

While Shadow’s Son didn’t blow me away, it was an entertaining and engaging read and I look forward to reading more by debut author, Jon Sprunk


It's nice when debut fantasy manages to be good. I feel like all the best fantasy books are old.
I wonder if I'll like this because I'll be able to imagine that the villains are actually good inside - since they're not that well explained and all.

I have heard many good things about this book. It's definitely on my to read list. Glad to hear it won't be a waste of time.


it sounds interesting but i know what you mean with villains/secondary characters and that sometimes they are one dimensional or they are not well explained especially when they are an important part of the story. that cover is awesome though!

Nice concise review. I agree, I like development with villains too, so they are something more than just figures for heroes to hit. When it comes to characters, gray suits my taste more than black or white. I enjoy it when an author hooks me with a villain and then proceeds to make me sympathize a little with that despicable character.


Glad to see you finally got to reading it. :) And glad you enjoyed it. I liked that it was a shorter fantasy book. Sometimes the large paged ones, get overdone for me. Don't get me wrong, I do love them. But it was nice to have a shorter story fantasy. :)

Audrey: I know what you mean. I'm tempted to just stick with the older books that I know that i like rather than keep trying new books which disappoint me. In this book though the villains really are evil, but it still would have been nice to understand their motives better.

BStearns: I hope you enjoy it, when you do read it. As I said, this isn't a book that does anything really new but it's still an entertaining read.

chelleyreads: Yes, sometimes adding some more layers to secondary characters can make a real difference to the book as a whole.

Tracy: This would have been particularly effective in this book because the author does offer glimpses of the villains' perspective which left me wanting to learn more. It also really gives a story a lot more flavor when the villain is someone you can sympathize with as well.

Melissa: It's funny because I've seen a few mentions made to the short length of the book but I didn't even notice this while I was reading it. It actually took me longer thatn usual to read Shadow's Son because I kept getting distracted and interrupted so it ended up seeming like a long book to me. But I did enjoy it and am glad I read it.

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