Monday, April 14, 2008

Book Review: Shadowstorm by Paul S. Kemp

Every Monday, I'll be doing spoiler-free, bite-sized book reviews.

The second book in a Forgotten Realms trilogy, Shadowstorm doesn't leave readers with much breathing room as the book starts out in the middle of the conflict. From there, it's one pitfall after another and for every step our main characters take, it seems that their opponents are two steps ahead of them. Kemp weaves a complex tapestry of conspiracy that involves numerous characters and lots of conflict, keeping the suspense level up. If you thought reading Forgotten Realms fiction was optimistic, think again as this novel delivers a bleak atmosphere where the protagonists are anti-heroes at best and you end up cheering for the villains as they combat other villains. While corruption and loss of innocence is a recurring theme in the series, Kemp also teases readers by dangling redemption at arm's length, making you wonder how this will all finally resolve. At the end of the day, reading the book was an enjoyable romp that has a certain amount of closure yet it's evident that much still remains to be resolved. If you want your high fantasy dark and gritty, you might want to take a look at this series. Get the first book though, Shadowbred, as Shadowstorm is a wild ride that leaves little room for exposition to the uninitiated.

Rating: 3/5.

Rating System:

1 - There are better ways to spend your time.
2 - Ho hum books, usually typical of its genre. Probably only recommendable to die-hard fans.
3 - A cut above the rest, usually with one or more elements that sets it apart from the norm.
4 - Highly recommended and is easily a pioneer of the genre.
5 - A classic or it will be.

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