Monday, September 15, 2008

Luck in the Shadows (Nightrunner Series: Book 1)

By Lynn Flewelling

When young Alec of Kerry is taken prisoner for a crime he didn’t commit, he is certain that his life is at an end. But one thing he never expected was his cellmate. Spy, rogue, thief, and noble, Seregil of Rhiminee is many things–none of them predictable. And when he offers to take on Alec as his apprentice, things may never be the same for either of them. Soon Alec is traveling roads he never knew existed, toward a war he never suspected was brewing. Before long he and Seregil are embroiled in a sinister plot that runs deeper than either can imagine, and that may cost them far more than their lives if they fail. But fortune is as unpredictable as Alec’s new mentor, and this time there just might be…Luck in the Shadows.

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Luck in the Shadows (Nightrunner Series: Book 1) By Lynn Flewelling

| ISBN-10: 0553575422
| ISBN-13: 9780553575422
| Genre: Sword and Sorcery
| Content: Wizards, Heroes
| Publisher: Spectra (August 1, 1996)
| Mass Market Paperback: 496 pages
| Cover Artist: Gary Ruddell
| Source: Personal copy
| Rating: 5 Stars

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Luck in the Shadows (Nightrunner, #1)

♥ Mini Review ♥
This was Lynn Flewelling's debut novel and in my opinion its a great start. Now I read the Tamir Trilogy (or Triad) first and the writing in that series is much tighter and shows a definite increase in skill over this book, but don't let that bother you. If you go into this book, which takes place long after the events in Tamir, with the knowledge that this is a first book, and settle in to enjoy it on its own merits, you'll find a fun little read. If you have read Tamir first and try to compare the two series, you'll be comparing apples to oranges. As a result you'll likely be disappointed. Fortunately I did not do this and I was able to enjoy it as the debut novel of a talented writer.

Fantasy Series Book Review by Mulluane

Alec of Kerry, orphaned and alone, is arrested and tortured under the assumption that he is a spy, but he is just a frightened young boy who was out trapping furs for a living. Even worse he overhears that he is fated to be sold to slavers. But just as all seems lost another prisoner is thrown into his cell. A traveling bard who is much more then he seems, Seregil of Rhiminee rescues the young boy and spirits him off to a life of adventures beyond Alec's wildest dreams. Together they will travel to lands Alec has only heard about, and some that he hasn't. He will meet creatures he had only thought of as myths, rub elbows with nobility and wizards, learn to fit in with assassins and thieves. Not bad for a rural boy straight out of the mountains where the only life he has ever known is hunting, trapping, small villages and hard times.

That being said, Luck in the Shadows is classic high fantasy. You'll find centaurs, wizards, political intrigue, racial prejudice, an elf like race, shape changing, open minded views on sex and romance (depending on the society) and a bit of sword play too. This is not a story however that concentrates on romance or on sword play. There is a bit of both but neither is the main focus. The main focus in this book, as with most first books in a trilogy, is on world building, character development and political intrigue. Alec is delightful, the typical rural bumpkin thrust into high society with all the charming innocence this type character displays. Seregil is much older and much more jaded but he sees something of himself in Alec and instinctively takes him under his wing. You'll also meet Nysander, the kind elderly wizard who is a mix between Merlin and Gandalf (atleast that is how I see him). Micum, Seregil's boyhood companion, strikes me as the muscle to Seregil's brains and we have Thero, Nysander's apprentice, who is envious of the relationship between his master and Seregil, a feeling that goes both ways, who adds some humorous moments to the story. Nothing really unique here, though I think the world is well crafted, but I happen to love this type of story, cliqued as it may be.

The pace is good, the story opens up with Alec as a tortured prisoner, something that immediately engineers sympathy for him and it just keeps going almost nonstop from there. Its a fun read and one I enjoyed thoroughly. One word of warning though. If you are offended by same sex relationships then this might not be the book for you. The views towards sex and romance in this series are very open minded but then so are mine. There is nothing overly descriptive though. As is typical of a medieval type society, murder and torture are common and in some cases, pretty descriptive so I wouldn't recommend this series for younger teens. If you want to read a good high fantasy story with plenty of mystical elements I think you'll enjoy this book as much as I did. Book two is likely going to be even better now that the characters are introduced and the world building done, but I'll let you know when I'm done!

♥ Additional Reviews ♥

Series Summary ~ Book Two ~ Book Three

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Librarything Rating 4.17/5

Amazon Rating 4.3 out of 5 stars
(143 customer reviews)

What Should I Read Next?
Kindle: Luck in the Shadows: The Nightrunner Series, Book I

Audible: No

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Sword and Sorcery Book Review of Luck in the Shadows (Nightrunner Series: Book 1) By Lynn Flewelling - Reviewed by Mulluane - on September 15 2008 - Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

Mulluane is a 56-year-old proud grandmother of 4, who is passionate about her pets, blogging, traditional fantasy, and tinkering with webdesign. She is obssesively photo shy but she uses an avatar that accurately represents her dreams. ♥ You can also find her on:

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