By Sean Russell
The savage war between two mighty families has ravaged the kingdom both wish to rule—spawning treachery within the ranks of the Renné and Wills, drawing the brave, the innocent, and the malevolent alike into the bloody conflict. But a far more terrible consequence has arisen from the carnage—for Death himself has been roused from his dread domain . . . and is preparing to walk the world again.*Blurb Source: HarperCollins*
| ISBN-10: 038079229X
| ISBN-13: 9780380792290
| Publisher: HarperTorch (September 27, 2005)
| Mass Market Paperback: 464 pages
| Cover Artist: Stephen Hickman
| Source: Kindle-Personal Copy
| Read an Excerpt
| Rating: 4 Stars
The Story. Our intrepid groups of heroes and heroine continue their various journeys through both the mundane and the hidden lands. Some will become involved in a brutal war while others will face the minions of Death himself. All have a vital role to play and if any should fail, the world as they know it will cease to exist.
The Good. By now I have become completely immersed in this world, with its large cast of heroes, innocent victims and evil villains. I begin to understand why this is a book about groups more so than individuals. Each group, depending on the task at hand, is made up of characters vital to that quest. In addition, the group dynamic makes for an interesting study in human nature. It becomes easy to see who is a natural leader, a loyal follower, a potential problem or simply a reluctant participant. Even though I tend to favor character-driven fantasy, experiencing a story centered around groups was a fascinating alternative. I got to observe as the various groups broke apart, then reformed anew. Some with basically the same members as before but almost always with new members from another group. How that person or persons fit into their new group gave me insights into their character I might not have seen otherwise. In my opinion, it was very well done.
The Middling. This is a huge story with alot of layers to keep up with. Having its large cast divided into groups does help tremendously in keeping those layers separate. However, at times I did feel like maybe more time should have been spent with each group. I would have liked a smoother pace. Occasionally the jump from the completion of one quest to the beginning of the next was so abrupt that it caught me offguard. This did not really detract from the overall story, just made it feel a bit rushed at times.
The Bad. I did have one major problem and to be fair, it quite possibly was my fault for not paying close enough attention. This story relies heavily on mythology and legend. Bits and pieces of both are told from several different perspectives throughout all three books. Let me warn you now. Try to pay special attention to the back story because if you do not, you will end up getting confused, and fairly often. It was not unusual for me to go scrambling back through the pages to reread a vital bit of history. Sometimes the only thing I was missing was a single sentence but without that knowledge I had no idea what was going on. Thank heavens I read this on Kindle with its search capabilities. Bad formatting aside (which in this story was not nearly as bad) I was extremely grateful for being able to locate what I needed by word or phrase.
Honestly it may be that I was distracted at a key point in my reading or could even be my age and I didn't retain details that I read a couple of weeks ago. Either way, it was a pain in my, well you know.
Conclusion. Minor annoyances aside, I truly enjoyed the conclusion to this tale. Everything comes around full circle, but, as it should be, nobody is quite the same. It was a bittersweet ending. This is not a happily ever after type story. It may have started out innocent but it did not end that way. Nobody goes through the types of trials and tribulations these people did without coming away with permanent scars. Sean Russell chose not to gloss over this fact and I respected him for that.
It is my sincere hope to put my hands on a print edition of this trilogy so I can reread it in the future without all the formatting issues. Definitely a story I will enjoy revisiting.
Amazon Rating 3.6 out of 5 stars
(19 Customer Reviews)
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|Kindle: The Shadow Roads (Swans' War)
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Epic Fantasy Book Review of The Shadow Roads (Swan's War: Book 3) by Sean Russell - Reviewed by Mulluane - on August 19 2013 - Rating: