From Goodreads.com: On the world Ranadon there is no night as both suns shine brightly. The intervention of Belagren, High Priestess of the Shadowdancers, and the sacrifice of a child of royal blood, has banished the Age of Shadows from the skies. Belagren’s position is unquestioned . . . until circumstances begin to tip political rivalries into a deadlier game altogether.
A volcanic eruption rocks the seas separating the Kingdom of Dhevyn and the mainland Kingdom of Senet, and a mysterious sailor is shipwrecked on the island of Elcast. Badly wounded, his arrival stirs up old hatreds and unravels old secrets. His presence is enough to even bring Antonov, the powerful Lion of Senet, to the island and fear to the Keep of the Duke of Elcast.
A strong friendship develops between Dirk, second son of the Duke, and Kirshov Latanya, second son of the Lion of Senet. But will they, and their friendship, survive the chain of events set in motion by the ambitions of the ruthless High Priestess of the Shadowdancers and the domineering Lion of Senet?
Why I Chose It: My sister gave it to me! She said it sounded like something I would read.
My favourite part about the book by far is the world that Fallon created. I was actually convinced that there was a whole other series I should read first, because the characters had such complex connections and histories at the beginning of the book. While at first I was a little lost in how this world came to be the way it is, I had to trust in the narrative that it would eventually reveal the information I needed (which it did). I was quite impressed with how well the world was established that when I was dropped into it, the world felt like a real place.
While there wasn’t a lot of action in the book, it was still really interesting to read. Each of the characters are carefully plotting their moves, trying to gain power in subtle and manipulative ways. It’s kind of like reading a chess game, with each character carefully moving pieces around the board, trying to outwit the other players. I didn’t desire any action, because watching everyone be so creative and calculating was really interesting. I enjoyed reading a book that didn’t rely on battles in order to gain power.
The other aspect of the novel I found interesting was the contrast between religion and science, because unlike other novels I’ve read this is in a pre-technology setting. Dirk is very good at math and working with numbers, and Belagren is very passionate at keeping the Shadowdancers in power. It was interesting watching these two become established as it was obvious the two factions will have major conflicts in the coming books. I really enjoyed reading this contrast in this type of setting.
Unfortunately this book was a slow read. What I did appreciate, though, was that it was a steady pace throughout the novel so I was able to become comfortable with that pace. I can see how some readers might get bored with the lack of action and the steady, plodding pace of the narrative, but I personally really liked it. There are so many little details in the way the characters are plotting and manipulating those around them that I was never bored while reading this book. I would recommend this book for epic world and fantasy lovers who enjoy the minute details in a book.
Rating: 4 / 5
“Yet you encourage the very behavior that made the Goddess turn from us. You deny her worship and hope you can continue to enjoy her bounty. Did that time of darkness teach you nothing? It is people like you that caused the Age of Shadows.” p 39
“With a mind so rare, one must not leave it to be damaged by those who would adversely influence it. Your son is blessed by the Goddess, my lady. I deem it prudent to remove Dirk to a more devout environment. I’ll not leave him in your care so that his mind can be poisoned.” p 192
“Dirk wasn’t blind to what Antonov was trying to do. He was a very smart young man, and knew enough of the truth to be wary of the prince, but it never occurred to him to be wary of his sons. […] Neither Misha nor Kirshov was aware that they were conspirators in Antonov’s game. The Lion of Senet was too subtle to involve them openly. He simply opened the door to friendship between the boys and let nature take its course.” p 243