Of Shadow and Sea by Will Wight
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The Emperor of the Aurelian Empire ruled for over a thousand years. He saved mankind and brought them together as an Empire. That was before he died. Now a group is attempting to find an artifact of incredible power, the Heart of Nakothi. The groups' goal is to use it to raise a new Emperor. Standing in their way is the Consultant's Guild. They've served the Empire and the Emperor since the beginning of his reign by hunting down any who mean harm to the Empire.
I'm really conflicted by Of Shadow and Sea. I'm a fan of Will Wight and I've really enjoyed his Traveler's Gate trilogy and his Cradle series. Of Shadow and Sea just didn't hold a candle to the other series.
I didn't enjoy Of Shadow and Sea for a few reasons, but first and foremost are the characters. None of the characters really popped off the page or made me care about them. They felt generic to me. First is Shera who is a near emotionless assassin who would rather sleep than do anything else. That's about all there is to her character. She also worked directly for the Emperor and she cares for her former teammate Lucan. Next is Meia who is an assassin who has been alchemically altered with the strength of beasts. She is determined and had a childhood grudge against Shera. That's about it for her personality. Last of the main group is Lucan. Lucan is another former assassin who thinks too much and cares for Shera. Again that basically wraps him up.
The next thing that led to me being disnterested was the story itself. Nothing about it was particularly compelling. Bad guys want to get an item of untold power to defeat the good guys...err the assassins. The power has an evil supernatural element to it, but it's fairly straightforward.
The one thing that did seem interesting was the magic system. The users imprint their intent on items. Anyone is able to do it, but Readers can wield their intent to change, destroy, and strengthen items. I felt like the story just listed the abilities as though the reader was already familiar with them. When I finished the book I noticed a glossary of the abilities which would have been more useful throughout. Every term and ability was so foreign throughout that even by the end I didn't have a clear understanding on how they worked.
The story flips back and forth from the past to the present. The story goes as far back as 15 years to Shera's youth and how she was introduced to the Consultant's Guild. The flashbacks also cover some of her time serving the Empire. It didn't feel as though so many flashbacks were needed to tell the story, but they worked out fairly well.
Of Shadow and Sea was an ok book. Unfortunately I'm not really excited to see where the series continues from here.
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