Of Sea and Shadow by Will Wight
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The Emperor is dead. Calder Marten and his crew have been hired to transport people to find a powerful relic. This relic can help to raise a second Emperor. Calder Marten has plans of his own along with powerful enemies standing in his way.
Of Sea and Shadow is the first book in the Sea portion of The Elder Empire series. I won't call it a trilogy as 6 books make up the series. 3 books from the prospective of the Sea featuring Calder Marten, his crew, and allies. The other 3 books are from the prospective of Shadow featuring Shera, the Consultants Guild, and her allies. It's all a reasonably complicated way to split what should likely be 3 books into 6 books. The idea is you have to read book 1 of each section, then read book 2 of each section, and so on. I read Of Shadow and Sea first and I was underwhelmed. The characters just felt flat to me.
Of Sea and Shadow fortunately had more enjoyable characters. Calder, Andel, Urzaia, Jyrine, and Bliss were all more interesting to me than Shera and the consultants. Calder has depth and reason for all of his actions. He's a complex character in a good way. I wanted to know more about him and I hoped he'd be ok. The others all seemed to have strong motivations for their actions as well. Bliss may be the most interesting character in the series overall. I was glad to see at least a portion of the story from her perspective.
So the dual novels to tell a single tale is not my idea of a good time. I've seen that sort of thing done on occasion and I've yet to see justification for two separate books going over one story. I will say that a lot of different information was presented between the two parallel stories, but in the pivotal moments I already knew where things stood with Calder from reading Of Shadow and Sea. It sucks some of the excitement right out of tense moments.
Of Sea and Shadow was better than Of Shadow and Sea, but not so much better that I can't wait for the next book. I do think that if I continue, I'll only read the Sea side.
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