Anyone can plot a coup or fire an assassin's bullet. But in a world of muskets and magic, it takes considerably more to seize the throne. The ailing King of the Vordan lies on his deathbed. When he dies, his daughter, Raesinia Orboan, will become the first Queen Regnant in centuries - and a ripe target for the ambitious men who seek to control her. The most dangerous of these is Duke Orlanko, Minister of Information and master of the secret police. Having meticulously silenced his adversaries through intimidation, imprisonment, and execution, Orlanko is the most feared man in the kingdom. And he knows an arcane secret that puts Raesinia completely at his mercy.
Exposure would mean ruin, but Raesinia is determined to find a way to break herself - and her country - out of Orlanko' s iron grip. She finds unlikely allies in the returning war hero Janus bet Vhalnich, fresh from a brilliant campaign in the colony of Khandar, and his loyal deputies, Captain Marcus d' Ivoire and Lieutenant Winter Ihernglass. As Marcus and Winter struggle to find their places in the home they never thought they would see again, they help Janus and Raesinia set in motion events that could free Vordan from Orlanko' s influence - at the price of throwing the nation into chaos. But with the people suffering under the Duke' s tyranny, they intend to protect the kingdom with every power they can command, earthly or otherwise.
©2014 Django Wexler (P)2014 Recorded Books
This book has the chance to be the beginning of a great epic fantasy series. The magic system isn't really unfolded until the second half of the book and it's quite novel. The narration is excellant and that makes it an even better listen. Definitely worth a credit.
Where book one spent ample time on primary characters story arcs such as Captain Marcus, Ranker Winter, Colonel Janus and Ranker Bobby and their involvement in the long arduous military campaign to restore the rule of a minor prince, book two focused on two main themes, the emergence of Queen Raesinia and the romance troubles between Winter and her lost love Jane.
The story arc of Raesinia was interesting at times yet mostly unexciting scheming on putting plans in place to thwart Duke Orlanko's plans to rule the kingdom from the shadows. Regrettably, the continued focus on Winter, the reluctant soldier, and her on again/off again romance with Mad Jane was over done and often over wrought.
Additionally, book one left us with several characters fates unknown leaving one to expect their roles to be continued in book 2. Two of which being, Jen Alhundt and Ranker Bobby. Where there was tangential reference to each of them throughout the book, they never resurfaced and, in one case, one of them is only cast away near the end of the book, almost as an aside, and the other only hinted to resurface some time later.
There were other disappointments in terms of story movement such as the fate of Marcus's family that Jen had alluded to in book 1 and the way battles were predictably won implementing some crazy maneuver (That's so crazy it just might work!) over what be expected under traditional military strategies. Also, there was very little movement of the fantastical/magical sub-plot story arc that was so pivotal in book 1.
I must again give very high marks to the narrator, Richard Poe, whose voice and inflections often remind me of Rod Serling (of Twilight Zone fame) and went a long way on keeping me interested in finishing the book.
Lastly, I continue to be very impressed with the author's, Django Wexler, abilities as a writer, even though this book went off in directions that made it less interesting than book 1.
The vast increase in magical elements from the first book
He is a good reader, but this material is needlessly diificult.
The first book in this series was well plotted, well paced, and generally a very good listen. Unfortunately the second book has none of those traits.
I don't really know what to rate this, but it's somewhere between 3 and 4, though I may round up to 4 at some point because it was entertaining.
I also don't know when I got so critical, but here are the main issues I had:
Orlanko was painfully two-dimensional, almost straight out of a cartoon, so much so that I had no issue imagining him twirling a great moustache beneath his gigantic spectacles. I had trouble seeing any motivation behind his actions other than the fact he's a bad dude who wants to fuck shit up.
Very vague spoilers, as these two were fairly predictable
Repetition: Maybe since I saw the post on Reddit about how many times Wexler uses "make preparations" in the book my brain has been tuned into it, but I lost count of the amount of times I heard "small of her back". And I swear, if I didn't know otherwise, I'd think Janus was a Vulkan based on how many times he says "logic".
Janus was, as I've seen others remark, a total Gary Stu, but it's for that reason that I loved him. All in all I did enjoy the book, as it had great action and mostly good characters, but with some reservations. Maybe someone can share some insight that I missed while listening, as that can happen with audiobooks.
I love the characters. Not all of them, but the vast majority. Well developed, consistent, appropriately likeable/hateable. Well written, great prose helped to keep me hooked where the story was necessarily slow. Some of the best fight scenes of any writer/book I've read. Vivid, clear, delightfully brutal. The epic moments, the crescendos in this book are, like in The Thousand Names, miniature masterpieces in themselves. There are very few books with scenes so potent that they actual give me physical shivers or bring tears to my eyes, but both books in this series have given me that experience.
It's the second in the series and similar in style to the first, obviously. The Shadow Throne took a few turns that I didn't like, did a few weird things, but over all I still liked it and will without doubt be snagging the third book as soon as I can get my hands on it. I have to know what happens to Janus and Marcus, my favorite characters.
There are some differences I didn't like in the performance and editing as well, but they're forgivable.
Richard Poe has a great voice for this line of work, and I think a great voice for this genre in particular, as well. I give him an overall thumbs up. His character voices are good, I can often tell which character is speaking just by Poe's voicing. I'm not sure whose responsibility it was, but I did notice that the voices were not consistent from book 1 to book 2. I'd expect the director to catch that sort of thing. And there are a few places throughout book 2 where the voicing is inconsistent even among the dialog of the same character. Again, Poe's voicing itself is wonderful, but he applies it inconsistently in this reading.
If you read the first Shadow Campaigns book, it's no surprise to you that there is a guy in this book named Janus. He does things in this book that bring tears to my eyes. Manly tears of manly awesomeness. Not even kidding, I started crying as I was driving down the freeway listening to stuff about Janus.
I don't know how what went wrong, but toward the end the editing just got really sloppy, trashy actually. You can hear dialog and multiple takes and background studio noise, the reader clearing his throat and trying multiple readings / voicings, etc. The Thousand Names was flawless in this regard. In fact, the first 90% of Shadow Throne was flawlessly edited as well. So I don't know what happened, but the last few chapters here had a half dozen or more editing errors. It's distracting and entirely avoidable, quite a shame. Not a deal breaker though, I still recommend the series.
I absolutely love my audible account, makes its from enjoying a book to loving the stories found in the books. Do forgive my errors in the reviews i do have dyslexia but i will share my love with everyone
The King is sick, the Last Duke is about to make his move. But the Princess has a trick up her sleeve too. she was used as a pawn by the Last Duke but pawns can fight back too. Winter, Marcus and Janus come back in time to help but they don't know what the princess is doing.
Marcus is in charge of a group of men that have a spy inside it. Winter is on a special mission where she must give up her disguise and be a girl.
As I continue to read this I cant help but get a feeling that there is a something hidden in the story. What is happening with the Thousand Names what is Janus doing? So much mystery to find out.
Love Orson Scott Card, Stephen King, C.S. Friedman and Sanderson. Also especially like Clive Barker and am trying to get into the Foundation
This storyline is as riveting and engrossing as the first book. Richard Poe does an excellent job and does not over act the varying accents and genders. I found my 6 hour drive flew by listening to this book and can't wait to hear the rest when I drive back.
I enjoyed the first book a bit more. I stumbled across the first book in this series by accident, looking for different book. I spent a credit on it and was very glad I did.
This second book was also very enjoyable. I listened to it over 2 days. For some reason I had a hard time getting in to it early on. The drastic change in setting from the first book took a bit getting used to.
For some reason the Thousand Names that were so important in book 1 barely find mention in book 2. I suppose I was expecting much more with that. Perhaps the author wasn't entirely sure how he wanted to proceed with the supernatural parts of the story and focused on a revolution instead? Regardless, that was the reason I dropped it to 4 stars.
I definitely would recommend this book and the first in the series, The Thousand Names.
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