It has been 20 years since the end of the war. The dictatorial Augurs, once thought of almost as gods, were overthrown and wiped out during the conflict, their much-feared powers mysteriously failing them. Those who had ruled under them, men and women with a lesser ability known as the Gift, avoided the Augurs' fate only by submitting themselves to the rebellion's Four Tenets.
A representation of these laws is now written into the flesh of any who use the Gift, forcing those so marked into absolute obedience. As a student of the Gifted, Davian suffers the consequences of a war fought--and lost--before he was born. Despised by most beyond the school walls, he and those around him are all but prisoners as they attempt to learn control of the Gift. Worse, as Davian struggles with his lessons, he knows there is further to fall if he cannot pass his final tests. But when he discovers he has the ability to wield the forbidden power of the Augurs, he sets into motion a chain of events that will change everything.
To the north an ancient enemy, long thought defeated, begins to stir. And to the west, a young man whose fate is intertwined with Davian’s wakes up in the forest, covered in blood and with no memory of who he is....
©2014 James Islington (P)2015 Podium Publishing
"Robert Jordan fans should check this out!" (Pop Bop, Top 500 Amazon Reviewer)
I value intelligent stories with characters I can relate to. I can appreciate good prose, but a captivating plot is way more important.
I've been trying a lot of new fantasy series lately... and by that I mean that I'll read the first book, like it a little, but won't be compelled to go on. This book was an exception.
The Shadow of What was Lost was not the easiest book to slip into, but it wasn't the challenge that some fantasy books are. The prologue was a mistake, I think. The same one that Sanderson made in The Way of Kings. Starting the book at a moment of high action is fine. But starting it in a moment of high action where the stakes and mechanics are unclear, and where the characters are irrelevant to the plot is just a waste of time, and barrier to entry for the reader.
THAT said, once I settled into the book I was very happy with how it progressed. It was interesting, full of drama and tension and fascinating characters. The mechanics of the magic in the world are revealed in slow but satisfying way. The narration is superb.
There are plenty of genre cliches, but the story is unique enough to compel me on. It doesn't feel like a rehashing of anything I've read before, as so many fantasy series do.
I am very eager to see where this series goes, and extremely frustrated that I'll have a long wait to find out.
I read many reviews comparing The Shadow of What Was Lost to Robert Jordan's work. I was almost offended that a new author would be compared to the legendary Jordan. However, after listening to this fantastic debut, I must grudgingly agree with the other reviewers. Many aspects of the world Islington created are indeed similar to The Wheel of Time. However, the story feels very original and I don't feel this is just a copy of Jordan's work.
You will instantly find yourself caring for the characters. The story flows smoothly and the ending instantly makes you want to find the sequel. There are quite a few unanswered questions which I have been speculating on daily since I finished listening. I hope we get some answers in the next installment.
I do have two minor complaints (small enough not to reduce the 5-star rating). The first is I would have liked more physical descriptions of the main characters. There weren't enough physical descriptors to build a good picture of the characters in my mind's eye. The other complaint is that this is only planned as a trilogy. Just with the story lines already started, I could easily see 5 - 6 books without the story dragging. I'm hoping Islington creates another trilogy set in the same world after The Licanius Trilogy is complete.
Michael Kramer, as always, was absolutely superb.
I rate as follows: 5 Stars = Loved it. 4 Stars = Really liked it. 3 Stars = Liked it. 2 Stars = Didn't like it. 1 Star = Hated it.
I’m taken aback by how emphatically enthusiastic the reviews of this book have been. As so many of the other reviewers here mention, I was pulled in by the comparison to Robert Jordan. The story was generally entertaining, but I did have specific issues. (1) I felt the characters lacked depth and pathos. There was no one I felt emotionally invested in. (2) The story was surprisingly and consistently violent. Whole leagues of bodies, some with the heads of the adults re-attached to children. Stabbing up into people’s brains. Cutting people’s private parts out while they are alive and screaming. It was difficult to listen to, and weighed more and more heavily on me as the story progressed. (3) I understand that there is nothing new under the sun, and the overall story was quite different than other books. That being said, some of the points echoed a little too strongly back to Wheel of Time: shadowy bad creatures with dark cloaks that don’t move in the wind, a sword that is not a sword, core character(s) that are reincarnations of major historical legends. Laman (spelled here as Laiman) is not the king, but the king’s chief advisor. I found these repetitions distracting. (4) The actions of some of the characters were extremely implausible.
During the majority of the story it was entertaining enough, and while I grew more disengaged as it progressed, it still kept me through to the end. I may even consider giving the second book a go, although right now I’m uncertain. If you’re a fantasy fan and having trouble finding something to read, and can handle a fair amount of violent images, you may enjoy this; it certainly seems that the vast majority of readers are.
I liked the ways the characters moved smoothly and the constant build up of broadening the scope of the story. When they make shadows out of the special people and how the story comes together. It's hard not to want to hear one more hours on your Kindle.
The surprising Heros. The new mythical world that comes to life and seems so real. I don't want to spoil the book. If you like Sanderson or any other great epic books of adventure. You will love this. James Islington Has story telling talent.
He's good and I guess he's perfect for long story's. But for me he has little dramatic training. Still for the work and length I still give him 5 star. Great job but limited vocal range. He's a master with the vocal he has to use. In fact he's better in this than Sanderson Way of kings.
A New Mythical World You will Never Forget
I just say thank you for books like these. They really are worth having a audible membership.
My name is Chris and I am an addict.
I read many reviews before I bought this book and it was about what I expected. Many people compare this book to Sanderson or Jordan, but while there are similarities I would not say everyone would like both. The book is well written, but it just seems that it is only a set up for the next book. I was a little aggravated at the amount of prophesies and confusing parts of conversation in this book. I understand that people keep secrets and everything, but it is aggravating when every few chapters you are given some cryptic message or a secret that they will understand when the time comes. Other than my few gripes I would say the book is good even if it is a bit confusing at times.
Michael Kramer does a wonderful job narrating as always.
Likes to listen while doing chores; likes to write reviews while he should be doing chores.
Of the latest set of new fantasy authors that Audible has recommended for fans of more established authors like Sanderson, Jordan, Erikson, Brett, Rothfuss, etc., this one leads the pack. If you've been reading one of the above, chances are you've gotten recommendations for Ryan, Hogan, Staveley, Watson, maybe some others. I feel like this one nudges Ryan's Raven's Shadow series by a nose.
The characters are well developed despite the fact that there are quite a few of them. Islington generally holds to a 3 perspective character convention, sometimes doing a chapter for one outside the main 3. This keeps it interesting without losing focus.
The book starts a bit slow, but by the end of the first third of it, it was holding my attention with a pretty steady stream of twists and revelations that you can tell are only the beginning of a larger narrative that will progress throughout the series.
One of the drawbacks of the book is that there are some pretty conventional themes. Orphan boy with powers that are nascent and unclear goes on journey to learn more while new phantom menace attacks as a prelude to larger calamity. But what are you gonna do? It's fantasy, you kind of have to expect that.
One other small thing, and this may not be a problem for many, but I think I am starting to get Kramer fatigue. He reads so many novels in this genre that I'm starting to lose track of characters and personalities. I like him, but I could use a little variety.
Addicted to Audiobooks! Whispersync Deals! The Romance Genre! And Discovering New Authors and Narrators!
Wow! I was really impressed with this book and will be on the lookout for the others in the series.
The "Shadow of What Was Lost" was recommended to me because I listen to books by Brandon Sanders; however, I was skeptical about getting it and was afraid the story would not compare. I am so glad I bought the book, and with Michael Kramer narrating the story, it turned out to be an awesome read!
Highly recommend for all fantasy lovers!
I'll confess that this is one of the few times I've can say that an online ad caught my attention. Adverts for this book started showing up in my Facebook feed with the promise that fans of Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson would enjoy it. That was enough to get me to take a look, but it was ultimately finding that Michael Kramer, audiobook narrator of Jordan's Wheel of Time and Sanderson's Stormlight Archive series that convinced me to make the purchase.
Islington has certainly studied and taken to heart the style of Jordan and Sanderson, and I appreciated that aspect of the storytelling. One difference is that he is less of a world builder - giving enough background, history, and setting to give context to the story he wants to tells. There are no six page descriptions of every last meal, nor page long genealogies of random characters that we pass by in a hallway one time.
That said, the story does getting overwhelmed somewhat by introducing many major characters and taking them in several directions very quickly. This makes the climax rather more tedious than it should be as all the points of view have to come together at the end. This final section is what ultimately lead me to give this a three star instead of four star rating.
Still, being honest, Jordan's and Sanderson's first works weren't perfect. Islington has produced an interesting world and characters. The epilogue provides a promising look at where this story can go and I'm hooked enough to see how it plays out. I would indeed recommend this to fans of Jordan and Sanderson, with the caveat that we're catching a promising author at his beginning, so it is somewhat unfair to expect him to yet be matching these other authors at their mature best.
This is an awesome fantasy debut. It definitely feels like a Wheel of Time remix, but it stands on its own merits as well. It has a really good pace to the book and a good amount of action. The characters, world and magic system are well developed. You feel like you learn a lot through the course of the book, but it leaves you with just as many questions to be answered in the following books.
I loved the Wheel of Time Series, but for me it got a little too long, especially in the middle, with 14 books. I think I might like this series better if remains more focused through a 3 book series.
The narration from Michael Kramer is great as usual.
I thoroughly enjoyed this listen, but I highly recommend that you listen when you aren't distracted by other activities. There are a lot of names and places and it isn't too difficult to lose track of who is who and what is where.
Besides that, loved it and highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys fantasy.
"A Great Masterpiece by a Great Mastermind no doubt"
After a few chapters, I was worried that the book lacked both sufficient characters and a good story- but then, I began to get drawn in... This is a VERY complex well thought out tale, that captures aspects of great mystery, deception, political strategy, very subtle hints of romance... It is a story of hope, of the loyalty of young friends who are robbed of their innocence and plunged into a world where they are forced to positions of responsibility and power but surrounded by treachery and lies, forcing them to grapple with and pursue, and even change, their own identities and re-determine their true purpose and path..
You will agree that this book is like a whirlpool, you're sucked in at a bearable pace, then feel the pull strengthen and accelerate causing you to tense up and at times struggle to keep up... With every chapter, the story is twisted into greater complexity and intensity, and though you will be left with no doubt that the story has really only just begun when you reach the end of the book, you will be thoroughly satisfied at finally putting it done and having some time to assimilate the story so far before eagerly searching out details of the release of the next instalment/Book in the series.
This is definitely a 5 star read in every respect!! The narrator as usual, is credited with a fantastic performance only perfecting what is already a perfectly great story/book!!
"A great new series"
I'm very happy to have come across this book. It feels like an old school epic fantasy series beginning. I agree with another reviewer that it seems very sanderson like,I would also say that some of the writing seems similar to the wheel of time books. Very engaging characters and a story that flows very well. Highly recommended. Michael Kramer does an excellent job as usual with the narration.
"A great listen and a superb ending."
A very enjoyable book although I must admit, at times I got a bit lost with the twists and turns.
I bought this on a whim and was amazed! I had to check it wasn't a Brandon Sanderson book.
I'm hooked and will be looking for more from James Islington.
"The tag line says it all...almost"
This feels so familiar. The tag line on the jacket says "Robert Jordan Fans should check this out" and there is a reason for that. It feels like a blend of Wheel of time ( our reluctant hero, who doesn't believe he has any powers is pursed by monsters who are trying to kill him) and Game of Thrones (There is a barrier in the north that was once garrisoned to protect the land, but no one now believes there is any danger...except its weakening and monsters are coming through.....). its almost like you can predict where things are going...almost...
Its true the similarity is exacerbated by the fact that Michael Kramer also narrates Wheel of Time so it may have been a mistake to engage him, but he is a master at this genre.
OK so taking everything into account and getting past the sense that I have heard all this before...this isn't a terrible book. Its fun, keeps you intrigued and introduces some complexity into the story. I will buy the next book in the series,though i do doubt it will end at three books.
"not quite radiance but still a sterling book."
looking forward to seeing how this plays out. an interesting slant and fantasy will keep reading.
Very good story well told, i await the next installment with eager anticipation. Narration was also very smooth and firm adding subtly to the overall enjoyment of this book
A fabulous listen with a interesting and catchy theme. As usual the narration is superb the time just flew by
Great stuff, reminds me of Brandon sanders. James is clearly giving the listener/reader what they want. Michael kramer er brilliant like always that and the story itself make you often wonder if your truly not just listening to Brandon. The story is also really kewl and the side story's are everywhere hopefully we'll see more of that in the next book. but yeah buy this book if you like Brandon.
I will be listening too the rest of the trilogy as it has engaged me throughout a long car drive across Europe. It is a good story with perhaps a few re hashed ideas which are made more obvious by the use of the excellent narrator Michael Kramer. It is unfortunate as he has done some fantastic narration on the books of Brandon Sanderson and I found the voices conflicted a little for me as I have already a character associated with the voice.
I will be listening to the rest of the trilogy and then I will decide on whether I will listen to other works by him.
Kramer, as ever is excellent and is on a par with his other performances.
A good listen for anyone doing long journeys but in my opinion not quite up to the standards set by Sanderson and Abercrombie. That in itself is a very high standard and I have enjoyed the first part of the trilogy.
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