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Publisher's Summary

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

Critic Reviews

"Robert Jordan fans should check this out!" (Pop Bop, Top 500 Amazon Reviewer)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    7,348
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    3,141
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    622
  • 2 Stars
    148
  • 1 Stars
    59

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    359
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    66
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Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    59
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Definitely a standout in the fantasy genre

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.

89 of 101 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant!

Any additional comments?

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.

85 of 98 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Excellent installment

Though filled with tropes, this story is a fantastic one. The author writes a lot like Jordan, but more like Jacob Cooper (see Circle of Reign). This will be a fantastic series, I can feel it. With Kramer steering the emotion of the story, it was hard to put down.

18 of 21 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Amanda
  • Phoenix, AZ, United States
  • 03-22-15

Surprised by the Fanfare

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.

184 of 224 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

James Islington Has A Great Epic Here

What did you love best about The Shadow of What Was Lost?

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.

What did you like best about this story?

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.

What does Michael Kramer bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

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.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

A New Mythical World You will Never Forget

Any additional comments?

I just say thank you for books like these. They really are worth having a audible membership.

43 of 52 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

A good start, but not for everyone.

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.

56 of 68 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Interesting, if a bit overwrought

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.

58 of 71 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Good listen

While I can see where people think it's a wheel of time knock off, I think it is its own story. Looking forward to next book.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Enjoyed it

This was my first audio book. Michael was awesome. Characters needed more depth in story though. I do think the story was original enough not to compare it to other works. Well done

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Justin
  • Stone Mountain, GA, United States
  • 03-12-15

The book of a thousand names!

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.

30 of 40 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Mike
  • 07-07-15

The tag line says it all...almost

Is there anything you would change about this book?

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.

Would you be willing to try another book from James Islington? Why or why not?

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.

Was The Shadow of What Was Lost worth the listening time?

Yes.

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • JS
  • 03-29-15

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.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Lulu
  • 02-16-15

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!!

32 of 36 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Robyn
  • 01-15-18

Excellent

I'm excited to have discovered this trilogy. It's a complex fantasy world, with a huge cast of characters and a solid "magic" system and it all charges along at a cracking pace. (It probably helps that it's Michael Kramer's narration, and I have come to associate his voice with a favourite series - Stormlight)

The only negative comment I would make is that I am struggling to keep up with all the names - but that may be a factor of my listening while doing 100 other things and therefore not paying full attention. This is a story that probably requires more attention than most, and I did find myself having to replay the last 30 seconds, on a fairly regular basis, to check I'd not missed another clue.

Lead characters are likable with enough mystery to keep them interesting too.

This very much reminded my of the Wheel of Time (just with fewer annoying references to sheep).

If you're an epic fantasy fan - then this is highly recommended.




2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • christian
  • 03-28-15

not quite radiance but still a sterling book.

looking forward to seeing how this plays out. an interesting slant and fantasy will keep reading.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mark C.
  • 03-25-15

Awesome

A fabulous listen with a interesting and catchy theme. As usual the narration is superb the time just flew by

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Richard Taylor
  • 02-11-15

Absolutely brilliant.

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.

5 stars

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Simon
  • 07-26-16

Nothing Lost in This Shadow

Michael Kramer purrs and growls his way through twenty-five hours of genuinely inventive narrative. The characters grow, the tension builds, the intrigue winds its way around my imagination and the magic quite simply unfolds before my very ears. Excellent fantasy of the epic variety from James Islington.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Patricia
  • 09-01-17

Interesting First Book

The writing style takes a bit away from emersion but can't wait to start book 2

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • JONAH8208
  • 03-28-15

Excellent

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

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Robert P. Rumball
  • 04-10-16

A great start for a Series (I want more)

What did you like most about The Shadow of What Was Lost?

A very believable story involving youngsters (I'm 84 but my kids tell me I've never grown up)
Some nice Hi Faluting Psuedo-Hi-Sci

Who was your favorite character and why?

Blaes, or Blase, I see myself in this character

Have you listened to any of Michael Kramer’s other performances? How does this one compare?

No, but I'm wanting to see more of this series

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The shadowing of Asher

Any additional comments?

I just loved the story, its characters, and the action....gimme more!

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Richard
  • 10-15-17

heckin good boiiieeee

I was looking for something to listen to/read to hold me over till oathbreaker comes out. In all of the lists if things people recommended while waiting for oathbreaker this book was either not mentioned or so little mentioned It didn't stick. it has some wheel of time vibes. It's well written and was a joy to listen to.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Malcolm
  • 07-27-15

A story that grows

The story is not a genre I would normally read but as it was on special I thought I would give it a go.
The book started off slow for me and the readers voice took some getting use to but , as the story line unfolded and the characters became familiar, the story grew on me. As the book drew to its conclusion I thought to myself " where is book 2 I need it now"

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jonathon
  • 05-14-15

Highly recommended

Good book all round, characters are easy to follow and has a good narrator. Looking forward to the second book.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Edjnr
  • 09-18-16

Ignore the narrative style at the start

This is a great story, after reading the reviews I was hesitant to buy. After listening to the sample of the first chapter the narration grated on me to the point that I didn't buy this audiobook, sounding like some cheap 90's trailer voiceover. But thankfully after purchasing and getting past that first chapter the narration improved immensely. That or I grew accustomed to it and the story was great enough for it to not matter.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Pauline Stockhausen
  • 03-13-17

highly recommended

The Shadow of What Was Lost is one of the best story driven fantasy themed novels I've read in a long time. with a strong story line and background, only the lack of character variety in terms of personality is the only fault in this book that I can tell, but picked up with their dubious or moral questioning motives that drove this story the most. Islington's execution to this is also recommended, with only the complaint of the plots deeper ancestry when the book came to an end. even as the beginning had a slower drive in, the overall conclusion was worth the wait and can honestly entertain anyone who is inclined to mystery as a theme in books. with all the varieties of reviews I've read, no one can doubt Islington's genius with how he executed a driving force and sheer mystery to this trilogy.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • jamie
  • 02-02-17

a good set up

this book is a good interesting set up for a long story at no point boring but not quite gripping either I look forward to the rest of the story I expect the next book or 2 will be where the story gets hectic.
as usual Kramer did a wonderful job of narration

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Nina crause
  • 01-06-17

Brilliant storytelling

Author fantastic in weaving a great story and characters. I could really feel their confusion, sadness and loss. It took a while to get into the narrators voice, he was outstanding but grating at the same time.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Greg
  • 12-14-16

great story

i have listed to this story twice and may do it again i really enjoyed it

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-23-18

Highly enjoyable for fantasy fans

If you enjoy Brandon Sanderson, you will enjoy this book. Escape with James Islington, you won't regret it.