I’ll say this simply: I love epic fantasy. When it’s done well, the world is fascinating and immersive, the characters are intriguing (or really annoying in only the best way) , the story is dramatic…yeah, it’s pretty exciting. Which is why, when I get a new epic fantasy to read, such as Dave Green’s In Solitude’s Shadow, I am excited. To say the least.
1. Thoughts on the plot
This book takes place two millennia after a war was hard won, with human and elves on one side and the First Ones—or later, the Banished—on the other. As usually happens so long after an event, the reason for certain things has been forgotten and the memories of the war are twisted and changed. Which makes it difficult when the aftermath, the true consequences, begin to reveal themselves. This book primarily follows Zanna Alpenwood, a mage guarding the fortress Solitude from a long forgotten threat in the north, and her adventures onces she realises that the Banished are returning. Also significant is her daughter, Calene, a mage who discovers a Banished far from home, and learns further secrets about the world they thought they knew.
This book is the perfect mix of lore and action, spreading the events of the book out over a well-paced plot, which makes it really easy to get absorbed. As far as epic fantasies are concerned, this book was not overly action or event oriented; in fact, I have a feeling that the next books in the series are going to be exponentially more dramatic than this one. (Okay, minus the ending, that was pretty dramatic.) Still, I enjoyed it, was engrossed, and want to know more.
2. Thoughts on the characters
As far as characters go, Zanna is a pretty fantastic one. I appreciate her slightly subdued nature, given all the things that have happened to her. She could easily be cynical, but I feel like she’s more…cautious. And Calene, a feisty sort who is capable of thinking, despite being able to rush into a situation with magic blazing.
There are more characters that I would like to know more about, but as a first book in a series, I feel like the appropriate amount of information was presented so that we knew the characters but weren’t inundated with information that wouldn’t be necessary until later.
3. Favourite part
The dramatic bit at the end. I mean, my goodness!
I haven’t really got a critique for this book, to be honest. It was entertaining, rich in world lore, and with characters to root for.
Overall, I would say that In Solitude’s Shadow is an excellent first book in an epic fantasy series that looks to be a truly awesome adventure.