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Review of Shadow’s Son by Jon Sprunk

Review of Shadow’s Son by Jon SprunkShadow's Son by Jon Sprunk

Rating: I LOVED IT
Series: Shadow Saga #1
Genres: Epic, Fantasy
Pages: 279
Published by: Pyr
Publication Date: 2010
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Book Blurb: In the holy city of Othir, treachery and corruption lurk at the end of every street, just the place for a freelance assassin with no loyalties and few scruples. Caim makes his living on the edge of a blade, but when a routine job goes south, he is thrust into the middle of an insidious plot. Pitted against crooked lawmen, rival killers, and sorcery from the Other Side, his only allies are Josephine, the socialite daughter of his last target, and Kit, a guardian spirit no one else can see. In this fight for his life, Caim only trusts his knives and his instincts, but they won’t be enough when his quest for justice leads him from Othir’s hazardous back alleys to its shining corridors of power. To unmask a conspiracy at the heart of the empire, he must claim his birthright as the Shadow’s Son. . . .

I’m in the mood for entertainment, something fun with nifty magic and a great character. I’m not in the mood to think or solve a complicated plot. My brain needs a rest and I need an escape. So this series was perfect.

Caim is an assassin who gets a job that turns sour and is thrown into a political uprising. Nothing about it is remarkably unique, but it’s fast paced and just an overall fun read.

First off, the magic in this book was just plain fun to read. Our protagonist, Caim, can command shadows. This in and of itself kept my attention. How Sprunk wrote those scenes were engaging and very well done. I could easily imagine it and it was incredibly entertaining. What I think made it stand out even more was the lack of any other magic, and even better was the lack of drawn out explanations on how the magic worked. I got a basic idea how based on some key sentences that managed to raise some story questions along with answering some and providing backstory. It was weaved into everything nicely. Loved it.

The characters for the most part were engaging and done well. I wouldn’t say they were a complicated or intriguing set, but I was satisfied with what I was given. Caim was well thought out with some good layers added to his personality. He grew in the book, which is always a good thing. Josey was our other protagonist. I didn’t care much for her in the beginning, which I think was kinda the point. She changed the most throughout the book and I enjoyed watching her toughen up. I actually found Kit raised my curiosity and held my attention more than Josey. I enjoyed Kit and Caim’s interactions far more than Caim and Josey’s. They had nice banter and an ease to their relationship that Josey and Caim lacked. The other characters were standard, in my opinion. Nothing stood out about them, but the story carried me past any disappointments there.

Speaking of, I enjoyed the pace of this book. It wasn’t slow for me and held my interest. Some of the action scenes were brilliant. Sprunk’s descriptions were done incredibly well for a gal who doesn’t care much for descriptions. His fight scenes were also engaging and wonderfully entertaining. The world was fine by me, nothing crazy or unique, but had history and felt developed.

So overall I enjoyed this book enough to immediately pick up the next one in the series. The shadows were the deciding factor for that choice because I found them super fun. I’d recommend this series to anyone who enjoys fantasy and is looking for a quick read that’s high on the entertainment value.

About Jon Sprunk

I grew up in central Pennsylvania. The eldest of four children, I attended Lock Haven University and graduated with a B.A. in English in 1992. Athough I had always been an avid reader of speculative fiction, it was during my college years that I developed a broader passion for literature and began my first awkward forays into fiction writing. Encouraged by my professors and peers, I set out after graduation to become a “Serious Writer.” Unfortunately, I had failed to notice the specter of Reality stalking at my back. When my disastrous first fantasy novel failed to find a publisher, I bent my knee to the Real World and sought gainful employment. Crushed, I thought my dreams were over.

Over the next decade I married (twice), changed jobs (numerous times), and after much soul-searching, returned to writing. Like most writers, I suspect, I tried to go it alone, seeking to pound my head through the glass ceiling of my innate talent through sheer willpower and effort. Finally, after many more rejections, I joined Pennwriters and attended their annual conference in 2004. I am both proud and ashamed to admit that I learned more in those two days about the business of writing than I had in the previous ten years. I was also getting the first inklings of why my fiction had not yet made me a household name. Up till then, I hadn’t known how to fashion a true story.

So, I did what any Serious Writer would do. I joined a writers’ group (Pennwriters, to be exact). And I read about the art of writing, a lot. I started to admit to myself that perhaps I could use a little help, that the next Great American Novel wasn’t going to spring from my head, full-grown and ready for world acclaim like some literary Athena.

Since then I have seen some success. I’ve had several short stories published and in June 2009 I signed a multi-book contract with Pyr Books. Best of all, I have the love and support of my wife, and that makes all the difference in the world.

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