The Shadow Master
Author: Craig Cormick
Publisher: Angry Robot
Series: Shadow Master #1
Pages: Kindle Edition, 352 pages
Release Date: June 24th 2014
In a land riven with plague, inside the infamous Walled City, two families vie for control: the Medicis with their genius inventor Leonardo; the Lorraines with Galileo, the most brilliant alchemist of his generation.
And when two star-crossed lovers, one from either house, threaten the status quo, a third, shadowy power – one that forever seems a step ahead of all of the familial warring – plots and schemes, and bides its time, ready for the moment to attack...
Assassination; ancient, impossible machines; torture and infamy – just another typical day in paradise.
Loved the world building- think the concept is an amazing idea.. but somehow this just didn't work for me.
Initially when I started this, I was totally blown away by it. The idea behind the world building? Genius.
The parallels between history and Shakespeare's works linked with the imaginative fantasy aspect? Just mindblowing.
And then.... I found myself struggling through it.
I thought it's just my mood, so I set it aside. And read a couple of different books in between. Picked it up again... And the same thing happened. Over and over. I found it a task to finish.
Again I still think the world building is fabulous. It's really quite brilliant. And my favorite part of the book. I loved all the descriptions, the links to magic...well, simply all of it. And that's why I gave this 2.5 Stars rather than 1.5.
I do like the character building, in theory. In practice. I struggled. I get what Cormick was trying to convey. I did like the idea of it. But while I read it, I couldn't find myself connecting to any of the characters. Not a single one.
Which for me means, somehow the character building didn't work for me
The plot, is slow pace, complicated and full of twists and turns. Though again, it is clever, I found myself being bored by it.
All of this I actually put down to the writing style. It felt a bit stogy and old fashioned. Though I love flowery language, I love old literature - and this definitely reminded me of some of my beloved classics... I missed the beauty of prose those said classics have.
Then and I think this is my absolutely biggest issue there were the multiple POVs. I like multiple POV. But here I simply thing less would have been more. There are too many character voices. It took away from the story flow but also more importantly, I think it made it impossible to connect to any character.
I really wish I would have like this more. I really do. But sadly it wasn't meant to be.
I might one day pick up the second book.. who knows? As I said, the idea behind this? Brilliant