Oh my. Let me tell you about this book.
I think The Stealthmaster’s Shadow is my favorite of all the Legends of the Light so far. I’ve read all the other three and loved them all in turn—but this one broke all previous records. It was beautiful.
The plot was amazing, with high stakes, action, cool Stealthmaster-y… well, stealth, and just a dash of romance. I honestly thought we weren’t going to make it out alive for a few moments, and was lamenting the fact that yet another of my favorite characters was going to die. (It’s tragic. I have a thing for all the characters that die. I mean… Newt. R.I.P., buddy.)
And yes, you heard me right. Favorite character! I have a new precious charrie THAT NO ONE BETTER EVER KILL. (Hear that, Hope? Verus is under my personal dragonly protection. Don’t lay a single razor-sharp ax upon my baby’s neck. *growls*)
But really, Verus is amazing. The tone, the sarcasm… he’s the best. And Adreana is totally the perfect fit for him. She pulled off the “strong woman” stereotype very well. (Plus, the whole “misshapen monstrosity” thing was awesome.)
So now that we’re done ranting, let me move on to the actual review.
~ My Review ~
The wishes of the Subverters themselves are immaterial. They weren’t there during the war. They didn’t see the horrors Tauscher spread.
So has the new ambassador from Zahavia who strides through the great doors of the feasting hall, bringing Verus face to face with nightmares from his past.
As the simple mission dissolves into confusion, Verus struggles to help those he’s plunged into danger, from a serving lad to the infuriating woman he’s taken to calling “Princess.” Fleeing will only make the enemy stronger. But staying…
Staying could doom them all.
~ Overall Rating: 4/5 ~
I loved this book. The characters were great, the plot intense and action packed, and the Christian themes and message beautifully weaved into the story. But there were a few points where I wasn’t exactly sure what was going on, or who was talking. For the most part, context and subtext told it all, but there were some spots were I was a bit confused, which is why I’m rating it 4/5.
~ Genre ~
Fantasy/Allegorical Fantasy/YA/Fairy Tale Re-telling
This book totally fit the genre. The fantasy feel was spot on, and the settings incorporated a lot of realistic, fantasy things that made me so excited for when Hope finishes her WIP Fidelyon, which I believe(correct me if I’m wrong, Hope) is set in the same world. So we’ll get a more in-depth view of the world of LotL and I can’t wait to read about it all.
The fairy tale this book was based on–The Twelve Dancing Princesses–is a rather hard fairy tale to pull off a re-telling of, in my opinion, first because it’s not nearly as popular as other fairy tales, and second because it’s a little bit different than other fairy tales. I haven’t read the original fairy tale in a long time, but I think Hope did a good job writing in little hints and references to the original. I could pick up everything referring to the fairy tale pretty well, and I even noticed more hints and more references the second time I read over it. So go Hope!
~ Plot ~
I loved the plot. It was high-stakes, action, sarcasm, and just plain fantastic. As I mentioned before, there was some confusing spots that I had to re-read and think over, but nothing to confusing. Plus, I think this was possibly one of the most high-stakes plots I’ve ever read. I loved the amount of tension and internal conflict(and conflict in general) in this book. So go, my dragons. Read this book. It is epic.
~ Characters ~
One word. Verus. There is one main reason I read a book. Characters. If you don’t have interesting characters, I will not read your book. In fact, I may take your book(like the only Stephen King book I’ve ever owned) and throw it across the room, and then throw it in the the trash can. But this book–I will re-read it again and again, because of the characters. Verus. Adreana. People-I-forget-the-name-of-but-who’s-personalities-and-story-is-forever-branded-in-my-mind.
Those guys. People like Huckleberry Finn(did any of you ever just cringe with sadness for poor ol’ Huck when you read the line in Tom Sawyer ‘He[Huck] wavered, and started to slink away, but Tom seized him and said, “Aunt Polly, it ain’t fair. Somebody’s got to be glad to see Huck.”‘) and Kylo Ren, and Newt Scamander, and Draco Malfoy(Okay, yes, I’m an anti-hero/villain-whatever lover.), and Newt(The Maze Runner, #R.I.P.). But these are the guys and cheer for. These are the guys I get up at 2 AM to find fandom updates for, these are the guys I’d personally write a letter to their author screaming about their unjust and terribly unnecessary death.
And The Stealthmaster’s Shadow has characters like that. Verus and Adreana? I’d do that for them. I’d read through twenty books about these guys. I’d search the web diligently for new bits of info on them, and skim Pinterest for new art and pin ever piece I find, and then search for more. Verus–he’s sarcastic, funny, and just strong enough to be real and tough but just weak enough to be human and huggable. Plus, he had this cute and slightly childish side that was just… adorable. Adreana–she was amazing and smart and witty and saucy at the same time, while not being one of those irritating strong female characters that just sound like rude, bossy girls who hate everyone.
So Hope, I’m giving you an A+ on the characters.
~ Notes ~
–This novel was probably the darkest of the Legends of the Light so far, but I don’t think it was to dark. I think Hope handled it very well, but just to warn you there is some gore and a torture scene towards the end.
-I loved Verus. Enough said.
-As always, Hope has surprised me again by weaving allegory and the story of the Bible beautifully with a new, fresh fantasy feel.
And now, snippets!
“Thank you for the company, gentlemen.” Verus quickened his pace and slipped between the two foremost guards. “I’ll introduce myself to the governor, if it’s not too much trouble.”
“That was a warning.” Osvaldus stepped back in front of the Stealthmaster. “At least Tauscher had real men behind him.” His gaze slowly traveled over Verus. “Ten years ago, you were what? A lad pretending to be a soldier?”
Verus grew rigid. “I was seventeen when peace came.”
“Like I said, a lad.” Osvaldus turned away. “A dreamer trying to bring in the new age after his Prince failed to do so. A camp follower sent to hide with the baggage when real blows were exchanged.”
“I was a soldier!” Verus took a step after Osvaldus. “I bore a blade into conflict more bitter than you have seen and—”
“I don’t care.” Osvaldus spun and seized the front of Verus’s cloak. He dragged him close, his eyes inches away. Lights glinted there, bright and dangerous. “I don’t care. What I do care about is a group of Subverters hiding in my palace, operating outside of my control. A group I want in chains before Renatus appears.” His grip tightened. “If you fail me, I will execute you for the trouble you’ve caused. Can you do it, soldier lad?”
Verus clenched his jaw and didn’t look away. “Yes. I can do it. Maybe I even will.”
“I’m sorry. I truly am.” She bent close, pressing one hand against his forehead. The faintest smile lit her lips. “Though you are much pleasanter like this.”
Why the little… Verus tried to twist away, but his arms were so heavy. His head. His eyelids. This answered one question at least. He forced back the webs of sleep clouding his mind. “You… you’re one of…” His chin slumped to his chest.
~ About The Author ~
Hope Ann uses chocolate to bribe a wide ring of spies, from the realm leapers of Aslaria to the double agents of Elkbend, for their stories. Based in Indiana, she is the self-published author of the Legends of Light series, personal writing coach, and the Communications Coordinator for Story Embers. You can find out more about her at authorhopeann.com