Book Review: The Shadow of What Was Lost

The Shadow of What Was Lost by James Islington

It has been twenty 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 that there is further to fall if he cannot pass his final tests. 

But when Davian 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…

So as for Epic fantasy. This field is truly dominated by big names My ventures into Epic Fantasy were supported by the books of Tad Williams. Brilliant stuff. Epic Fantasy eventhough it sounds simple with storylines often being going on a quest for.. there are a lot more strings attached when writing this genre. I hadn't heard of James Islington before picking up this, but I did found out that this book was self published back in 2014 and that it was his debut. 

So onto the story itself. I am a sucker for a good prologue. It should trigger you to finish the book and find out just what is going on. In The Shadow of What Was Lost, this is definitely happening. From the beginning you are thrown in the deeps of this story about what happened. After the prologue the story picks up in an time after a great a great event. Beings with godlike powers, (Epic check) known as Augurs once ruled the world. They were beaten, destroyed and removed. The power of the Augurs rubbed a bit of on people and they were known as Gifted, they could do extraordinary things with their magic powers, but after the defeat of the Augurs, the Gifted were only able to live if they would give in a contract known as the Four Tenets, blocking the usage of their powers. 

Meet Davian a student at the school for Gifted. Things are going to will for Davian though as he is failing in controlling the powers of the Gift. He is failing so much that when if he doesn't pass for his final exam, that he will be turned into a Shadow. Blocking the usage of Essence required for the Gift. The Shadow road is not one that you want to walk. Just before his final exams, Davian and his friends Wirr and Asha come to the striking conclusion of why Davian cannot control the Gift. It is because he wields much stronger powers, powers that were eradicated about twenty years ago, the power of the Augurs. Now there is only one thing to do, flee and figure out just what is going on and more importantly if Davian has powers of the Augurs, who else? And what could it all mean...

When you look at the character in The Shadow of What Was Lost they are precisely what you look for in an Epic fantasy story. They are far from perfect. They are in development. When you look to Davian, he is the smartest of the lot. Though sometimes how Davian acts it doesn't reflect this. But this does fall back on the fact that Davian has to learn and that naivety makes him a great character. Besides Davian there as his friends Asha and Wirr. Another treat to read about, Asha likes to do things on her ow, she knows what she wants and how to execute it. Wirr is a mysterious guy who doesn't let on to much about himself. But you can feel him radiate that he has to be special. Next to these three there is one other character that makes a important appearance Caedan. Caedan wakes up in the story in a forest by himself with no recollection of what has happened to him. He has been found guilty of a murder of which he didn't know he had done it. The road that Caeden walks to find out the truth about himself is a more than powerful one. It will pique your interest even more for the stories to come. 

If you are looking for your next fantasy fix this is definitely a series to watch out for. It has everything you wish in Epic fantasy and a lot more. Keep an eye out on James Islington. He is bound to surprise you. 


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