Book Review: Shadow's Master / Author: Jon Sprunk / Publisher: Gollancz / Release Date: Out Now
Shadow’s Master is the concluding part of Jon Sprunk’s series of novels about Caim, an assassin who uses shadow magic to aid him in his role as a killer. As you may have guessed, this is an action fantasy series, aimed firmly at those who like fast paced adventure, weird magical powers and lots of violence. Caim is assisted by his invisible friend (and love interest) Kit, and loyal (if slightly grumpy) friends as he goes on a quest to save the world from dark forces. Meanwhile, Josey (the love interest from the previous books) has to keep the world from falling apart.
Sprunk spins great tales of heroism, and the main appeal of this series is the action adventure with a healthy dose of sinister magic for flavour. Though Shadow’s Master is decidedly the end of the trilogy there are still enough surprises left to keep the reader guessing all the way through. It is essentially two tales; one of a noble assassin kicking ass and the other about war and intrigue. Sprunk’s strength is in the former, and the massed battles and complex social interactions aren’t as polished as they could be. Sadly this means the scenes with Josey aren’t as strong as they could be.
Those new to Shadow Saga should begin with the first one, Shadow’s Son, whereas those who’ve already read the previous two books should find this an appropriate conclusion. Fans of straight forward, classic fantasy novels filled with northern wastelands and inherited weaponry will find this series a pleasing diversion, especially as it has a relaxed, flowing style that makes this the ideal read for the more casual reader. The author has improved with every novel, and I will definitely be looking out to see what he writes next.