|Series: Light in the Dark #1
||Genre: dark fantasy, epic fantasy
|Published: March 16th 2018
||Author’s website: https://www.facebook.com/Ralchanh/
” The past is what it is. Learn from it. “
Epic Fantasy filled to the brim with Grimdark Reality If one looks too long into the abyss, the abyss looks back. Drangar Ralgon has been avoiding the abyss's gaze for far too long and now he turns to face it. For a hundred years the young kingdom of Danastaer has thrived in peace. Now their northern neighbor, mighty Chanastardh, has begun a cunning invasion. Thrust into events far beyond his control, the mercenary Drangar Ralgon flees his solitary life as a shepherd to evade the coming war and take responsibility for his crimes. In Dunthiochagh, Danastaer's oldest city, the holy warrior Kildanor uncovers the enemy's plans for invasion. As ancient forces reach forth to shape the world once more, the sorceress Ealisaid wakes from a century of hibernation only to realize the Dunthiochagh she knew is no more. Magic, believed long gone, returns, and with it comes an elven wizard sent to recover a dangerous secret.
I received a copy from the author in exchange of a honest review. Actually, Ulff was the first requesting a review from me. He wanted me to read it so much, that he contacted me twice. Sadly, I had to refuse the second time 🙂 I’d also like to thank him for putting up with me while I read and gave me several pointers and insider info. I had a blast with this one, because I got to talk about all my hunches and thoughts and random musings in real time. I swear this should be a thing: read a book with its author! It’s like having a personal live commentary. This puts reading experience to another level. It also helped to piece some things together, although I got most of it myself. Still, it’s nice to get some pointers which makes you think, and puts things in another perspective. Okay, enough rambling, let’s get down to business.
Shattered Dreams is the debut novel by Ulff Lehmann and the first of a 5 book series. Thus it has flaws and first book issues, which keeps me from giving a 5 star rating. Don’t let that hold you back and give Shattered Dreams a chance, because it deserves it.
We are about a hundred years after the Heir War and the Demon War. The Phoenix Wizards are extinct, the elves retreated from the world, humans are left to their own devices, fighting petty wars and worshipping gods, whom actually grants them their help and blessings in one form or another. But all in all people live in peace. Until now. The Chanastardh kingdom is about to invade Danastaer, a Wizardess wakes up after a 100 years long hibernation and trouble is about being unleashed in the ancient elven city, Honas Graigh’s heart. In these circumstances the best you can hope for is survival, even against all odds. And so the race against time begins.
Throughout the book we follow several characters’ path, whom all play significant roles in a way, and whose name is nearly impossible to remember. Obviously. Who would have thought, huh? First, we have Drangar, ex-mercenary, presently a shepherd, living a solitary life, trying to forget about his past, and wrongdoings. But one’s past is not so easy to ignore, especially if it comes knocking on the door. So Drangar has no choice but to put on his big boy pants and face whatever haunts him.
Meanwhile in Dunthiochagh Lord Kildanor, Chosen of Lesganagh, God of Sun and War tries to prevent the city getting in the hands of Chanastadh. Doing so he finds unexpected allies in Eanaigh’s church as well as in Ealisaid the Wizardess in whom he (or anyone else for that matter) doesn’t trust. Not that he has any other choice if he wants to keep Baron Duasonh alive and ensure the independence of the city and the Baron’s subjects. The interactions between Kildanor and Braigh represents very well the conflict between the two factions and the errors on both end. Religion plays a big role throughout the story. Maybe this is the only aspect where I’m sorry we don’t get more info regarding all the different gods and their deeds. Kildanor, being one of the first Chosen, had seen a lot of things in his life, most of it not really pleasing, but manages to keep his sense of humor. Actually, one of the things I really liked about this book were the humor and the banter between characters lighting up the rather dark mood.
Neither of them is aware of the happenings in Honas Graigh, which forces Lloreanthorian to leave the safe “haven” of the elves, where they created their new home and try to right the mistake his people made and which can cost a lot in the long run. He also has the most unexpected hero on his side. And the most adorable one I ever read of.
There are a few other characters as well, who get their own POV throughout the book, which makes it hard to get the hang of the story. For those who get easily confused by the changes, this book won’t appeal much. Also, this is not exactly an action packed, fast paced, making you sit on the edge of your seat kind of book, which doesn’t mean that it’s boring either. On the contrary, it can keep you interested without you noticing it, and before you know it, you’ve finished quite a big portion of it. Of course there are some unexpected turn of events to slap you in the face or to break your heart. And believe me, it will break.
The characters and the world is well built, although we get only as much description as necessary – some may find it too few, for me it was a relief I didn’t have to deal with useless info dumping dragged out for pages. I could let my imagination fill out the gaps. We only get as much info as we need to understand what the hell is happening. There were some repetitiveness here and there, especially regarding the elf POV, but not as much as to be utterly annoying. Nothing that couldn’t be easily righted with some additional editing in the future. As mentioned above, these are first book problems, along with the book focusing a lot on the characters’ pasts and motives, which leaves less place for action. But then, action isn’t the main strength here. Besides, the writing is smooth, the characters are interesting enough in themselves so one can’t complain much. There are a lot of questions left unanswered and the book ends rather abruptly. Fortunately, we don’t have to wait long for book two to come out later this year.
Shattered Dreams is like a treasure hunt where you don’t get rubies and diamonds, but some important pieces of information masquerading themselves as unimportant pebbles. You have to pay attention to all the little details, because you can never know what might be get back in your face later. This is not your typical straightforward, to the point kind of novel, you have to think and reason along with the characters to fully appreciate the story. This, again, won’t be appealing to everyone. And then, you might dismiss insignificant scenes and details, which of course are anything but. Shattered Dreams is that kind of book you’ll want to reread and will make you bang your head on the wall for not realizing some things sooner. Anyway, go grab a copy so you can play with it until Shattered Hopes comes out!