“I will leave you with a graveyard of fire and death before I let you pretend to be it’s god”
-A Dance of Ghost, David Dalglish
David Dalglish is back with the 5th book in The Shadowdance Series. Unsurprisingly, for the umpteenth time, Veldaren, is once again under siege. The Thief Guilds are dead, with the exception of the Ash Guild, and only one Guild rules all over the city, The Sun Guild, led by Muzien The Darkhand. This time, neither Thren Felhorn and The Watcher are there to suppress the occupation but rather the duo are out on a road trip in hopes to learn more about Karak’s Dark Paladins. With only Alyssa Gemcroft, Lord Victor Kane and The King to deal with the Darkhand’s occupation, how will they handle Muzien’s plans for the city?
Being the 5th book in the series, A Dance of Ghost serves as the calm before the storm. Not that it’s a still and quiet book but rather compared to previous books. It has a solemn feel to it. Muzien’s take over of Veldaren is calculated and done in such a masterful way compared to previous take over. It has moments of bloodshed however there are no soldiers and thieves running amok and less fire on the streets of Veldaren. David Dalglish created an intimidating and unforgettable villain in the form of Muzien. He is calm, and mostly unmoved by any threats that comes his way. Even Thren Felhorn is shadowed by Muzien’s presence.
Unfortunately Muzien is possibly the best thing on this book. Ghost makes a return but this point, all interest goes to Muzien. Ghost’s arc mostly feels like an “Ok let’s just get this over with” moment. It was an uninteresting return but it did serve a a purpose. As Delysia and Hearn’s relationship is put to the test thanks to Ghost. A big improvement in this book is the way the female characters were written, specially Delysia. She is written in a much stronger way physically and emotionally, she proved numerous times that she can handle herself in a fight. Also Zusa shows some emotions in the most shocking way possible likewise Alyssa Gemcroft still proves to be a woman of strong will and would not any man undermine her authority, in fact most of the time Lord Victor Kane is at her mercy.
Thren is still very unpredictable and also greatly improved as he transitions to a villain to a likeable anti hero. That said we’re still not forgetting the despicable things he has done in previous books. Ultimately the most disappointing aspect of the book is the lack of Deathmask and his guild. You really miss their presence as they were such a bad ass in the last book. It will make you wonder, “Where the hell are they during Muzien’s occupation of the city?”. Hopefully they will have a huge part to play on the 6th book but this time, Deathmask fans will without a doubt be disappointed.
All in all A Dance of Ghost is a mediocre book at best, that said it does set up the big finale in terms of the 6th book. It is the calm before the storm but it’s a readable calm and it will definitely make the reader look forward to the next book.
image courtesy of ddalglish.com