Book Review: A Dance of Ghost by David Dalglish

“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.

Rating: 3/5

image courtesy of ddalglish.com

Book Review: A Dance of Death By David Dalglish

A Dance of Death is the 3rd book in David Dalglish’s Shadowdance series. The events occurs two years after the events of A Dance of Blades. This time, Hearn, along with Zusa and Alyssa travels to the city Angelport to confront a copy cat murderer who calls himself The Wraith.

Moving away from the setting of Veldaren, A Dance of Death occurs in the city of Angelport. Home of one of the Trifect, The Keenans, and also of the Merchant Lords. Once again, Dalglish manages to create a world just as dangerous as Veldaren. Although Angelport may not have the thief guilds that Veldaren houses. It does have the Merchant Lords, The Keenans and the city lord, Ingram. Surely enough, all three forces gives Angelport an uncomfortable presence that without a doubt provides our main characters with a feeling of extreme vulnerability.

As much as we are familiar with Hearn and Zusa being such a dominant force from the previous book. The positions are switched as they are in a vulnerable position in the city of Angelport. With the cover showing Zusa lying still in the hands of Hearn, implying that she might be dead. There are moments in this book where you expect her to die. Those moments really does add a tremendous amount of tension in the book as you read through.

The action, as usual is superb and the dialogue, absolutely exceptional. The characters however, might be confusing at times as names are dropped here and there, it could be hard to keep up from time to time. The introduction of the elves was also a great addition reminding us that this is a fantasy book. A dark and gritty one at that. Also the character development of Hearn, Zusa and Alyssa was written very well along with the chemistry between Hearn and Zusa.

An important aspect of the book is The Wraith, which basically acts as Hearn’s rival. Of course, written in such an intriguing way, the fight between the two is a very riveting read which may leave you exhausted. Although there are a lot to like about this book. Having read the previous books, there are moments here that almost mimics some events from the previous books. Such as riots withing the city and the hiring of a fearsome mercenary to kill our main characters halfway through the story. To some, this may be bothersome as you have read this in both A Dance of Cloaks and A Dance of Blades but it may not be a bother to others.

To conclude A Dance of Death is another great addition to the Shadowdance Series. However, this might feel like a filler to other as it did for me, it does provides a thrilling and enjoyable story. With a whole new setting, a set of truly fascinating new characters, not to mention the always incredible fight scenes and an engrossing climax. A Dance of Death is a highly recommended read for the fans of the previous books or fan of the dark fantasy genre.

Book Review: Wards of Faerie by Terry Brooks

Wards of Faerie is one of those books that may captivate you looking at it’s cover. If you’re a big fan of the fantasy genre and you saw this at a book store. Without a doubt it will get your attention. However an awesome cover does not usually mean an awesome book. Thus the saying “don’t judge a book by it’s cover”.

Wards of Faerie starts of in a promising way. Showing you an old diary entries about a romantic story between two lovers. Of course as most cliches go, there were complications in their relationships and simply put the girl’s parents forbids her from seeing the boy. In retaliation the boy stole five out of six Elfstones and ran away. However he left a note that says she can use the last Elfstone to find him. Fast forward to the current setting of the book, An elf named Aphenglow discovers these entries and used it to help find the five remaining Elfstones.

That itself should tell you more about this book than it needed to. You’ve got the different races, forbidden romance, and a quest that can immensely affect each and everyone in the world of the book. It is a very generic set up for a fantasy and unfortunately you probably have seen this in earlier books or even in video games. Yes a party is needed for the quest and yes the bad guys are also looking for the said Elfstones. There are not that many aspects in this book that is unique. The story is predictable and the characters mostly one dimensional. There are some that may get your attention here and there and the action sequences are well written. However even that does not save the book from it’s dull premise.

To conclude, it will be liked for people who don’t mind a good fantasy book. The world is very Tolkien like, with elves, orcs, humans, dwarves and of course dragon. That said, it is very generic and people who are looking for a more enthralling form of fantasy would most likely not see it here.

Book Review: The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

 

Having watched the first two movies I was curious on how The Hobbit(book) actually played out, specially with the cliffhanger ending of the movie, I just had to read the book to find out the ending. That said, this review will be purely based on what I felt about the book and there will be no movie references for that matter.

The Hobbit was not as a page turner as I expected it to be. It starts quite slow and never really picks up until the third act. In between though, delivers some really enthralling chapters. Riddles in the Dark, is a marvel to read and the exchange of riddles between Bilbo and Gollum feels like an intense match of tennis and one is equally as witty as the other. The adventures withing the Mirkwood forest also delivers some uncomfortable scenes, the feeling of hopelessness is felt and really makes you emotionally attached to the dwarves and makes you feel their frustration while wandering within the forest.

As the third act begins, it really is a giant snowball rolling swiftly down a hill. The plot turns, shocking character changes and not to mention a dreadful war is at hand. It really is the best part of the book for me and it was handled perfectly.

Overall apart from the slow start, there is nothing bad about this book. It delivers an amazing journey and in terms of Bilbo a great sense of self discovery. It’s an incredible book and all fans of the fantasy genre will undoubtedly love it.