Book Review: A Dance of Chaos by David Dalglish

“Watcher, alone you conquered this city. Thren, alone you built the Spider Guild into an empire. Alone, I will outshine you all. This will be the crown upon my legacy, forged with your bones and painted with your blood.”

-A Dance of Chaos, David Dalglish

This is it, the 6th and final book in David Dalglish’s Shadowdance Series. Muzien have controlled all of Veldaren, most of the thief guilds have pledged their allegiance to the Sun Guild. Unfortunately for Muzien, there are those who still deny the Guild and will stop at nothing to see it crumble.

Well what can one expect when reading the end of a series? high octane action, gripping drama, explosions, wars, epic battles? Fortunately for A Dance of Chaos it has everything to create a fitting finale. It is as the title says it is, it’s chaotic but in a good way. The action never stops and the story keeps developing.

You get what you have been getting the past few books which are imaginatively written fight sequences. From duels of swords to magical RPGesque battle sequences. All of it were great and it is really one of the strongest selling point of this whole series.

All of major characters from the past books have a part to play, specially one that was sorely missed from A Dance of Ghost, Deathmask and The Ash Guild. Ever since his d├ębut in A Dance of Blades, Deathmask has been one of if not the coolest character in the series. This time he’s got a lot to do and when he fights, he does not disappoint. Major character development were also done with Thren and Hearn. As both are fighting very similar inner battles as Muzien wants Thren to cement his legacy and Thren wanting Hearn to cement his.

More characters such as Alyssa, Zusa and our favourite a-hole Victor were also given a substantial amount of work as some of them have their own plot though not as engaging as Hearn’s it was still intriguing to say the least. Nathaniel has been developed substantially as Karak continues to work his way into his mind having a huge impact in the story but the most impressively written character is Muzien. Muzien showed how great of a leader he is in A Dance of Ghost, here he shows how great of a fighter he is. You can tell that Dalglish invested a lot of time with this guy to make him the ultimate bad guy and to Dalglish’s credit it paid of. Muzien was believable in every aspect that he possess. You believed that this elf, conquered the city, that he might be a god amongst men.

As much as this is a great finale, there are some elements here that felt random. Such as a zombie army as well as an Orc army that came literally out of nowhere. Though little details as those did not take me out as they still produced a page turner of a book.

All in all, A Dance of Chaos is a satisfying finale for the series and it’s highly recommended to those who are familiar with the series. If you’re not then start from the very start as it’s an epic and rewarding journey.

Rating: 4.5/5

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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