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P. 1
Shadow Magic

Shadow Magic

Ratings:

3.6

(51)
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BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Jaida Jones and Danielle Bennett's Dragon Soul.Led to victory by its magic-fueled Dragon Corps, Volstov has sent a delegation to its conquered neighbors to work out the long-awaited terms of peace. Among those in the party are the decorated war hero General Alcibiades and the formerly exiled magician Caius Greylace. But even this mismatched pair can’t help but notice that their defeated enemies aren’t being very cooperative. The hidden truth is that the new emperor is harboring a treacherous secret—and once it is revealed, Alcibiades and Caius may be powerless to stop it. With their only ally an exiled prince now fleeing his brother’s assassins, the countryside rife with terror, and Alcibiades and Caius all but prisoners, it will take the most powerful kind of magic to heal the rift between two strife-worn lands and unite two peoples against a common enemy: shadow magic.
BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Jaida Jones and Danielle Bennett's Dragon Soul.Led to victory by its magic-fueled Dragon Corps, Volstov has sent a delegation to its conquered neighbors to work out the long-awaited terms of peace. Among those in the party are the decorated war hero General Alcibiades and the formerly exiled magician Caius Greylace. But even this mismatched pair can’t help but notice that their defeated enemies aren’t being very cooperative. The hidden truth is that the new emperor is harboring a treacherous secret—and once it is revealed, Alcibiades and Caius may be powerless to stop it. With their only ally an exiled prince now fleeing his brother’s assassins, the countryside rife with terror, and Alcibiades and Caius all but prisoners, it will take the most powerful kind of magic to heal the rift between two strife-worn lands and unite two peoples against a common enemy: shadow magic.

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Publish date: Jul 28, 2009
Added to Scribd: Apr 14, 2012
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reservedISBN:9780553906752
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raschneid_1 reviewed this
Rated 3/5
Gets three stars because of the lovely writing, often elegantly handled themes, fun setting (fake Japan FTW!), and Kouje, who was just super compelling and deserves the Samwise Gamgee award for being a fantastic servant character in a fantasy novel.

An enjoyable read, but I think Jones and Bennett need to work on constructing and executing better plots. This one was made up of pretty good elements - and so was actually much better than the plot of Havemercy - but even still too often the characters were not doing very much or doing things that didn't 100% make sense in order to set up for future plot. Also, I am generally somewhat tolerant of overheard conversations, but please do not have your characters overhear vital information by running into just the right people *in the middle of a mountain range* and listening in for like ten minutes. Granted it was the part of the mountain range where they were most likely to overhear this information, but you should make your characters work for their overheard conversations - a few hours of espionage at least! :)

Iseul was also not that great of a villain - he was believable and creepy, yes, and the question of how the duty and order-obsessed Ke-Han should deal with having a crazy emperor was an interesting one, but I sort of was wondering why we were being told the story of this particular bad emperor. Emperors who try to assassinate their brothers and go back on peace treaties are probably a dime a dozen if you look at real world history.

Also, while they were well written and often very funny, Caius and Alcibiades were a bit two-dimensional; their thread was also suffering from the lack of plot, which exacerbated this. They sort of felt like anime/television characters and not book characters? If that makes sense.
kassilem reviewed this
Rated 4/5
Well, I didn't think I'd read it that fast... suffice to say it was a page turner. (It helped that I didn't work this weekend.) I was a little put off at first that the second book in the trilogy wasn't going to include Thom and Rook but once I'd pushed myself to get through the first twenty or so pages I found I enjoyed Caius, Alcibiades, Mamoru and Kouje just as much. I'm definitely interested in what Jones and Bennett have for me in the third book. Highly Recommended.
jenson_aka_dl reviewed this
Rated 4/5
Taking place after the war in Havemercy we join an all new cast of characters as they pursue their separate yet parallel quests arising from aftermath.While I didn't get into this story quite as much as I did Havemercy I do have to say that these authors have a way with characters. Once again we have two pairs each off on their own journeys and each with their own brand of relationship. The tale of Alchcibiades and Caius as diplomats has more of an odd couple/buddy story vibe to it. Acting as diplomats to the defeated realm of the Ke-Han they uncover a plot which could throw a wrench into the tenuous peace treaty. With Prince Mamoru and Kouje we also have another buddy story type with the added interest of having to overcome their strict master/servant disciplines to survive. This book isn't too terribly exciting, but it is an interesting journey for all the characters. I wouldn't mind reading another story set in this world should the authors decide to do another one.
narwhaltortellini reviewed this
Rated 3/5
Having found Havemercy (the first book by these authors to which this story is a sort-of-sequel) very up my alley and ultimately enjoyable but still flawed in various areas, I was very much looking forward to these authors' second attempt and the improvement that would hopefully come with it. Writing non-overly-angsty character-driven fantasy that's slashy or outright m/m material...if they tightened up their work a bit, it seemed like these ladies could easily become favorites of mine.Unfortunately, while I found the first book flawed in parts but still enjoyable, I gave up on finishing—or frankly even getting terribly far in—this one. If I had to pick a word to describe it, it would undoubtedly be “meandering” (and not intentionally so). At setup the plot seems to have potential to be better done than that in Havemercy, yet as far as I read, the story still showed no signs of taking shape or direction, nor did the characters start showing much of any signs of taking a role in shaping their situation.This wouldn't be so bad (plot being a shaky point in Havemercy as well) if the character development side of things didn't meander as well. There's a lot of prose dedicated to characters' current thought processes or thoughts on their past. While clearly meant for characterization, one can't help but imagine there must have been some more interesting as well as less ham-fisted way of getting points about a character's personality to us other than having a character who knows him well think about him and tell us what he thinks. At length. The characters also banter a lot, but while I usually love dialogue-heavy writing, that dialouge has to be accomplishing something. Too often it felt like the authors were just writing banter with no actual idea of what purpose it was playing in the development of their characters or story. As for world building, the metal dragons that gave this world its one unique point are (as far as I can see so far) gone. Instead we get a pseudo-Asian fantasy culture, all of the most detailed bits of the world that I can tell having been lifted not from the authors' imaginations but straight out of Japan. I'll put up with authors of anime/manga fanfiction giving me the uncontrollable urge to scream “stop being such a weaboo” occasionally. But paid authors of original fiction? Seriously. Please. Stop being such a weaboo.(Also, speaking of derivative, one of the main characters in this novel is similar to a character from another series of similar type (character-interaction-driven-fantasy-with-gay-characters. Felix from Sarah Monette's DoL series) to such an extent that I almost can't help but think that the authors MUST not have ever read it, because SURELY they cannot have been shameless enough to have KNOWINGLY copied so many points of a character.)With a plot that never (or not soon enough for me to see it) takes a direction and characters characterized/developed too clumsily to ever feel real enough to grip me, there wasn't much reason for me to keep reading this novel. While Havemercy may have gotten my hopes up since it was just a first novel and would surely lead to improvement, I think I'll wait to read these gals again till I hear from a reliable source that they've significantly improved. Still, if you like your male/male interaction focused fantasy (I don't THINK this one actually goes into outright romance ever), it's readable, if a bit aimless.
egelantier reviewed this
Rated 4/5
a sort of sideways sequel to havemercy, better written and better planned out: still bears it's slashfic roots proudly, still won't pass bechdell test for love or money, but also is immensely readable and enjoyable: i've devoured it in a day and wouldn't mind rereading some day. does the two storylines, four povs thing again: caius and alcibiades do the 'manic trixter and his straight man' thing and mamore with kouje go on sort of frodo-and-sam like loyalty quest (guess which one i loved more), and their lines all twist and turn together, and meanwhile the empire's fate gets decided. it's relationship rather than plot-driven, and watching them all spark off each other is pretty fascinating. caius with alcibiades' storyline unfolds more gracefully; mamoru with kouje's gets rushed and partially unresolved in the end, which is a great pity; it draws heavily on benkei and minamoto yoshimoto legend (to the point of cleverly namedropping it once, even), but sort of drops one of the crucial moments of it and forgets it without explanation. i also really loved the descriptions of ke-han the defeated empire, both from defeaters' and defeated sides, clash of customs and explanations, the way amorphous creepy enemy of the first book got humanized and given a face - this is one of the best strengths of the book, and it works well.
alera_6 reviewed this
Rated 4/5
Shadow Magic is a different kind of sequel. Rather than picking up where Havemercy left off, Shadow Magic takes us to the just defeated Ke-Han to show us how the people will attempt to reclaim their life, dignity, and custom while also striving to maintain the newly acquired peace they haven't had in well over a century. Along the way, a beloved prince will become exiled and forced to make an unlikely pact not to save himself but instead protect the country and people he loves, even while making a sacrifice of his own. Overall, a rather simple novel with a rather common story, but the narrative is engaging and oftentimes humorous. For someone familiar with the first novel, or someone with a love of witty dialogue, this novel does not disappoint.
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P. 1
Shadow Magic