What an honor to be one of the reviewers kicking off the Blackthorn Book Tours tour of Matthew S Cox’s doorstopper fantasy novel, Of Myth and Shadow.
About the book:
Aegaan is a vast and righteous kingdom, yet darkness gathers in the distant corners of the realm. Elven raids on small towns have inflamed racial tensions with humans, pushing distrust to hatred and the brink of war.
Anrael wanders the woods alone until a chance meeting tempts him to set aside his contempt for those who scorn his half-elven blood.
When Kylie, a naive elf terrified of humans, is thrust among them against her will, she begins to question her mother’s tales of dread.
Having lost everything dear to him, the bandit king Jhelan lives only to seek challenge in battle… until he finds himself willing to die protecting that which he hates the most.
The diabolical mystique of the dark elves cloaks L’an Thal’Sarain protection, but the cruelest lie she tells is to herself.
Thaelwyn, a virtuous knight, sets out to discover the source of the Elves’ aggression, but faces a much greater test within his mind.
Beneath the chaos, minions of the Destroyer search for their promised leader, a child possessing power beyond their years. If the innocent falls to darkness, a kingdom rife with hatred will surely crumble.
Elves, magic and knights! Oh my! There is a lot to love in this epic fantasy doorstopper.
Anrael, the half elf, forest elf, Sylanthi, Thaelwyn the Knight, Jhelan, the bandit king, L’an the dark elf, and a nine year old girl, all must face the darkness that threatens to overwhelm the kingdom of Aegaan.
I love fantasy, and much of this book brought me back to my teenage years reading the Dungeons & Dragons/Tolkienesque books of Margaret Weis and Tracy Hicks.
However, this is very much a book for adults, and the depictions of sex, and some of the political intrigue, put me more in mind of George R.R. Martin.
First and foremost, this is a Matthew S Cox book, and I wouldn’t need to see his name on the cover to recognize his writing. Strong characters, great world building and imaginative magic systems are some of the things I associate with this author, and they are all present in this book.
Another element that is in a lot of Cox’s books is the powerful child, and Of Myth and Shadow is no exception. Nine year old orphan Serelin is a wonderful addition to the book, and I very much enjoyed the parts with her character. The author excels at writing young girls, and once again he hit the mark for me with her.
I have read enough of his books to know that he focuses more on character than on plot, and this book is no exception. While the plot here is good, and I enjoyed reading about each character’s journey, I would have preferred a slightly stronger backbone for such a long novel. Also, some of the sexual situations were a bit much for me.
The good outweighed the bad, and I award Of Myth and Shadow…
About the Author:
Originally from South Amboy NJ, Matthew has been creating science fiction and fantasy worlds for most of his reasoning life. Since 1996, he has developed the “Divergent Fates” world in which Division Zero, Virtual Immortality, The Awakened Series, The Harmony Paradox, the Prophet of the Badlands series, and the Daughter of Mars series take place.
His books span adult, young-adult, and middle-grade fiction in multiple genres, predominantly science fiction, cyberpunk, post-apocalyptic, and fantasy.
Matthew is an avid gamer, a recovered WoW addict, developer of two custom tabletop RPG systems, and a fan of anime, British humour, and intellectual science fiction that questions the nature of humanity, reality, life, and what might happen after it.
He is also fond of cats, presently living with two: Loki and Dorian.
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