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Review: Shadow Prowler, Alexey Pehov

The Nameless One is stirring, gathering huge armies that are going to threaten the city of Avendoom.  It’s up to Shadow Harold to stop them, because only he is talented enough to steal something which could change the course of history.  But first he has to thwart the demons he created out of his own curiosity, explore the forbidden interiors of his own city, and prepare to save everything he knows.

I so wanted to like Shadow Prowler!  I’ve seen positive reviews of it elsewhere and as I mentioned on Sunday, I’ve really been looking for the book that will make me crave epic fantasy like I used to.  Unfortunately, this book is not it.  I thought the story itself was fairly interesting.  I like epic quests to save the world.  In this case, it was the execution rather than the plot which really let me down.

First off, it takes so long for Harold to actually leave.  We learn about his mission and the issues in the first few pages of the book, so my summary isn’t giving anything away.  It opens well, with a theft in progress.  But after that the book just seems to drag painfully because it takes so long for him to get going on the quest.  By the time the little party set out, I already had lost interest and forgotten what happened in the beginning.

I also just plain didn’t like the way the story is told.  This is actually quite strange because initially I thought it felt very Russian and I liked that, just in the way Harold approached his life.  My appreciation diminished quickly because I got tired of the main character’s stupid jokes and info dumping.  Moreover, there was absolutely no build-up of suspense.  In short, it didn’t feel epic, even though it’s meant to be.  Nothing was serious even when Harold’s life was in danger.  I want to be moved, not roll my eyes.  I just never cared about what was happening.

I also had the nagging feeling that this book had been done before.  A hero quest is absolutely nothing new, the different races are nothing new, but I think it can be done in interesting and exciting ways.  Sadly not much about this book feels fresh.  I love that Russian fantasy is now being translated into English – I’ve had my eye on the Night Watch trilogy for a while now – but not if it’s just more of the same with a different attitude.

I honestly couldn’t tell you if I’ll continue to read this trilogy or not.  I did enjoy some of the flashbacks and I think the past and present could merge in interesting ways in the next couple of books.  But it will most definitely be a library choice, not a purchase.

I am an Amazon Associate. I received this book for free from the publisher for review.

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