Saturday, July 4, 2015

A Dance of Cloaks (Shadowdance #1) by David Dalglish

17669067This review was written by: C
Received: Library
Publication Date of Book: October 2015
Pages: 448
Stars: 3.5/5

Summary of the Story:

"That is the power you must one day command. Let them think every breath of theirs is a gift, not from the gods, but from you. Do this, and you will become a god among them." ~Thren Felhorn, A Dance of Cloaks

Aaron Felhorn lives in a world filled with murder, mayhem, deceit, and darkness. His father, Thren Felhorn, is the most feared man alive. He is the greatest assassin his time has ever seen, and he commands most of Veldaren's underworld. He will stop at nothing to bring the Trifect, a group of filthy rich noblemen, from continuing their reign of wealth and control. He is utterly prepared to unite every thief guild under his command, and he is almost finished with turning his son into the perfect heir, a killer that the world will fear. However, even the greatest schemes never work out as planned.

Aaron must choose sides and decide whether he wants to become the head of his father's criminal empire that was built upon Thren's trail of rotting corpses or choose his own fate. He will learn that every action has its own consequence and that the paths of darkness and light are never quite clear. Aaron's fate will lead him down a road filled with harrowing obstacles, making him learn that redemption may be just out of reach.

My Thoughts:

First off, I have to say that Dalglish completely built a believable and stunning fantasy world fully equipped with its owns religion, systems of power, a stunning society, and a maniacal underworld. Thren and the various thief guilds actually kind of remind me of Assassin's Creed, especially when I first saw the cover of A Dance of Cloaks. The various thief guilds are pretty interesting, too because they are all  killing machines, but they often bicker, only fight for themselves, and are perfectly content with taking one another out to increase their power. Dalglish also formulated a great storyline. His characters were believable, and he gave each one of them interesting morals, perspectives, and skills.

I would have to say, however, that this book was not one of my top favorites mostly due to the fact that I felt that it took me a little too long to actually read it. Perhaps it was because I did not have a lot of time to read while I was tying to finish this book. This made it a bit frustrating to get very far in the story just in one sitting. I also felt that the beginning was a bit slow because it had to lead up to Aaron's current life, but Dalglish had to first establish a bit of Aaron's early childhood in order to establish this character as Thren's heir. 

I do have to commend Dalglish on his ability to write great fight scenes. Some authors have trouble writing action scenes.  They can often become confusing. Dalglish did fairly well with this aspect of the story, creating an in depth criminal underworld of blood and gore. I do have to warn you that this book is not for the lighthearted. It is filled with blood, guts, murder, and all the characteristics associated with struggles for power. Overall, I did enjoy the character of Aaron, but it took a while for him to grow on me. I definitely wish he had been older. This novel is meant for mature audiences, therefore I thought it was a bit strange that the main character was thirteen. But then again, this may have been done to stress the fact that a child could be a harrowing and deadly individual in a world of criminals. It also drew the audience to a character whose innocence had been lost at an extremely early age and who had been groomed to fill a position that he may not have truly desired to fill. 

Aaron had quite a bit of internal conflict. He committed murder before the age of ten and he was groomed to be a fierce assassin that would one day fill his father's shoes. You definitely end up feeling a deep sadness for a character that has a disastrous path chosen for him, especially when that character is only a child. I believe that I will eventually finish this series and am excited that Aaron is much older in the next book. Perhaps more dark themes will be further explored, and I am curious where David Dalglish will take Aaron's story.

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