Read the shadow of what was lost by James Islington Online


It has been twenty years since the end of the war. The dictatorial Augurs - once thought of almost as gods - were overthrown and wiped out during the conflict, their much-feared powers mysteriously failing them. Those who had ruled under them, men and women with a lesser ability known as the Gift, avoided the Augurs' fate only by submitting themselves to the rebellion's FoIt has been twenty years since the end of the war. The dictatorial Augurs - once thought of almost as gods - were overthrown and wiped out during the conflict, their much-feared powers mysteriously failing them. Those who had ruled under them, men and women with a lesser ability known as the Gift, avoided the Augurs' fate only by submitting themselves to the rebellion's Four Tenets. A representation of these laws is now written into the flesh of any who use the Gift, forcing those so marked into absolute obedience. As a student of the Gifted, Davian suffers the consequences of a war fought – and lost – before he was born. Despised by most beyond the school walls, he and those around him are all but prisoners as they attempt to learn control of the Gift. Worse, as Davian struggles with his lessons, he knows that there is further to fall if he cannot pass his final tests. But when Davian discovers he has the ability to wield the forbidden power of the Augurs, he sets into motion a chain of events that will change everything. To the north, an ancient enemy long thought defeated begins to stir. And to the west, a young man whose fate is intertwined with Davian’s wakes up in the forest, covered in blood and with no memory of who he is…...

Title : the shadow of what was lost
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 22915425
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 688 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

the shadow of what was lost Reviews

  • Melissa ♥ Dog Lover ♥ Martin
    2018-10-05 22:09

    Update: $2.99 on US Kindle today 9-23-17That was pretty awesome! I loved so many characters in this book! I can't even begin! I guess Davian, Asha and Wirr are at the top of my list but there are several others. This is a book about kids coming of age and having to take a trial to see if their Essence (magic) is good enough. If not then they turn you into something else. Dav is worried because he hasn't found his gift yet and he's afraid. Then all hell breaks loose and people are killed, tricked, lied to, going on journey's, teaming up with mass murderers (or where they) creepy things, and all kinds of this that and the other! I thought the author did an awesome job building up this world and all of the cray and the characters. And that ending!!!! I'm really liking this one character and they had to drop that on him! It bettre not continue on into something bad! You know how that goes though. Good thing I have the next book on pre-order. There is just so much going on in the book but it's not confusing, it's just too much for me to try to explain because I'm not too good with reviewing some epic fantasies. But, it's all good. I think people that love fantasy will enjoy this book and if you think you might not then pick it up from the library first. I took a chance and bought it awhile back and it was a good chance =) until next time . . .MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List

  • James LafayetteTivendale
    2018-09-30 22:19

    I received a review copy of The Shadow of What Was Lost in exchange for an honest review. I would like to thank James Islington and Orbit Books. To begin with, I really thought this was going to be a "run of the mill" chosen one in a magic school sort of fantasy adventure. Thankfully only about 5-10% takes place at said establishment and the rest embraced a pretty awesome and beautifully depicted fantasy world. It still gives off the "chosen one" vibe throughout but that trope doesn't bother me if it's done well. Following on from a previous war, magic-wielders are controlled by 4 tenets. 4 rules which limit their power and where and how it can be used. It took a while for me to really appreciate the main 3 characters, Davian, Wirr, and Asha. When I did though, I analysed how they were really well fleshed out especially as they are only in their mid to late teens. They are highly likeable and although they traverse tragic emotional directions throughout, they are a joy to follow. In Islington's debut, things do not always go as planned for anyone, especially the magic-wielding Gifted. There are many deaths, lots of battles, and stalking shadow-beings. There are two types of magic. Essence, which is from the Brandon Sanderson school of magic schemes and a more mysterious, banned art used by the Augurs. We find out more about this later on in the book as a main character learns it for himself. Islington acknowledges himself that he wrote this after reading the Mistborn series and similarities are evident but this isn't a parody or a carbon copy. It's one of my favourite epic fantasy series since The Stormlight Archives and The Faithful and The Fallen which speaks volumes! I'd say that a mix of those two juggernauts of fantasy reading is a good general depiction to describe Inslington's work. Characterisation is strong throughout and even though some individuals' motives are foggy at best it makes for a scintillating reading experience. Characters outside of the main 3 such as Caeden, a powerful young man whose memory has been wiped, Taeris, a scarred mage who has followed Davian's life closely, and Aelric, a fine swordsman really help to bolster the piece. We travel throughout a good proportion of the world and the cartographed map was really helpful to set my bearings straight to follow the action. At 693-pages this is a lengthy endeavour but I was never bored and in fact, I kept thinking about when I could go back to the story and read it next. This opening in the Licanius Trilogy was a pleasant surprise and I'm sure Islington will become one of fantasy's heavyweights. I'm keeping this review short and not divulging too much information regarding the plot as I don't wish to spoil anything. I will say that when certain characters get split up and then didn't even know whether their friends were still alive that I was gripping the book intensely, glaring down at the pages begging Islington that they will meet again. A book has succeeded for me when it has me that emotionally engaged and engrossed. This is a brilliant opening chapter in what will undoubtedly be a damn fine fantasy series. It's highly detailed, very well written, and although death and gore are frequent, it contains a bit more hope than most stories currently around in this 'grimdark-era' offer. The Shadow of What Was Lost is emotionally engaging and the characters are great to follow, support, threat over, and care about. Now that I've finished this review I can start reading An Echo of Things to Come... this series is that addictive that I just need to know what happens next.PS. I listened to part of this on Audiobook and must comment that Michael Kramer (The Stormlight Archives) does an amazing job.

  • Gavin
    2018-10-09 23:10

    The Shadow of What Was Lost was an excellent fantasy début and a great start to an exciting new fantasy trilogy. Reading this actually felt a lot like reading a Sanderson book with a little bit of Wheel of Time and X-Men thrown in for good measure. That might sound a little unoriginal but Islington really made it work and delivered an engaging and exciting epic fantasy story! The world building and the magic were both strong. There was two different types of magic. Regular Gifted and Augurs. The Augurs were once viewed as near Gods and their ability to read minds and predict the future saw them rule. Since the Augurs were low in numbers they used the regular Gifted to enforce their rule. That worked until the Augurs mysterious powers started to fail them and their decisions became erratic. The populace revolted against the magic users and the Augurs were wiped out and the Gifted bound by the Four Tenants and closely monitored by the new Administration. The story was engaging and exciting. It was mainly focused around a cast of younger characters in the style of old school traditional fantasy stories but it worked as the characters were an intriguing and mostly likeable bunch. The early focus was on Davian, a student of the Gifted, as he prepared for his final test to see if he was qualified to serve at one of the two remaining mage organisations or if his powers were to be forever bound against his use. From there the POV cast expanded to include a bunch of people we meet along the way. The most interesting of the characters was Caeden, a man accused of a horrific crime and who possesses strange abilities but who has no memories of his life beyond the time where he woke up at the scene of his crime. Like most traditional fantasy stories there was a looming evil presence. This was one in the form of a mythical evil sorcerer who's forces were supposedly bound beyond a magical barrier more than 2000 years in the distant past. It all sounds like typical traditional fantasy fare but Islington throws in enough twists and turns to keep things interesting plus he has an engaging writing style which keeps this one an exciting read from start to finish. I read in a friends review that the best compliment they could give Islington was that at times it was hard to forget that Sanderson did NOT actually write this one himself. I totally agree with that sentiment! All in all I loved this one and it is up there among the best fantasy débuts I've read in this last decade. Rating: 5 stars.Audio Note: The Sanderson and Jordan comparisons were only compounded by the fact that this one was also narrated by the excellent Michael Krammer. He gave a great performance and luckily we got a story to match his quality!

  • Eric Allen
    2018-10-14 01:19

    This book was recommended to me by Brandon Sanderson at the Firefight release party about a month or so ago while the two of us were mutually lamenting the fact that the Wheel of Time is now over, and, with Robert Jordan regrettably no longer amongst us, no hope of any more stories that take place within the same world. And so I went to Audible and found an audio version was up for preorder, and it just came out earlier this week. Read by Michael Kramer no less. That man can make even the most boring, mediocre schlock sound epic and interesting when he reads it. Anyway, the writing is a little amatuerish, and the characters are somewhat generic, but Michael Kramer tends to add his own little flair of personality to characters that sometimes seem a little lacking in it. Being that this is Islington's first published work, It's very easy to forgive it being a little rough around the edges. Especially since the story itself, and the world it takes place in are spectacularly put together. I really liked this one, despite any minor flaws it may have. You can really tell that the author was influenced by Robert Jordan, but not so far as it feels like a copy and paste like Peter Orullian's The Unremembered was. It's original enough that any similarities seem more like the homages they were meant to be, rather than outright plagiarism like you'd get with someone like Christopher Paolini. All in all, I think this was an excellent effort for an author's first published work, and though there's room for him to improve, it's the beginning of his career, so I can and will easily let him have a little slack, especially since the story was so enjoyable, and the worldbuilding pretty well done. I definitely recommend The Shadow of What Was Lost to any fans of epic fantasy.

  • Niki Hawkes - The Obsessive Bookseller
    2018-10-06 01:23

    [4.5 stars - Review of the first two books (spoiler free)] What started out as a seemingly straight-forward classic adventure fantasy quickly evolved into a complex story with countless dynamics and twists & turns. I ended up liking it ten times more than I thought I would – it’s easily one of the best I’ve read this year.I wouldn’t call this series an “easy” read, as it required more concentration than average, but it’s certainly worth the effort. I don’t pretend I always knew for certain what was going on when some of the time travel elements were introduced, but Islington quickly earned my trust in his ability to tell a good story and reveal things on a need-to-know basis. Instead of stressing about figuring things out, I finally just sat back and enjoyed the thought-provoking and entertaining ride.The setting shared similar elements with series such as Sword of Truth and the Stormlight Archives, but they were integrated in a way that felt fresh and original. What’s more, I feel as though the author has barely scratched the surface of what this world has to offer in these first two books. I’m always a sucker for such in-depth world building, so I’m cautiously optimistic the third will blow my mind. It’s not just the world building that makes it unique, but also the overall atmosphere. The power plays and dynamics between the heavy-hitters in this series set an almost tangible ominous overtone. It was fantastic.My only criticisms (which kept the overall rating from a solid five stars) are pretty nitpicky. The end of the first book had a lot of repetitive word choice that was noticeable enough to become distracting, and I think the pacing could have been a tad tighter. The second book had a bunch of flashback scenes which killed the momentum a bit. Even though the flashbacks usually advanced plot and built character, they made the book feel longer. However, what book two lacked in pacing it more than made up for with an absolutely killer ending. At this point I don’t think it’s fair we have to wait a year before the final book. ;PRecommendations: As the Licanius Trilogy is responsible for some of my favorite reading experiences of the year so far, I’d recommend it to any fantasy reader who isn’t afraid of a slow-burn plot with lots of dynamics. My recommendation is especially strong to those who love the feel of classic fantasy but want something a little more complex.Via The Obsessive Bookseller at Other books you might like:

  • Stefan Bach
    2018-09-29 23:04

    First comment I have heard about Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time series, specifically about its first book The Eye of the World was – Lord of the Rings rip-off. Considering that, by that time, I haven’t read books nor seen theatrical version of them, that was far from the answer I was looking for. In the meantime I have rectified my heretic ignorance, read and watched LotR and when finally time came for me to read Robert Jordan’s TWoT (which was last year) I dreaded that the series was already ruined for me when I remembered the comment above. Long story short – no, TWoT is not a LotR rip-off. It is influenced in certain parts of first book, but is far from it. So far that TWoT is now my third favorite series, where LotR is biting dust way behind it. Now, the first comment I have read about James Islington’s The Shadow of What Was Lost, first book in The Licanius Trilogy, was – The Wheel of Time rip-off.And I couldn’t have been more excited for it.This is James’s debut novel, and he isn’t shy showing in it how he was influenced by Robert Jordan. Two boys coming of age, Davian and Wirr, are students in Tol Athian school for Gifted (definitely a Rothfuss nod there), which is a safe haven for children with distinctive capability in tapping the Essence, source of all living things, and use it for channeling that life energy how they seem fit. Davian is not very good at it. Actually he hasn’t managed to channel his energy at all since he came in school, and if he doesn’t succeed in it before his graduation, they will block him out completely from the Essence and cast him out as a Shadow, a second rate citizens in this world.But on the night of his graduation destiny calls, and Davian, with his friend Wirr, has to leave on a quest and discover what is wrong with the prison that holds ancient evil from coming out and destroying the world. Everything just to avoid those finals...There are many other similarities with many other fantasy books (there’s even a nod to a Shardblade from Sanderson’s The Stormlight Archive series), which isn’t bad if you enjoyed all those books mentioned above. It’s practically an homage and love letter to all series James was influenced by.But, also there are many fresh ideas in it that aren’t in any other fantasy books. There’s a carefully built world, filled with ancient history, legends and myths and fantastically crafted magic system, with abundance of interesting characters and creatures in it.And that map:There are also interesting questions he raises about identity and redemption. ‘Every man who holds a sword in his hand, holds murder in his heart.’If you were stripped off of your memories, while lingering in the world as basically an empty vessel, should you be accounted for actions in your past? With no opportunity to redeem yourself? Since you have no memories of your actions, isn’t it a cruel thing to be punished and suffer the consequences for that person who isn't you anymore? But also, what about justice for those who were wronged by you? It’s complicated and provocative and I loved it for that.All in all, great ideas are inside of James’s mind, and I can’t wait to read them in sequels.

  • Jack +The Page Runner+
    2018-09-21 23:31

    A new Fantasy series that is being compared to the venerated, though highly divisive, Wheel Of Time series? What what! Sign me up please! I actually hadn't even heard about The Shadow Of What Was Lost until I saw it popping up on various feeds and getting pretty decent reviews here on Goodreads, and since my local book club was due for a Fantasy read, I made sure that this was the one we selected. We normally have a 2 week read cycle, but because this was over 700 pages, we decided to give ourselves a month of reading time before we discussed it.I finished it in less than a week...So yeah, I obviously enjoyed it. It's hard for me to really find time for a good solid read anymore, especially one as dense as this. And even having it on an e-reader still doesn't guarantee that I'll have enough time to truly "burn" through a book like I used to when I was younger. But somehow this one kept me firmly engaged, and I managed to find plenty of reading time. After trying my best to read outside of my traditional comfort zones for the first half of the year, it was nice to get back to a good, solid Fantasy tale. And what a tale this is! But, I guess the real question is: does the first entry in the Licanius Trilogy stand on the same pedestal as the peers it is being compared to, namely epics by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson?My personal answer to that is no, not quite. It does, however, come very close. And as a debut novel it is pretty damn solid, and very well thought out. But I can't in good conscience say that it is "my new favorite Fantasy series" as is being touted by other outlets. To be fair, folks who enjoyed WoT or Sanderson's various Fantasy series absolutely will find much to love with The Shadow Of What Was Lost. There's familiarity here, like slipping into well-worn slippers or a comfy t-shirt (which works both for AND against the story). The framework is such that you have a basic understanding of the whole, even if the rather numerous moving parts are slightly different than what you're used to. As befitting of a series with this much going on, The Shadow Of What Was Lost is a third person tale told from numerous viewpoints. This helps to provide a larger sense of scale, as the protagonists of the tale are generally not always in the same place, so we get to see events play out on a grand stage. And like I said before, much of it is familiar. We have the plucky, reluctant hero who has a power he shouldn't, his best friend who is harboring a rather large secret, a friend/love interest who has a much larger role to play than initially suspected, and an amnesiac cipher with his own strange abilities. That said, the characters themselves are interesting enough, and richly drawn enough, that they manage to remain compelling, and while the archetypes themselves aren't anything new, the way they are integrated into the tale keeps them unique. Well, almost...Ostensibly the "main" character, Davian is perhaps the one that suffers most from Fantasy deja-vu. We've seen this "chosen one" character before, and as such, of the four primary POV characters, he is probably the most familiar, which does tend to make his chapters less exciting. I liked him well enough, as he has some truly enjoyable "I can do what?!" moments as he discovers more about his abilities, and he had some genuine "grey area" moments that made him more than just a heroic "do gooder". While his heart is in the right place, I definitely sense that he's going to have some moments of conflict in the next two books. Still, he's a worthy and stalwart friend, and is a great surrogate for us readers as we, through him, learn more about the world he inhabits.Wirr, as the best friend, was actually more engaging for me. I liked his twist in the tale, and he was more of a realist than Davian. There is much "real world" weight on Wirr's shoulders, which ultimately made him more relatable. But for all the responsibility he was born into, he still has a roguish side that shines through sometimes. If Davian is the Rand of this tale, then Wirr would be Mat. My favorite part about Wirr though, and by extension Davian, is that their friendship never really wavered. Davian is struggling to understand the implications of all that is happening around him and his friends, while Wirr just wants to the right thing, even if that's not necessarily the most popular thing. But even if they have differing opinions, their friendship is always solid and dependable. Their early adventures are some of the most enjoyable passages of the whole book, and really helps cement their relationship.Caeden, as the amnesiac, is really best left alone for fear of spoilers. He had the least amount of page time of the main POC's, but certainly had as large a part to play as Davian. To be honest, I wasn't terribly invested in his struggle to regain his memories, as he was such a cipher that he wasn't terribly engaging. He has a few cool moments, but those get overshadowed by a lot of pages of "not knowing who I am or what I stand for" blandness. In fact, I had kinda written him off, but there's some shenanigans that happen near the end of the book that really impact his character, and his part to play in the ongoing drama. Nuff said there.By far my favorite character, and the one that also frustrated me due to lack of answers, was friend/love interest Asha. I think she's introduced in a way that tricks the reader into thinking they know how her character arc will go. And that was probably done deliberately. Because her part isn't something you see coming, which ultimately makes it that much more enjoyable. While Davian, Wirr, and Caeden have their moments of character growth and introspection, Asha truly has a definitive "arc" in this story, and is no longer the same person she was at the beginning of the tale. It's a believable progression, and makes her that much more compelling. However, there is a mystery around her character that doesn't get answered in this first book (that I noticed anyways) which was rather frustrating. In addition to a GREAT scene near the end of the book, Asha also gets some cool companions of her own to interact with that give the story that much more depth.Aside from the many POV characters, we get quite a supporting cast, which is where things get really interesting. Nearly half of the named people that our protagonists meet in this first book have their own agenda or role to play in the growing conflict, and their motivations aren't always clear. This is a source of some of the book's best drama, but also a lot of its frustrations as well. Since nearly everyone has their own secret motivations, and since those motivations don't always align with those of our heroes (or even the villains necessarily), it can get kind of confusing following all the move/counter-move subterfuge going on. Like one of the characters said in the recent Free Fire movie, "I forgot which side I'm on!". I felt that way several times throughout the book, as there was so much name dropping that I truly forgot who was who at times, including what side they were on (if they were even on an established side). Part of that might be debut novel inexperience, but I think an equal part of that is that there's just so many characters, and not necessarily enough time spent with them to help them stand out. But they are characters that you want to revisit, which keeps the enjoyment factor high.Another point of frustration is that we get a few side characters who get rather limited page time, but are more interesting than other characters who are around more. If these characters don't make appearances in the next two books, I'm going to be severely disappointed. Especially when it comes to Breshada and her named sword Whisper. You DON'T introduce a character like that, make her so badass and whatnot, only to have her never make a return. Come on Islington, I'm counting on you here...On the villain side, we have a range to choose from. There's the ultimate big bad, locked away in his sealed pris...errrr...behind a magical barrier. But the barrier is weakening, meaning his presence is seeping through, which does not bode well for our heroes. We also get varied villainy being performed by different factions that our protagonists face off against. Some of it is effective, some of it induces head scratching. And some were just plain "oh, ok, guess he's a bad guy too!" inclusions that came out of left field. If nothing else, our heroes certainly have to work for every little triumph, which does lend a sense of urgency and danger. Thankfully, the motivations of the villains are generally clearly defined and make sense, so we do get a good sense of why they are behaving as they are.So outside of characters, how does the book hold up? Honestly, mostly pretty well. The factions, politics, and religions of the world are generally detailed enough to make sense, though I never truly had enough detail to connect all the dots. I'm assuming more will be revealed in the next books, which is fine. I don't need EVERYTHING explained all at once. That said, it was hard for me to really get an idea of where things were in relation to each other. So yeah, a certain sense of scale is lacking. In WoT, Jordan made you feel the great distances involved, where here it's kind of nebulous. At least the reasoning behind the Gifted (aka Essence users) being persecuted is well explained. Still, using a device of great magic to subdue the magic users of the world seems...kinda silly. And kinda lazy.As for said magic, aka Essence, there's some nifty things that can be done with it, but I don't think the potential has really been tapped yet. The way it works is slightly vague, so I'm not entirely sure what can, and cannot, be done still. And there's another power outside of Essence that has even more potential. We do get some of that explained as well, but again, this book only scratches the surface. I have my suspicions that both of these will get more time to shine in the sequels. I truly hope so anyways. A good magic system can really help enhance a Fantasy novel, so here's to hoping that Essence and Kan (Khaaaaaaaaaaaaan!!!!!) get their due in books two and three.There were also a couple of inconsistencies that I hope get addressed going forward. There's some time travel elements in the book that seem to contradict themselves throughout the story, and I have a hard time with that. I'm assuming these will be cleared up as we progress...Sadly, for everything the book does right, it does an equal amount of things in a fashion that we are already used to. A mentor figure traveling with the heroes, with his/her own agenda, who knows more about the main character than said main character does about himself? Check. Evil quasi-sentient city that the heroes have no choice but to trek through, that ends up having a lasting impact on the story? Check. The majority of the fate changing/world altering heroes coming from the same location (school here, village in WoT)? Yep, you guessed it...check. So if you are looking for familiarity, you've come to the right book. And while familiarity can be a good thing, it also hindered this book a bit for me, as I had too many moments of "been there, done that". With any epic fantasy tale, there's going to be similarities, and I totally get that. However, I guess they were just TOO similar here for my liking. But it must be said that, quibbles aside, this is a very enjoyable read. And familiarity or no, to Mr. Islington's credit, there were a few minor twists and one MAJOR shocker near the end of the book that I certainly did not see coming. So kudos to him for taking the story in some truly unique directions as the book came to a close. While some of the initial mysteries were answered here, the book does a great job of establishing struggles and questions that need resolution in the sequel, while really setting the stage for the larger conflict that will connect all three books. I firmly expect book two to have a tighter narrative and a more focused progression, now that the exposition and stage setting has been accomplished. And now that he has some experience, I am sure that Mr. Islington will only grow as an author and storyteller. Was it perfect? No, but it was damn good. I will certainly be reading the sequel, An Echo Of Things To Come, when it comes out!

  • Steven
    2018-10-21 05:10

    I will dare to be the person who does not give this 4-5 starts and I honestly have no idea how this even comes close to that.It started when people began comparing this book to authors such as Brandon Sanderson, Brent Weeks, and Robert Jordan so that quickly grabbed my attention. Unfortunately, it does not even begin to come close to the standard those authors have set.I will admit that the book started off quite strong and had my hopes up, but I quickly noticed a problem particularly with the way people spoke. It seems all of the dialogue is written in the form of a giant soap opera where everyone must say "if thats ok with you..." or "if it's not too much trouble" whenever they ask a favor. This is ok one or two times, but it is constant and grows tiresome quickly. Yes, I understand that they want to make sure they are not being a nuisance, but that is only fit for times when life and death are not on the line.Trying to keep this as spoiler free as possible, there is a scene where the characters are literally running for their life and hiding out for a while thanks to a giant favor owed by a friend, yet the friend, knowing the urgency of the situation still asks them if he could have a meeting in private with the leader..."if it's not too much trouble." They are in way over their heads and could be killed at any minute, yet he wants to know if something as trivial as asking to speak in private is too much trouble?! PrioritiesFinally, there is the character of Wirr who is essentially the Mary Sue of this book. Good at everything, has knowledge of everything, and barely phased by anything. The main character, Davian, is honestly the most realistic of the bunch since he has no idea what he is doing and actually has character flaws. If Davian could be considered the most realistic, Asha is where the story actually is interesting and hence why I gave the book 2 stars instead of 1. She is the saving character of the book and I actually enjoyed the scenes where she took center stage.With that, my review is over and I hope people do not simply brush off my review as the crazy fool who does not appreciate good writing. I understand good writing and this was not it. In the meantime, I recommend The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson, The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, and The Black Prism by Brent Weeks if you want good writing.

  • Bradley
    2018-10-15 06:12

    This is definitely a must-have for all you epic fantasy fans. The build-up at the beginning is good and interesting and puts a lot of the focus on the intrigue and the social injustice, but once the action really begins, it's all beautiful sailing.So much happens and I can honestly say I love every step of it. We go from the humble beginnings to a truly epic arena in time, power, and action, and we dip our toes in all the great twists of time magic, memory magic, outright masterful draining of the soul-stuff, and to make it all near-perfection, I love all the characters to death.I got into this pretty hardcore. For me, it's just like reading the new epic Sanderson or Weeks. But then, I love the big action, big reveals, the blow-my-mind magics. :) This has it all. Great writing, great characters, and omg what the hell just happened! :)It's a lot of fun. I absolutely love all the questions it brings up and how I am so totally hooked as to where this is going to go. It's totally addictive. :)

  • ScottHitchcock
    2018-09-28 02:09

    If you're a WOT of LOTR fan who likes quests, dark lords and magical powers drawn from a source this is a series for you. I really liked the dubious nature of many of the main characters who were well developed and likeable with their faults. Audio book with Michael Kramer.......enough said. Looking forward to the release of book 2.

  • Mogsy (MMOGC)
    2018-10-07 23:33

    3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum I hear about an indie fantasy that makes the jump to a traditional publishing house, it always piques my curiosity and of course The Shadow of What Was Lost was no exception. Fast forward to the moment I finished reading the book, and I all I have to say is: I am impressed. This is James Islington’s first novel, and though that sometimes shows in the raw quality the writing, overall it is a solid series opener and I can certainly understand the reason for all the attention and praise.The first part of the story introduces us to an interesting lore-filled world. Two decades have passed since the Augurs were defeated and wiped out. These were powerful individuals with god-like abilities which they used to enslave the Gifted, other magic users who were forced to serve their stronger masters. The Gifted themselves were only spared retribution following the rebellion because they agreed to uphold the Four Tenets, promising to adhere to the rules which would keep their own powers in check.One of our main protagonists is a young Gifted named Davian who has always lived in the shadow of the war. He and his friends Wirr and Asha attend a school for those like them, a place where they are sheltered and trained to use their magic. However, even then they are in no way safe. At the end of their time at school, Gifteds are required to pass a final test to prove they can control their powers, and those that fail must face the lonely fate of being ostracized and forgotten—their memories and abilities wiped away. Now Davian’s final trial is fast approaching, and he still has not been able to master drawing on Essence, the element that fuels magic. Worse, he is beginning to suspect there is something wrong with his own gift, which sounds suspiciously like something that the Augurs used to wield.If anyone finds out about his secret, it could spell very bad news for Davian. But before his test could come to pass, he is visited in the dead of night by a mysterious newcomer, who gives our young hero a quest to undertake that could change his own fate and that of the world.Reminiscent of Wheel of Time? Definitely. At the same time, I didn’t get the sense that Islington was out to shake up the genre when he wrote this book, and in fact parts of it feel almost like a loving homage to the classic themes in epic fantasy. It was therefore no surprise when I went to the author’s bio and saw Robert Jordan listed among his influences. In a way, there’s actually something very refreshing about Islington’s straightforward approach as well as his unpresuming commitment to simply writing an enjoyable, down-to-earth character driven story. While I read a lot of epic fantasy and it’s always nice to come across something completely new and unique, at the same time I also have no problems with getting a dash of the classic quest narrative, as long as I know that’s what I’m in for.Many reviews have also made comparisons to Brandon Sanderson, and his name also came to my mind while reading, though probably not in the way you would expect. Islington’s writing, especially the stark play-by-play style of his action sequences, reminds me of early Sanderson, around his original Mistborn trilogy era. The prose is simple but polished, and the characters that range from the reluctant hero to the royal son in hiding are relatively archetypal, but still sincere in their motives and purposes. The page count probably could have been pared down, it’s true, particular in the middle sections where pacing dragged a little. To the book’s credit though, the story eventually evolves into a more nuanced, politically and magically layered narrative. The plot overall might be on the predictable side, but there will still be plenty of surprises along the way to keep things interesting for the reader.Like I said, The Shadow of What Was Lost isn’t out to revolutionize epic fantasy, but nevertheless it is an engaging read and a series-opener that starts off on the right foot. The story and characters might come across a little clichéd at the beginning, but from what I’ve seen so far, both aspects have the potential to grow into something more. I have a feeling we’ll be seeing even better things in the sequel, which I’m now looking forward to with great excitement and anticipation.

  • Nick
    2018-10-12 06:32

    Full review forthcoming

  • TS Chan
    2018-10-04 02:30

    This is a pretty impressive debut that shows a lot of promise for the rest of trilogy to come. The influences of Robert Jordan and (a bit of) Brandon Sanderson are quite apparent in this book as well. I don't criticize the lack of originality just for the sake of it if it's well executed. In this case, James Islington spun an interesting yarn that kept me engaged throughout so full credit to him. The pacing of the book was decent, with the world-building aspect and exposition thereof handled pretty well. I really liked how the Prologue suddenly made sense towards the end of the Epilogue. That was an "OMG - I knew it, didn't I?!" moment The book almost reads like YA because of the age of the characters - Davian, Wirr, Asha and Caedan - and the relatively simpler style of writing. But it stops there in that there are no silly YA tropes. What really kept it from being amazing is that some of the main characters felt flat to me. So while the story kept me thoroughly engaged, I didn't feel thoroughly invested in the characters, except for Taeris and Caedan. Looking forward to the 2nd book, An Echo Of Things To Come, although I might wait for news on the final book to come out first.

  • A Bald Mage** Steve
    2018-10-06 01:16

    A Bald Mage Review.. Bald Mage Rating of 9/10“This knowledge will let you use Licanius for your purpose-but know this, too, Tal’kamar. What you are about to face is only the first strike, the first few drops of a torrent. A storm.”Fantasy is a hard genre to write for to keep it fresh with new ideas. I find when I read fantasy novels it always starts with kids at a school or village who are gifted in some way and get noticed by someone important, then they are sent on a journey that is full of tricks and monsters but they have to succeed or the world as they know it, is doomed to exist!! And lets say from the start this novel is no different!So why did I give it 9/10 you wonder?For a full review see my blog happy reading!!!

  • Chloe
    2018-09-26 22:26

    4.5! That was such an impressively constructed first book in a heroic fantasy trilogy, and it felt very reminiscent of Sanderson, so if you're looking for something along those lines, I highly recommend this!The only real flaw I picked up was that the writing style could be a tiny bit simple and repetitive at times, but this is something that will improve with more books, and it didn't hinder my experience at all. There's also a lack of diversity but again, that never tends to stop my enjoyment of a book - it'd just get extra love from me if it was more diverse. I loved the plot and the multiple points of view. It followed each storyline and brought them together really well, and there were some genuinely awesome twists and turns! Especially that one at the end! I loved all of the characters and the world-building. I'd like to see more about what makes the world itself unique as it's pretty standard for a high fantasy, but the magic system is really cool and interesting.While aspects of this world are complex, the writing made it easy to follow everything. I will be continuing the trilogy!

  • Hasham Rasool
    2018-10-11 04:18

    This book is recommended for anyone who is:Fan of Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson.Fan of 'The Wheel of Time'.Looking for a coming of age fantasy tale with likeable characters and strong worldbuilding.I feel like I am reading Brandon Sanderson's book. It is a lot like Sanderson's books. It is just a bit like The Wheel of Time because of the quest.This book is awesome! It is a good start for Islington. This is the first book that James Islington has written.If anyone wants to read this book then my advice is don't lift your expectations higher.

  • Aristea
    2018-10-10 22:06

    This book was just made for me - especially the second half and I cannot wait to dive into book #2 immediately. Dark lord: check.Quest(s): check.Cool magic system(s): check.Characters with layers of morality: check.Just an impressive debut. I cannot believe I waited so long to read the book.

  • L.L.
    2018-09-30 02:17

    WOW. WOW. WOW.This book is amaaaaaaaaaaaaaaazing!!!When I first started reading this (as a buddy read, which made it all the more enjoyable), I had planned to read the first five chapters. I practically inhaled them, and there was no way I was going to stop there. I carried on reading until literally it got so late that I would not wake up for work if I didn’t go to bed there and then. I was so annoyed that I had to sleep and I couldn’t continue with this incredible story!Our main protagonist, Davian, instantly clicked with me. He’s an underdog, he’s rushing towards a pretty much life or death deadline with no idea how he’ll pass the test expected of him (despite him getting on well with his peers and elders, there’s nothing they can do to help if he fails), and I don’t know… I just really got on with him. I could understand his struggle (not that I’ve ever attended a school for the Gifted, goddammit) and the very real way in which he approached problems and challenges and his sense of right and wrong. Really, really liked Dav.The next two main characters we’re introduced to are his friends in this school – we have Wirr, his best friend, and Ashalia, who he harbours feelings for. At this point you might yawn and think, “been there, read this, I know what to expect.” Let me stop you right there. Judge a book on its own merit. These characters go off in ways you wouldn’t expect. Their arcs and growth are incredible. It’s no spoiler to say they’re all split up not too far into things, and none of them disappear into the background.Each character meets various people, travels to various places, and encounters the layers of world-building and politicking that you wouldn’t expect for a “magic school” start. It’s amazing. Dav was my favourite throughout, and Wirr had some incredible twists to his development, but I probably enjoyed Asha’s storyline the most. She is not going to sit by the side waiting for her romantic interest to turn up. She does things. She learns. She grows. She goes through incredible pain. In fact, they all do.I ADORE character-driven stories. I can forego a boring plot or confusing settings as long as the characters have strength and depth to carry everything across. The Shadow of What Was Lost delivers on that. And I haven’t even mentioned Caeden yet!Caeden is the fourth main POV – an older character who is suffering from the terrifying affects of amnesia. He wakes up in a forest, covered in blood, with no recollection of who he is, where he is, or how he came to be there. What’s worse, he’s accused of more than murder – the butchering of an entire village in cold blood. He can’t remember whether it even happened, much less whether he’s responsible. So begins his story as his and Dav’s paths merge and grow.Read the rest of the review on my website:

  • Olivia
    2018-10-15 01:31

    RTC. This was an amazing read.

  • Mark Harrison
    2018-10-13 00:19

    Great story. There are a good number of characters that you are never quite sure of their true allegiances and an interesting magic system, well drawn world building and a lot of blood shed and betrayal. The writer gripped me from page one and held on tight until a wonderfully unexpected ending that sets up the rest of the series. Really enjoyed this and would recommend to all. He is not Sanderson, he is not Jordan but he tells a good tale.

  • Kaitlin
    2018-10-16 22:13

    Okay so I finished this book yesterday and I had so many feelings with this that I needed a bit of time to un-jumble. This book is one I have owned for years and yet I hadn't got around to reading it until just now. I definitely am glad I finally did find the time however as it's just so filled with magic, adventure and quests (three of my favourite fantasy troupes) that I knew I was in for a good one from the get-go.We follow a world where there are three types of magical people. We have the Gifted, Shadows and Augurs (although many people believe Augurs are no longer around). These three types of people are all linked by the magic they use which is Essence (although later we find out about another type too) and this is drawn from sources in the environment around them.The Gifted once ruled over the land and had complete control over non-gifted, but this was tyrannical and so the Tenents were created to bind the magic of the Gifted so they cannot use it to harm others and must obey non-gifted. This restriction rankled with a lot of the gifted, so it causes unrest between the groups.Shadows are people who were gifted but who have their powers taken once they fail the tests. This group is much smaller than the Gifted group but they have their own agendas which you start to realise as the story goes on.The main three characters we follow are Davian, Weir and Ashe. Davian is a stereotype young adventurer who has not yet unlocked his powers although he is supposed to be Gifted. He's scared becuase the tests are coming up and he is worried he'll not pass them and may become a Shadow (not very desirable) so when he meets an Elder in town mysteriously and learns that there may yet be hope, he decides to go on an adventure.Weir is a student at the school where Ashe and Davian are and the three of them are good friends. Weir has a secret backstory which no-one really knows, even his friends, becuase he needs to keep it hidden for the good of everyone. His past is slowly revealed through the book and you begin to learn that there's also more to him than meets the eye. Ashe is female and she's left behind whilst the boys go on the adventure but this just means she can have her own adventures. With the other two assumed lost/dead she starts to uncover some of the secrets of the Council, North Warden and Administration. All very important and later on very influential to the plot.The influences of Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson are clear through this entire book from the magic to the world but I will say there's a lot less rambling description and the pacing here works really well. I think if you like Brandon Sanderson or Jordan's stuff then you'll more than likely also really enjoy this and I am eagerly awaiting the next book being released (hopefully soon!?) On the whole a great debut with so much potential and a LOT of wonderful surprises throughout. One I would highly recommend. 4.5*s!

  • Zach Langenkamp
    2018-10-15 22:13

    Before reading this book, I read a number of reviews comparing Islington to the likes of Sanderson and Jordan. I understand the comparisons, but don't be fooled into thinking Islington can't stand on his own - this novel, the first in a planned trilogy, brings a depth of world building I've rarely encountered in a new author (or any author for that matter). And he spins a darn good yarn as well - there were a lot of "just five more minute" moments reading this one."Epic" is highly overused these days, but it does accurately describe the scope of Islington's world, which is deep and rich in back story that is continually hinted at throughout the book. I am hugely influenced by Jordan's Wheel of Time, and I see the same level of commitment to realizing a fully fleshed out world before even starting the story here with Islington. I can't wait to read the rest of the trilogy just to find about the world the characters inhabit and its history.But as I said, fortunately the author can tell a great story in addition to building a great world. The pace was nice and quick, never getting too bogged down, and I identified well with all the characters. Caedan's character in particular is a great twist on familiar archetypes - I can't wait to see how he develops in the next few books.All in all, a hearty "well done sir" to Islington. Hopefully he will follow in Jordan's footsteps on the pace of his writing (and not Rothfuss).

  • Roy
    2018-10-12 04:21

    A solid 1st outing in that epic fantasy style. If you like that old school epic fantasy in the vein of Jordan, Goodkind, with a twist of Sanderson, Hogan, you have Islingtons debut. Interesting and well thought out world, with the Augurs, the gift and the essence. Well fleshed out main young characters which provides for future novels, some room for character growth. Some twists I honestly didnt see coming. However at stages the writing was a little tiresome and to a certain degree waffle city. Some of the dialogue was too heavy in the info dumps but I still enjoyed it to a certain level. Finished a pretty cool ending, with some of the character threads. Not sure I'll give the 2nd book a shot ag this stage, as they are all massive bricks to read. Not a bad book by any means, I've just read much better fantasy with this style/method.

  • Caroline
    2018-10-21 02:04

    AS a big fantasy fan I'd been really looking forward to reading this book. Debut novel recommended for fans of Brandon Sanderson? And it's an Aussie author? I AM IN!! I had fairly high hopes going in and I've gotta say it did not disappoint. This is like your typical high fantasy with some Wheel of Time thrown in.This story takes place in a world where there are two kinds of magic users- more common Gifted and the Augurs, who are thought to be gone. Our main character Davian is at a school for the Gifted but struggling to use his powers at all when it is revealed that he is an Augur. This sets a whole bunch of stuff in motion; he and his best friend Wirr leave the school on an important secret quest as a dark enemy to the North stirs. Stuff gets exciting!What I really enjoyed about this book was the world. It was interesting and rich and felt very real. The magic system was super cool and the descriptions of it and the way that magic just kind of... flowed throughout the world were really well done. I enjoyed getting to see different parts of the country as Wirr and Davian travel; bits of world building were doled out sensibly in moments like this, there were never huge dumps of information but it was woven into the story in very manageable chunks. There are definitely still questions I want answered about the wider world and how things fit together but there's room for that in the next book so I'm not too upset.I listened to a lot of the audiobook when I was driving and would read the physical copy when at home. Michael Kramer was an excellent narrator for this story and helped a lot with the characterisation of everyone. It's one of my small complaints but at the beginning of the book I found Davian and Wirr and Caedan to all be a bit... same same. Hearing different voices for them helped me to separate them in my head. They definitely grew on me as the story went and I ended up VERY invested in what was happening to them. Actually, now that I'm thinking about it, I enjoyed all the characters! I found some of the 'villainous characters' to be a little too transparent and obvious but all the good guys who we get perspectives chapters for were interesting and I loved reading about them and seeing them develop throughout the book. The characters were complex and had some interesting struggles as the book went- they grieved and had to overcome adversity (quite typical of fantasy) but what I really enjoyed were the struggles they had regarding power, morality and fate. It was very interesting and well done!I think the pacing in this book was quite good as well. There were some moments that felt a little slow but there was enough happening with the characters to keep things interesting. Towards the end when things started to get intense I was struggling to put the book down; I was piecing things together at the same speed as the characters which was really exciting and fun.I definitely have a few small complaints though. Although I enjoyed the writing and the world building there were moments where this read quite a lot like a debut; certain things were spoonfed to the reader a little bit too much. I don't think I would've noticed if I wasn't listening to the audiobook but it was things like 'He gave a terse nod to show his acknowledgement" or "biting his fingernails, a nervous habit" and I was like... well yeah you could just say 'gave a terse nod' because by default they show acknowledgement. And no one bites fingernails for pleasure. I also would've liked a bit more explanation about the war that led to the Tenets being written. It gets referred to a lot and we learn bits about it but I feel like there's much more to it that's important and I wanna knowwwww!Overall this was a really great debut! I've already got the second book on audible ready to listen to in my car and I AM EXCITED!

  • Emily
    2018-10-05 22:20

    The Shadow of What Was Lost by James Islington *****4.5*****The Shadow of What Was Lost was a book in the style of Brandon Sanderson, epic, paced and thoroughly enjoyable. It also helped that I was listening to the audio version narrated by the wonderful Michael Kraemer, which made the book feel even more like Sanderson.The reason I docked half a star (and the reason this review will be a shorter one) was of my own doing. It took me a while to listen to this book, and I wasn't able to do so everyday, so often when I picked it up again it took me a little while to get back into it and remember all of the details of the intricate story going on. Which, to be honest made it a little hard to enjoy fully. I can appreciate however, the intricacies behind this story and know that if I had listened to it everyday and been able to keep all of the details straight in my mind it likely would have been a 5 star read.The plot was engaging, and I found the magic system unique. I have not encountered its like anywhere else yet. There were some minor similarities to other magics I have read about but overall the use of and means of controlling the gift were unique. The political divisions and different peoples were so well thought out and placed throughout the story. It's truly going to be an epic tale. I had minor issues with a few of the names sounding similar to each other (compounded by the fact that I didn't read it everyday). And I felt some of the characters could have had slightly more development, but seeing as their are two books to go I will forgive this (also it was pretty minor).The book has a large scope and enjoyable characters. I'm hoping to read it again and possibly give a more detailed review next time around. And the ending has a reveal that I did not see coming. I'm very curious to see how that develops in the next book.Highly recommended!

  • Mario
    2018-10-13 04:10

    What an impressive debut!My rating would be about a 4.5. I looked to this book as reviewers made comparisons to Sanderson, which(heck yeah!) was somewhat right with the characters and the socio-political aspects of the culturally embedded magic system. Other comparisons were made to Patrick Rothfuss' work, but I didn't really see that.The story is captivating and Islington drops in enough twists that the reader is profoundly engaged, and some serious interest, story-wise, is already set for the next book, the next part of the story. Plus I believe I'm going to try to get the trilogy, in hardback if possible, just to have those covers side by side.I've grown rather stingy when it comes to awarding 5 stars but this comes close.

  • Heidi
    2018-10-07 02:21

    I don't really write reviews, but I feel compelled to write one for this book. The basic components of this story are fascinating. Truly. In outline form, I can see it work. There are clear Jordan and Rothfuss influences in this book (and probably Sanderson too, though the only books of his I've read are the last few WoT books he wrote with Jordan).But the book itself was not very good, to put it plainly. It could have been such an excellent read, except the author was unable to weave all of the components together to make it compelling. The characters were not engaging. The places were nondescript. They traveled everywhere but I still have no idea what their world looks like. The scenes themselves were often unrealistic. This book could have been so much more. I get so disappointed when a fantastic story ends up ruined due to bad storytelling.This isn't to say that I won't finish the trilogy. I haven't decided on that yet. But I just couldn't bring myself to give this even 3 stars, despite the story's promise. Here's hoping that the author's next round will have a more developed telling of the story.

  • Kitvaria Sarene
    2018-10-03 00:14

    I stumbled across this, as it was number one in audible fantasy downloads.Since I do love me some fantasy audio books, I bought it without looking up reviews or anything and just started listening.And I really didn't regret it! I did love this story! I'd never have guessed that it's a selfpublished book. Actually I couldn't believe that I couldn't order a physical copy in Germany...It has great characters, a compelling story, an interesting world and is really well written. I got sucked right in, and before i knew it I was looking for the second one, only to realise there isn't one yet.It reminded me a lot of the first "wheel of time" book. Not the plot per se, but the writing style and the "feeling" of the book.I can really wholeheartedly recommend this one! (And if you need another reason - it's also really affordable at 2,99€)

  • Ryan
    2018-10-04 04:20

    The Good:Intrigue! Mysteries and secret machinations abound in this more or less contemporary technothriller with fantasy costumes and makeup. The scope is epic and the setting feels vast and highly detailed. There are some very good reveals throughout.The Bad:Like so many YA stories set in premodern fantasy worlds, the principle characters don’t ring true – they feel like modern kids playing a video game, right down to the magic system.'Friends' character the protagonist is most like:Davian is smart and riddled with angst, like Ross.

  • Justyna
    2018-10-20 00:13

    DNF at about 65%, I am not going to rate it, cause it wouldn't be fair since I didn't finish the book.Not very impressive or original story, not much logic or rules when it comes to magic, a lot of kids as main characters...I tried, but I felt almost nothing while reading this, so I am not going to continue.