Where the Shadows Beckon by Gillian Grant
Reviewed by GGGinny
What I drank: There’s this place nearby that makes a blackberry sour that’s really delightful. I downed a few of those while hanging out with some friends and boy am I feeling good.
Get ready for the journey of a lifetime in the first book of an all-new, captivating fantasy series from thrilling debut author Gillian Grant.
As a hunter, Evren Hanali of Orenlion has probably seen it all and done even more, even though she likes to fade into the background. She prefers a solitary existence, doing the jobs she’s commissioned for and not much else. But fate has other plans. It seems she has a destiny—one she is only beginning to unravel. And unlikely companions and exotic places are only the beginning of her journey.
When circumstances beyond her control—and gravity—send her plummeting to what she fears may be her death, walking away unscathed opens a world of possibilities. Somehow, she becomes the leader of a motley crew of allies with a shared mission. Only it’s not clear what anyone’s end goal is, and trust is hard-earned. Still, the merry band of adventurers finds solace and friendship along the way—not to mention dangers galore.
In the instance of the Yawning Deep, as above is not as below. Add magic and mayhem to the mix, and Evren has the fight of her life on her hands. When one hard-fought win leads to revelations of lies, deceit, and murder, Evren and company must be willing to fight for what they believe—and each other.
Or die trying.
Drunk Overview: Evren is a hunter (i.e. a tracker for hire) and she ends up going on a quest to find, capture, and return a criminal to Dirn Dahrahl. This group heads into the depths to recover the bad guy and deals with a whole bunch of stuff including a giant worm (a la Dune), some crazy people, other crazy things…
Drunk Thoughts: This book straight up reads like a dnd campaign and I say that as a good thing.
- The list of characters are well balanced (i.e. high intelligence/charisma, strength, agility, etc).
- But with such a large cast of characters it was a bit difficult to give enough attention to each person.
- Obviously, Evren is the main point of view, which means she’s understandable, but there’s a number of other characters that get a bit of a short shift.
- A good part of this book also reads like a dnd campaign.
- The plot makes sense, in that you have a quest with a few different sidequests that take you away from your main goal.
- There is a point, though, where the book moves from typical campaign stuff to more of a story, and that’s the point wehre the political machinations come into play.
- I know I talk a lot about how I’m not the biggest fan of political machinations, but I really enjoyed this because of how out of the loop other people were too.
- Also, I feel like the foreshadowing was light enough that it makes sense I didn’t pick up on it (there’s a thin line between being blown away by a twist, and feeling dumb for not picking up on what the author was putting down).
- I wouldn’t necessarily say this book is doing anything new, but I really did enjoy reading this book.
- There were a few hints in the book about what may be coming (this is no spoiler, but I straight up want Gyda – a barbarian – and Evren to get together.
- This book also has a really interesting perspective on magic. I really enjoyed the explanations on howt the different magics work.
- There is one thing in the middle of the book that feels like a deus ex machina (or hand of god), where it didn’t really feel like it was built up all that much.
- But this is also the kind of series where I didn’t mind hand-waving it away.
- I will say, there were also a few character connections that felt deeper than they needed to be. I’m also being vague because it’s kind of spoiler-y, but it felt a little bit unfounded.
- That being said, I really enjoyed the interplay of different plotlines in this book.
- The ending, which I’m not going to say too much about, felt a bit rushed… this isn’t a spoiler, but there’s a big fight, and again, I didn’t really feel the weight of it. The party was so big, and trying to keep track of what so many people were doing didn’t really fit with the speed at which things were happening…
- Like I said, I enjoyed the story, and I plan on keeping up with future books.
- But as I was reading this, it felt more like a tv show than it did a book. With such a large cast, i think the impact would be more obvious in a visual medium.
What it Pairs With: Mulled Wine
Rating: 3.5/5 – a fun read, but could use a little more building.