Shadowbred: A fun read with plenty of suspense

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsfantasy book review Forgotten Realms The Twilight War Paul S. Kemp ShadowbredShadowbred by Paul S. Kemp

First off, I’d like to clarify one thing. I don’t really consider myself a Forgotten Realms reader (never mind my various Drizz’t books or the Shadows of the Spider Queen novels) so I don’t have a Master’s degree in the setting. Having said that, Shadowbred was an interesting read and starts out with a prologue that hooked me.

As for the rest of Shadowbred, Paul S. Kemp manages to juggle multiple points of view from both heroes and villains. What I find compelling is that several prominent characters are either true anti-heroes (not surprising for other genres but definitely surprising for D&D) or genuine villains. It’s good to be evil or simply practical and I haven’t enjoyed myself like this since the Shadows of the Spider Queen series (the last book in that series was also written by Kemp but I think his writing style there was muted for the sake of consistency with the other authors).

The main character, Erevis Cale, is clearly Kemp’s baby but, being new to this, I didn’t find anything too confusing for a new reader. There are enough flashbacks to give us a sense of the character and even to tickle my curiosity to read other FR novels. There are a few scenes though that are a tribute to his past so, if you’re an Erevis Cale fan, you definitely should check out this book, but as for me, having no previous rapport with the character, I didn’t find that the scenes were too out of the way.

Paul S.
Kemp’s writing style is clean — there’s nothing that remarkably defines it but there’s also nothing distracting about it. Overall Shadowbred is a fun read with plenty of suspense (especially since this is a book where the villains might actually win). I’m generally skeptical of the Forgotten Realms line (I was burned by the Dragonlance line) but if many of the books are written like this, I might reconsider.

FanLit thanks Charles Tan from Bibliophile Stalker for contributing this guest review.


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CHARLES TAN, one of our guest reviewers, is the owner of the blogs Bibliophile Stalker and Comic Quest. He also edits Philippine Speculative Fiction. You can read his fiction in that publication and in The Digest of Philippine Genre Stories. Charles has conducted interviews for The Nebula Awards and The Shirley Jackson Awards, as well as for online magazines such as SF Crowsnest and SFScope. He is a regular contributor to sites like SFF Audio and Comics Village.

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