Today is my stop on the blog tour for ‘Rising shadows’ by Phillip Blackwater organised by Storytellers on Tour, which is the first in the Pillar of Creation series. I hope that you will check out the book and the author, and enjoy the rest of the tour with the schedule in the banner below or (HERE). There is also a chance to win a copy for yourself at the bottom of the post!
*Disclaimer: ‘I was given a copy this book in exchange for an honest review, all views are my own.’*
As tension rises between the southern and northern nations of the small continent of Exitium in the world of Anteris, the Elves turn to their eastern neighbors, the Humans, for help. They wish to learn the ways of combat, which they are not accustomed to, for they have always wielded a power far greater than forged steel. The Shards of Creation, mystical artifacts of great and virtually infinite power, have always been their prized weapon, but times have changed. They now face the same threat as the Humans: the southern nation known as the Ethula.
Wariel Ritch, general of the Human army, will take upon his shoulders this burden. But when a shadow of a past long forgotten threatens what little stability is left in the world, he will have to leave everything behind to stop it. Medregal Tergrast, an Ethulan king, dead for a thousand years, plans his return to the world of the living to gain back his former glory and finally fulfill his destiny by gaining control of the Shards of Creation. But is he really the threat people make him out to be?
In the meantime, in the bowels of the Human Kingdom, the reign of Dana Crystaloak is put into jeopardy when people around her start questioning her decisions. If she falls, war could break out across all lands.
It wasn’t until I got into this book that I realised how long it had been since I’d read something that was more along the lines of ‘classic’ epic fantasy, with some of the traditional races such as Elves and Dwarves, and a quest, and it has made for a nice change of pace. Especially as it was set within the boundaries of a well-developed world (and there are maps at the beginning, so immediate extra bonus point… I can’t help it; I love maps and I am that person that will flick back to look at maps as we learn more about a world), which took those more traditional features and forged them into something different, with a unique magic system and an excellent cast of characters.
I always enjoy books that have multiple POVs, because I like the different viewpoints and experiences that we get, and that was no different here. Blackwater does an excellent job, not just of establishing the POV characters as individuals with unique voices and motivations, but of using the different POVs to develop the various sides of the narrative, allowing us to see both sides of the line so to speak and get a feel for the different cultures and peoples. This helps build the tension, but it also means that in most cases (the bloodthirsty acolytes might be an exception), we can understand and connect with the motivations of all parties, which pulls you further into what was happening. This was particularly evident in the political intrigue aspect of the story, where we could understand the Queen’s position and her motivations and goals, and what any threat to her could mean for the peace, but also, we could understand and emphasise with those moving against her, and for me, that is something that always helps to raise the stakes.
While the political side of the narrative is a clear example of how well thought out and developed the story is, this is evident throughout the book, both in terms of the quest and developing storylines, and in the worldbuilding. We got to learn a fair amount about the world, both the cultures and peoples, as well as the history and magic. And the magic system is fantastic, from the shards to what we learn about it as the book continues, and it is certainly something that would be easy to be spoiled and was a delight to read about, so all I will say here is that if you like magic, especially that with rules, then you will enjoy this. What I also like, is that we got a lot of the world, but it still feels as though we’ve just scraped the surface, and I look forward to seeing the world unfold in future books.
While the plot is well thought out, and the world is well-developed, this is very much a character-driven story, with a wide-ranging cast that each brought something very different to the narrative. I think that Medregal Tergrast was probably my favourite, as the moment he was introduced I found myself sitting up and wanting to know more. I particularly like how he bridges the past and present, as well as the contrast between himself and the acolytes who brought him back, it was interesting to see that they weren’t necessarily on the same wavelength despite the connection they had. I also enjoyed the party that gathered with Wariel – the first POV character we meet – as they’re an interesting group, with a variety of dynamics that added considerably to the story, and I would say the Faceless Reaper was my favourite of them and I really want to know more about her as we go forward.
The story is well-paced, with action from the start that is balanced with character moments, and Blackwater takes the time to let us get to know the characters and the locations as we encounter them. There were one or two places, particularly as we got into the political storyline that slowed the pace a little because more information was needed to establish that part, but it was laying the foundation for a storyline that will come to fruition. Some of the language choices did throw me off, with some more modern phrasing slipping in that didn’t entirely meld with the setting, which broke the immersion in a couple of places. However, beyond that I found the writing style to have a good flow, and it certainly swept me up with the story.
Overall, Rising Shadows is a fantastic debut and first entry in a new series, with all the elements of epic fantasy that you could possibly want, in a well-realised world. I look forward to where this series goes from here, with the second book currently projected for 2022 I believe.
About the Author:
I am a fan of fiction, mostly fantasy, sci-fi, and post-apocalyptic (amongst others), and in all its forms, whether it is books, video games, movies, or tv-shows.
The first time I truly realized how much I loved fiction, was through The Lord of the Rings’ movies (like probably a lot of people). Since then, I traveled to so many different worlds: Halo, Mass Effect, Warcraft, Elder Scrolls, Witcher, and Fallout (to only name a few). It made me want to explore my own imagination and see what worlds I could create. This is what led me to writing.
What can you expect from my books? I don’t bother myself trying to be a flowery writer. What I want when people read my books, is for them to have good time and some fun. This is what truly matters to me.
When I’m not writing, I am: A husband. A father of three cats. Reading, gaming, or watching movies and tv shows. A big hockey fan. And when I’m done with all of that, I’m a big geek and collect a lot of stuff (No, I’m not a hoarder, I swear!).
Prize:Rising Shadows by Phillip Blackwater – One (1) of five (5) ebooks
Starts: February 14th, 2021 at 12:00am EST
Ends: February 21st, 2021 at 11:59pm EST
Your can enter here:a Rafflecopter giveaway https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js
If you’ve read it, or read it in the future, please feel free to shout at me about this fantastic book.