Stands a Shadow (Heart of the World #2) ★★★☆☆

Stands A ShadowThis review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Stands a Shadow
Series: Heart of the World #2
Author: Col Buchanan
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Flintlock Fantasy
Pages: 481
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

The Empire of Mann begins it conquest of the Free Isles. The Empress goes along because she is pissed off about her son dying. The real ruler of Mann, an old magician, sends along a Mannian “Diplomat” (code for assassin) named Che to make sure the Empress never runs from battle or acts like a coward. He also sends along 2 other Diplomats to take care of the first Diplomat once his job is done.

The military leader of the Free Isles goes against all expectations and leads an army into the field to confront the Mannian host. Using even more unexpected tactics, his goal is to slay the Empress and stall the army until winter sets in. The Empress is killed by the Diplomat for trying to run from the fight and the Mannian army is divided as the general and a noble vie for control. The leader of the Free Isles succumbs to the pressures he’s been under and has a heart attack.

Che realizes his life is over since he killed the Empress and begins a running fight with the other 2 Diplomats. He survives and hooks up with a girl from the Free Isles and is trying to start over. He accidentally reveals that he is from Mann and the girl turns him into the authorities.

Meanwhile, Ash, the Farlander from the previous book, is trying to assassinate the Empress himself. He finds out that Che is an ex-Roshun and has betrayed the Roshun and that they are destroyed. The book ends with Ash asking the surviving Roshun to fight the Empire of Mann while he goes on a quest to bring his dead apprentice back to life.

 

My Thoughts:

If you divide this book up into 100 parts, not even 1 part would be “magic”. It’s definitely Flintlock fantasy, but the magic is so under utilized that I really hesitated to even call it “Fantasy”. It is also very bleak and borders on the Grimdark.

It was written well and at no point was I jarred out of the story. That being said, I also never wanted to “read more” if I had to stop for bedtime or something else.

However, I won’t be continuing this series for the following reasons. The nobles of Mann regularly partake in orgies of sex and drugs and while nothing is graphic, there are enough objectionable things mentioned that I want nothing to do with it. “Magicless” fantasy doesn’t do it for me. Bleak doesn’t do it for me. In general, the whole world and all the characters just leave me feeling very blasé. Blase doesn’t do it for me either, in case you were wondering. Add in the fact that it took me 3 years to even search out the sequel to Farlander and that tells me something too.

Now I just have to decide what to replace this series with on my kindle. I’ve got the Caverns & Creatures series by Robert Bevan or the Dead Enders trilogy by Mike Resnick. Decisions, decisions.

★★★☆☆

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

 

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23 thoughts on “Stands a Shadow (Heart of the World #2) ★★★☆☆

  1. Flintlock fantasy, thats a new term for me🤔

    Liked by 1 person

  2. savageddt says:

    I dont think I will be a flintlock fan anytime soon…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ah, I can certainly see why this was not your cup of tea. I always struggle with fantasy that fails to incorporate magic throughout. And given the other issues, I would probably retire it as this point also.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My only experience with flintlock fantasy so far has been with Brian McClellan’s works, and I strongly suspect other works and authors might not reach the same level….

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Totally fair enough that bleak doesn’t do it for you. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Nicole says:

    Flintlock fantasy sounds like it could be fun, but magic-less fantasy most definitely does NOT. Great review, and I look forward to seeing what you read next!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ve always thought guns and magic were an odd mix, but you know.. Brian McClellan proved me wrong and I know it’s do’able. Hopefully you stop picking up the bad ones before you decide to never touch them, including the good ones! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  8. bkfrgr says:

    Hmmm, I had Farlander on my TBR … not any more. No magic? No read! Thank you for lightening the load! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bookstooge says:

      There might have been a tiny bit if someone wanted to nit-pick, but if you have to SEARCH for an instance of magic in a fantasy book, then yeah, that is a failure!

      Glad I could help. I’d make some snarky comment usually about how my life is now fulfilled and I can leave this mortal coil fulfilled, but I still have a post to write for this evening, so I need to save as much snarkiness as I can for that 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  9. bkfrgr says:

    Atta boy. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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