Shadow’s Son – Jon Sprunk

About the book
In the holy city ofOthir, treachery and corruption lurk at the end of every street, just the placefor a freelance assassin with no loyalties and few scruples. 

Caim makes his living on the edge of a blade,but when a routine job goes south, he is thrust into the middle of an insidiousplot. Pitted against crooked lawmen, rival killers, and sorcery from the OtherSide, his only allies are Josephine, the socialite daughter of his last victim,and Kit, a guardian spirit no one else can see. 

But in this fight for his life, Caim only trustshis knives and his instincts, but they won’t be enough when his quest forjustice leads him from Othir’s hazardous back alleys to its shining corridorsof power. To unmask a conspiracy at the heart of the empire, he must claim hisbirthright as the Shadow’s Son

278pages (paperback)
Publishedon: June 8, 2010
Publishedby: Pyr
It’srare that I come across a fantasy book so full of cliché’s that the book itselfhas that “already been written a hundred times before” feel to it, and stillenjoyed the hell out of it. That’s a combination that just doesn’t existtogether…until now. Shadow’s Son isthe improbable mash-up of already used ideas set into a world that is much likeany other world with a protagonist who wears a hood on the cover of the book,like so many others. Yet somehow Sprunk has made this book an enjoyable,hard-to-put-down ride.
Cliché’sare cliché’s for a reason. They worked, and they have worked so many times theyturned into a cliché. So while Sprunk marches out fantasy trope after fantasytrope, he’s playing on what he knows has worked before, and he makes it workagain. While some readers may lament the fact that Sprunk colored carefullyinside the lines with Shadow’s Son,the amount of fun readers will have while devouring this book will probablyhelp them overlook that complaint.
Shadow’s Son is everything you’d expecta book with a cloaked figure holding knives on the cover to be. It focuses onCaim, an assassin with a mysterious past. Caim somehow accidentally falls into amajor political coup which he has to navigate. Mixed with this is a beautifulwoman who has a surprise of her own, an incredibly fast romantic connection andplenty of action. Furthermore, the antagonists are exactly what you’d expect.They are incredibly powerful with mysterious means of their own to make theirplans into a reality.
Nothingis really surprising. Most tried and true fantasy readers can probably outlinethe plot in their minds before they even crack the book. However, Sprunk’ssteady prose and compelling situations makes Shadow’s Son a whole lot of fun. Furthermore, the plot isincredibly quick moving. Something is always happening, propelling thecharacters forward and onward. Sprunk did a wonderful job at tightly weavinghis plot so there are no gaping holes, or dull moments. It’s a mixture ofSprunk’s writing and a quick plot that makes this book such a hit as well as myown soft spot for denizens of the night.
Despitehow fun Shadow’s Son is, there weresome faults with fairly surface level characters. Caim and Josey both stayedfirmly in their character roles as badass and cute-girl-in-trouble. This is theonly real spot I had a hard time with Sprunk firmly coloring inside the lines.The characters were pale compared to the runaway plot. I would have liked tosee a little more depth and risk with Sprunk’s development of Caim and Joseyand found it rather disappointing that the main protagonists didn’t hold acandle to the actual plot of the book, in fact, they are both forgettable.
Thatbeing said, Shadow’s Son is a fairlyshort book, which makes it a fast read. The length is actually perfect; anylonger and the book would have been too long for the story it contains. The shortlength makes this a quick, diversionary read. It’s fantasy-lite and that’sfine. This is a book you won’t have to think too much about. Shadow’s Son will grab you from thefirst page, and though it might not surprise you, or shock you too much, it’ll takeyou on one hell of a ride and leave you off wanting more.
Sprunkhas somehow managed to make every tired fantasy cliché into a book that doesn’tseem tired, or overdone at all. While there are issues, and I would haveenjoyed a bit more character depth and unique qualities to the book, Shadow’s Son was exactly what I needed:A quick, escapist fantasy read that reminds me why I enjoy this genre (andassassins) so much.

One Responses

  • Paul Weimer

    I agree with you in that I did think the Caim/Josey relationship in this book needed work.

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