Tuesday, 28 February 2012

(Review) Greatshadow - Dragon Apocalypse #1 by James Maxey

Release date: February 2nd 2012
Publisher: Solaris
Page count: 363
Genre(s): Fantasy
Buy it: Amazon/Book Depository
Add it on: Goodreads
Rating: 4.5/5

The warrior woman known as Infidel is legendary for her superhuman strength and skin tough as chain mail. She's made few friends during her career as a sword-for-hire, and many powerful enemies. Following the death of her closest companion, Infidel finds herself weary of life as a mercenary and sets her eyes on one final prize that will allow her to live out the rest of her days in luxury, the priceless treasure trove of Greatshadow.

Greatshadow is the primal dragon of fire. His malign intelligence spies upon mankind through every flickering candle, patiently waiting to devour victims careless with even the smallest flame. The Church of the Book has assembled a team of twelve battle-hardened adventurers to slay the dragon once and for all. But tensions run high between the leaders of the quest who view the mission as a holy duty and the super-powered mercenaries who add power to their ranks, who dream only of Greatshadow's vast wealth. If the warriors fail to slay the beast, will they doom mankind to death by fire?

Greatshadow is the first book in an exciting new adventure series from a master of dragon fantasy.

Synopsis from Goodreads

(I won this book through Goodreads First Reads.)

I'm really happy I won this book, as honestly, it probably would have taken me forever to get round to it otherwise. That would have been a shame, as I really enjoyed this! From the cover and description, I was expecting an epic, high-fantasy novel. This wasn't what I got, but I'm actually kind of glad. Instead, this was a fun, quirky fantasy that separated itself from the norm. I haven't read any Terry Pratchett (shame on me) but from what I know, I'd say this book is in the same vein. Original, humorous, sometimes crude and silly but filled to the brim with likable characters and non-stop adventure. From the very first page, this was a joy to read. There were enough typical fantasy elements to satisfy me, and lots of original new ideas and creatures. I LOVED the world building. James Maxey did a brilliant job at creating a whole new world that was vivid in my mind and really fleshed out. He tells you more about the world and characters gradually throughout the book. No page long info dumps that made me want to fall asleep here!

The story of the book was so much fun. It could have ended up being a typical quest, but the cast of weird and wonderful characters and all the original ideas kept it fresh and exciting. I was so excited to read this when I learnt there'd be Dragons. They were one of my favourite aspects of the book. Dragons are amazing anyway, but James Maxey gave them his own creative spin and their lore was great. I also loved learning about the history of the different characters. They were such a mixed bunch, and I liked them all. Even the characters who weren't particularly likable at face value had some facet to their personality that made them interesting. I don't want to spoil anything about the characters as part of the fun is being introduced to them, but I will say Infidel, our leading lady, is great. She's strong and totally bad ass, but deceptively sweet and vulnerable. She is definite friend material. I only wish her looks weren't emphasised so much throughout the book, making her a bit of a male fantasy at times. Why can't she be awesome without being stunning as well?

I thought Maxey's writing style was great. Fluid and descriptive, perfect for the story. He's really good at writing dialogue as well. The conversations between characters had me totally sucked in. I must say though, I found the humour could fall a little flat at times. There were a lot of moments that had me chuckling internally, or smiling to myself, but not actually laughing out loud. Sometimes it could border a little on cheesy, but not enough to annoy me. There were times I wished the book would take itself a little more seriously, but overall, I enjoyed the tone.

I'd highly recommend this book to fantasy lovers who don't mind a little silliness, especially dragon fans. I'm counting down the days until the sequel. I give this a 4.5/5.

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