Blog Tour – Riven Realm: The First of Shadows

Title: The First of Shadows

Author: Deck Matthews

Series: Riven Realm

3 stars

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I received a free ebook copy from the Author Via The Write Reads in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

From Goodreads:

*How do you kill a shadow?

As a raging storm descends on the Blasted Coast, the crippled young rigger, Caleb Rusk, meets a stranger on the road. Little does he know that the encounter will pull him into a conflict that threatens everything he holds dear—and change the course of his life forever.

Meanwhile, in the Capital of Taralius, a string of inexplicable deaths have captured the attention of the Ember Throne. Second Corporal Avendor Tarcoth is tasked with uncovering the truth behind a danger that could threaten the very fabric of the Realm.*

My Thoughts

Oh this has me so torn. I both really enjoyed this book and was utterly confused in equal measures and I think this is due to one very important factor. It is trying to do too much in too small a space. The First of Shadows is best described as a High Fantasy Novella, its 140 pages long. The whole trilogy is comprised of novellas and makes up 496 pages in total. Usually the works High Fantasy and Novella don’t mix as it means as a reader we get an overwhelming amount of information with little to no time to process it and put it into context.

I do love that this we are thrown right into the action right from the beginning and the worldbuilding and magic systems seem so complex and detailed the problem is we are not given pause as readers to process that detail. There are a lot of characters and perspective shifts and I found myself a bit lost at the start of every chapter going "oh ok new person! who are they?, What do they do? What is X? Have we heard about Y?". I had to ignore a lot of terminology the writer had created with regards to the magic system just to get to the plot as very little had an explanation for us.

When I eventually got into the chapter I adored the story line. There are two/possibly three amazing threads running through the book that really captured my interest, But again they would switch very quickly and I would be lost again until I figured out who we were following and what there role was. These could have easily been broken down into separate stories and more worldbuilding introduced as I really get a feeling it is there behind the scenes we just didn’t get to experience it.

Overall, there was enough interest in the story for me to want to continue on with the other two, hopefully to find answers for my questions. Caleb’s story seems interesting enough, but for me the murder mystery in the capitol held so much intrigue and I would really like to see how that resolves and how it intertwines with Caleb in the end. I just dont see it being a 5 star read as it just doens’t have the room to flesh out the worldbuilding, magic system and character arcs.

I would love to chat all things bookish with you! You can comment down below or find me on Twitter or Goodreads!

Happy Reading!

5 thoughts on “Blog Tour – Riven Realm: The First of Shadows

  1. Great post! The First of Shadows sounds like a good read and one that should be on my TBR but I’m a little worried as in fantasy I love a good bit of world building.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve noticed a bit of a trend where authors introduce a lot without explanation, with the intent to come back to it later of flesh it out more as they go, but it just leaves readers confused for the first like 5 to 10 chapters. I’m not sure why, but I keep picking up books with similar momentum issues. It sounds interesting, but I may have to skip out on this one.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I remember this book!
    I reviewed it a long time ago (last year I think) and I had the same mixed feeling.
    I felt really uncomfortable writing the review because, at that time, it was very well-liked and I was so confused with the amount the information the author crammed in such a short book (for a high fantasy) and multiple POVs.
    I felt compelled to give a high rating because the plot was good and very entertaining, the world-building was also pretty good (I liked the idea of airships in a somewhat medieval setting) and I assumed I wasn’t well-read enough to grasp everything the book was throwing at me 😅. Also, not being a native speaker didn’t help.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I totally think it’s a great book that just didn’t fully release its potential. The author just didn’t give the reader time to play in this world they had built. I didn’t actually figure out they were airships until we were half way through a flight as we really didn’t get to explore. I really loved the world and wanted to explore. The plot is great too, the author just curtailed themselves with such a short length. Which is a shame.


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