The Shadow of What Was Lost by James Islington

As destiny calls, a journey begins.

It has been twenty years since the godlike Augurs were overthrown and killed. Now, those who once served them — the Gifted — are spared only because they have accepted the rebellion’s Four Tenets, vastly limiting their powers.

As a Gifted, Davian suffers the consequences of a war lost before he was even born. He and others like him are despised. But when Davian discovers he wields the forbidden power of the Augurs, he and his friends Wirr and Asha set into motion a chain of events that will change everything.

To the west, a young man whose fate is intertwined with Davian’s wakes up in the forest, covered in blood and with no memory of who he is…

And in the far north, an ancient enemy long thought defeated begins to stir. (taken from Amazon)

                     I could honestly boil my thoughts on this book down to one word: “amazing.” This book has everything I like in a fantasy (except for dragons). I immediately became engrossed in the story, enough so that I bought the sequel about halfway through reading this first installment.

The world is fully developed, and the history is fascinating. There used to be people known as augers, who wielded extreme magical abilities. They- and their allies, known as “gifted”- were defeated before the book opens. Throughout the book, the fallout from that defeat, as well as the changes in laws and how they affect the world, often comes into play.

Davian finds out he has the (now forbidden) powers of an auger. He is given a talisman, and told to follow it to learn how to use those abilities. His best friend, Wirr, goes with him. They learn that Devaed, an ancient enemy, has been marshaling his armies, and is prepared to bring war and destruction down upon everyone.

From there, things become complicated. Stakes are raised, new friends, (as well as new enemies) are introduced. Sometimes the enemies are confused with friends. Not everyone is who they say they are, and several characters have hidden agendas. I loved every moment of intrigue, every revelation, and every sword thrust. It was epic.

All of the characters were fantastic, but two really stood out to me. I loved Wirr. He was complicated and smart, and he thought ahead. He was an intriguing character because of his ability to look at the bigger picture. I also loved Caedan. He’s the very definition of a conflicted character. He has no memories, and has been accused of a horrific crime. He can’t say with certainty that he is innocent, and I adored that about him. I am a huge fan of complicated characters, and his storyline was excellent.

Another great thing about this book is that not everything was wrapped into a neat little package by the end of the book. I’m desperate to dive into the sequel and see what happens next. There are so many things that were only hinted at, and I’m curious to see how they play out. I have theories, but I could be dead wrong. I was completely off about one of the characters in this book, which was excellent. Usually I can see things coming a mile away, but this caught me off guard.

Basically, this book is incredible. If you like fantasy at all, read this book as soon as humanly possible.

Have you read this? What did you think?

14 thoughts on “The Shadow of What Was Lost by James Islington

  1. I’ve been side-eyeing this book for a while now trying to decide if I wanted to read it or not, but your review makes it sound so amazing! Definitely adding it to my TBR now (even if it doesn’t have dragons … dang). Looking forward to picking this one up. Thanks for the review!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hallo, Hallo,…

    You’ve definitely convinced me to fetch this via my library this year! 🙂 I love Quest Fantasy and this one feels a lot like that kind of world-building. Especially as one of the characters has amnesia! Those are the more interesting characters to follow – are they good, bad or somewhere in the gray area? Do they redeem their past or rectify it or are they the victim in the whole affair? Good fodder, I can tell! Plus, I always loved stories like these where you are thrust into a world on the fringes of sorting itself out. Thanks for giving me then nudge to notice this trilogy!

    What were your favourite aspects in regard the magic and elements of what rooted the fantastical into the background? I was curious about that!?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I liked that, while the magic was there, the laws regarding its usage make it very difficult to use it in any way. I also liked that it wasn’t an abracadabra type of magic. It was very much inherent in the world, and felt as natural as any other part of the story development.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. This is the best I have come across, too, where magic is innate and inherited; either through the environment, the order of life / species or by inheritance.

        Just sorted out my local library is purchasing *this!* book!! I am thrilled as I already submitted nearly my full queue for January; I’m in 2nd position to receive it, too! Isn’t that wicked!? I’ll have to let you know how I get on with it after it arrives.. which could be this month or next, depending.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. This is good to know – I love confident wordsmiths especially in SpecFic as that endeavours me to trust them a bit more… ooh! Better news: my library is purchasing the WHOLE trilogy! Should we do a buddy read of this!? I know I need to catch-up to you, but I meant after? For books 2 & 3?

        Liked by 1 person

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