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In Solitude's Shadow  By  cover art

In Solitude's Shadow

By: David Green,Eerie River Publishing
Narrated by: Ashley Griffin
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Publisher's Summary

The tides of fate are shifting.

The banished have returned, and they have set their eyes on the walls of solitude. Zanna Alpenwood, a powerful mage, and 200 aged and forgotten sparkers are all that stand between the banished and the nation of Haltveldt.

With time running out, Zanna is forced to reach out to her estranged daughter, Calene, and set her on an impossible quest. In doing so, Calene must decide between her masters and her own conscience as she teams up with unlikely allies to forge their way over land and sea. Will they arrive in time to save the fortress of solitude from destruction?

Only one thing is certain. Ruin is assured if solitude falls.

©2021 Eerie River Publishing (P)2022 Eerie River Publishing

What listeners say about In Solitude's Shadow

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

An Excellent Start to the Series!

The story moves at a pretty steady pace. I was constantly engaged by the action, and even the lulls were interesting. Green spends a lot of time building background to the world, but it didn’t feel tedious. I will admit that it read a little more like a prequel in some places, but that’s about all I can come up with for criticism and I don’t even know that this is necessarily a bad thing. It is the first book in the series so I suppose it is serving entirely to set up the series.

A lurking danger, a group of people called The Banished, appear to be making a reappearance in the remote, weakly guarded north. This brought to mind the understaffed Black Watch guarding the Wall as the host of Wilding’s attack. Meanwhile the rest of the Kingdom is busy committing genocide against the elves. This story features themes of tolerance in the midst of intolerance, as well as redemption and restoration. A broken relationship between a mother and a daughter, a regretful father who sent his child north to hide his mixed heritage, and restraint in the midst of suspicion. There’s something every reader can identify with on some level, which is why I think this story resonates with a lot of readers. Green finds modern topics and brings them to life within the exploratory sanctuary of the mind.

This is epic fantasy, so of course there’s magic. I would characterize the magic system as generally soft, with interesting nuances that I suspect will continue to expand as the series grows. We only catch a glimpse of what the Banished are capable of, but they appear to have retained some old tricks from before they were defeated thousands of years earlier.
Green did a great job in creating a compelling story that wraps up just one stage of the growing conflict. Readers will no doubt move right into the second book in the series to find out what happens next.

My only other qualm only applies to the audiobook only and that is the audio quality is not, in my opinion, professional grade. Ashley Griffin's narration itself was great and her voice is certainly audible. However, if listening with the volume all the way up, like from a phone, the background static is distinctly there. It’s not terrible, but it’s not supposed to be there and it can be a little distracting each time you begin listening until you become used to it. There were a few times when then the quality shifted between chapters as well. I recalled a transition to chapter 11 (I think) when the background noise noticeably increased. This all said, this issue didn’t affect my enjoyment of the story overall. I suspect this narrator didn’t have the right equipment or didn’t know how to adjust the recording settings, or mix it afterwards to remove this sound. All in all, it’s a noticeable but minor issue. If you’re an audio person, this is not significant enough of an problem to avoid listening to this book, which is a great story. Do not confuse quality of writing, with the quality of the recording.

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Not what I expected

I listened to this book, and it is totally not what I expected going in, although, I’m not certain what I did expect. It has all the things that epic fantasy should have: multiple races, war, a journey, and characters with deep and interwoven backstories. However, I really struggled to connect with the book for the first 5 hours of the 6h 18m-long book.

The perspective was really distant (farther away from the main characters than I prefer), and that made it hard for me to connect with Calene or Zara until the last 1/5 of the book. It felt more focused on all the things going on in the world rather than the connection with mother/daughter.

I have the same struggles when trying to get into Brandon Sanderson’s books, so I’m probably in the very small minority here. Perhaps listening wasn’t the best way to read this book.

Oh, and by the way, can we please minimize the substitute word for the f-bomb? Perhaps in reading with eyeballs it isn’t annoying, but in audio form, it was super annoying.

In the end, the way it came together brought my rating up quite a bit. And yes, that ending hits you right square in the gut.

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Intense

The story begins at the end of a battle with a magical race who's thirst for violence can never be satiated. After seemingly defeating one enemy they turn on their allies the elves. When the elves are nearly defeated they show signs they'll turn on themselves.
Mix in heavy topics including prejudice, and addiction, there's no letting up with the grim intensity in the story. I could only listen in small doses which makes me think I may not have been the ideal audience.
There are some fantastically gruesome scenes that are described incredibly and I think would make a good action movie. The shadow sparker being crushed by a horse will surely haunt my daydreams.
I listen through earbuds the narrator keeps the level of intensity throughout the entire narration but the room she recorded in sounds a bit hollow.
I was given a copy of this audiobook for free and this is my honest review.

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  • Cat
  • 06-10-22

An absolutely brilliant epic fantasy!

TL:DR - This was great! Loved it. And that ending?? 🤯🤯🤯

Honestly, though: Wow, In Solitude's Shadow had me hooked from the prologue and didn't let go even as the ending came. Now I'm left feeling like I've been cheated. I NEED MORE. But yes, I'll have to wait. Ugh! Anyway, maybe I should write this properly?

I won't rehash the blurb an awful lot, but Solitude is a fortress full of left-over good-for-nothing peeps and criminals, and the Banished come knocking on their door and threatens to invade. And we all know that never goes well! Lucky for us, we've got Celene, a magic user (or one gifted with the Spark), who sets off on a journey to Solitude, where she must reunite with her mother in order to save the realm.

In Solitude's Shadow is an absolutely brilliant epic fantasy, from the first page to the very last. The world-building is fabulous, the magic system fantastic, and the characters fleshed out, flawed, and authentic. The relationship (or lack thereof) between Celene and her mother is beautifully depicted, and I couldn't help but feel for both of them. And as to the rest? The action scenes are gory and harrowing, the pace is kept up throughout, and the stakes are sky-high! In case you missed it, I loved this book!

So, for any other epic fantasy fans out there - this one is for you. Just trust me on this.

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  • Omar Kooheji
  • 04-24-22

Wonderful world building can’t wait for book 2

Some really deep world building that evokes some of the greats. Characters that jump off the page and interesting power, good dark fantasy.

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  • Lana @ Lore & Lullabies
  • 06-15-22

I could not put this down

A Dark Epic Fantasy that I inhaled!!! All 270 pages of this book were fantastic and I need the rest of this series The Empire of Ruin now please!!

It's hard to summarise this story without either giving away the parts I loved about this or influencing how you see each of the 3 races. Let me then just say In Solitude's Shadow is well crafted and at times poetic in its prose, and leave you with these quotes:

"War fed more war. Evil nourished Evil"

"It's your choice. No one can force you, The spark is yours, and so are your decisions. Live by them"

These are not my favourite quotes but they are superb. You just have to read it. It's so good.

Told in multiple POVs each was unique, captivating and flawed. Just how I like 'em. The consequences of each action are very real and can not only affect the ones making the decisions but those around them too. YESSSSSSS!!!!
Though the magic is well fleshed out, I feel like Green has only scratched the surface of what is to come throughout this series and I can not wait.

Ashley Griffin did a superb job of the narration. Great characters and pace (I listen on 1.5x speed). There are a few times when fans or outside noise can be heard on the audio track but I doubt that would be heard if not listening loud on headphones and it really didn't bother me enough to take me out of the story.

Lovers of Dark Fantasy will love this (obvs) but it also has some grim elements to it as well that I loved. How Green packed such a punch in so few pages is insane. My mind is blown and I am shooketh