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Publisher's Summary

Tani’s world has never been peaceful. Torn between the many cultures that meet on the Chorhan Expanse, the greatest threat they now face is an expansionist army of monstrous nonhumans who call themselves the mansthein.

To take her place as a full warrior of her tribe, Tani must travel across the vast grasslands of the Chorhan Expanse. But she has her sights set higher than a mere ritual journey: She wants to uncover a solution to the impending war that threatens her people. 

Tani believes that peace may be possible, but there are others on both sides who believe in legends that tell of monsters with zealous devotion. All around her, warriors have their eyes on a glorious victory with no concern for the piles of bodies they'll create on the way.

She will be joined by a killer pretending to be a healer, a mansthein commander struggling with his orders, a thief who pawned her heart of gold, and a strategist exiled from a foreign land. But none of them are the Hero. 

It doesn't matter how many shades of gray might exist, some people see only in black and white. And the terrifying truth is that the stories they tell might not be just legends.

©2020 Sarah Lin (P)2020 Podium Audio

What listeners say about The Brightest Shadow

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Profile Image for Alli G
  • Alli G
  • 18-11-2020

Couldn't finish

I love epic fantasy. I'm a massive fan of Terry Goodkind, Robert Jordan, JRR Tolkien, George RR Martin, and Patrick Rothfuss because of their world building, their journey, their large cast of characters, and their build up to the story. From the book overview I though I was going to get this, alas I was mistaken.

This book has the potential of being amazing if it was given to the right editor. I listened to 10 hours of this 32 hour book and I can't tell you the plot or or the relevance of the characters or just the overall setting. I know they are in a desert city and that the people are being ruled by an invading race. That's about it. Oh, and there is a girl on her "long walk"?

Lin spends too much time ambiguously describing the races. I have no idea what they look like since she uses the other introduced races as a spring board for her descriptions. Every other paragraph is about the different races without political context or relevance to the undeciphered story.

Perhaps the most annoying feature of this audiobook is the 2 narrators. I love Evans and I like Naramore separately, but this was not a good coupling. if you are going to have two different narrators, it should only be done if they are telling it from two different character's POV's, not every time it's female it's told by Evans and every time it's male it's told by Naramore. I had no idea which character was thinking/talking half the time because of the constant need to change the narrator depending on the POV. Stick to one. Either would have been a good choice, but both make it messy.

I would not recommend this book.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Rictus
  • 09-01-2021

stunning.

where to begin. this book hand incredible world building, truly immensely amount of detail going into it, with no info dumps. the characters were well fleshed out, believable with real motivations and organic interactions. the characters were written in such a way that you are able to empathize easily with them. the prose and descriptions are great. the rising action/climax were incredible, holding attention and making so you dont want to walk away even for one second. it was hard to make myself stop listening to go to bed. normally I listen to books at 1.5x or greater speed but this on i listened to at regular speed to truly savor every moment of. the magic system was well developed, a good hard system style type of magic with no deus ex machina situations. I truly cannot say enough good of this book without spoiling any details of it. thoroughly enjoyable. the various plot points and individual characters storylines are immensely interesting.
the narrators performed great, good audio quality with great editing and no unnecessary sound effects or music

5 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Adam Skinner
  • Adam Skinner
  • 08-11-2020

DNF review - boring

I listened to this book for 13 hours before I decided I didn't want to listen to it anymore.

In part, it was due to the narration. Elizabeth Evans does decent voices, but her performance lack sufficient emotional follow through. Her reading was kind of wooden. I was excited to see that Mikael Naramore was doing this one as well, because I really enjoyed his performance in Black Ocean. However, this reading reminded me more of Michael Kramer than what I heard in Black Ocean.

As far as the actually book goes, it was pretty boring. I'd heard that Sarah Lin's Street Cultivation was good, but after reading this I'm not going to pursue that one. Part of the problem with the writing was foibles in word choices; part of it was boring cultivation / training and uninteresting POV characters.

But largely my problem was with the sense that I got that the author just really dislikes men in general. A lot of getting inside the head of one dimensional sleazy male characters, just to highlight how uncomfortable that makes the female protagonist feel.

That's not why I stopped reading though. I'm willing to listen to someone get up on their soap box every once in a while. But the story was just so boring. It reminded me of Stormlight without the redeeming qualities.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 01-11-2020

This is now the series I am most excited for.

Sarah Lin has solidified herself as my favorite author. As always her setting and cultures feel alive and I could get lost in them. The characters are each unique and fun. I am so excited to see the continuation of this series and I can't wait to hear more about it.

This is a great fusion of both classic epic fantasy and xianxia while still feeling unique.

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Bernard Dixon
  • Bernard Dixon
  • 31-10-2020

This is Worldbuilding at its Best

You’ve got to read this one if you are getting tired of the same common characters and magic systems! Like Sarah Lin’s other works, this book gives us some refreshing new characters and worlds that show truly original thinking. They are well rounded and we continue to learn more about them as they face different challenges. The interaction between different cultural groups, and ways power is perceived and used, is exceptional world building.


This isn’t a short story with a simplistic plot you will be able to quickly figure out. With over 32 hours of listening, and the well paced flow of the plot arcs, this book is definitely worth the money spent! For this book it is great there are two topnotch narrators. My favorite characters are Tani and Slaten. Elizabeth Evans is reading the POV of Tani, and Mikael Naramore reading the POV of Slaten. They both fill in the other characters and segments of the story so it flows smoothly.


We continue to get new insights about characters of various regions, which add to the richness of relationships. In going through the story the second time I am even more impressed with the way there isn’t fluff, and now I notice small things that I missed the first time. These show how thorough Sarah Lin is in planning out details and they all add to the novel’s themes.


I like the emphasis of these characters trying to understand the motivations of others before passing judgment, reacting quickly with violence, or acting unwisely. We learn different points of view and it isn’t always clear who the “good guys” and the “bad guys” are. The author skillfully layers the shades of gray, and I’m still trying to figure this out as the intrigue continues to build. Sarah Lin’s writing is exceptionally high quality. This is an enjoyable read that's worth it. The novel is well developed and executed!


5 people found this helpful

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  • Litrpg/cultivatiion Fan
  • 11-12-2020

Little to no cultivation

This is not a cultivation book.
It has No character development.
Street cultivation is SO much better

3 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-05-2021

i don't understand the narration

I have no idea why they chose to have two narrators and have them play all the characters. it makes the story impossible to get into because you're constantly wondering who is talking. I thought they were switching between chapters but sometimes it feels like they just change because they feel like it.

besides that the story just isn't interesting. I'm 24 hours in and I have no clue what they're trying to accomplish

2 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • pops
  • 19-03-2021

Author makes a good story hard to listen to

Author makes a good story hard to listen to with constant "f" words and other swearing. Story is jumbled and hard to follow. Quit half way through.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Zo Ozw
  • 19-02-2021

Amazing World Building

Loved the book and can't wait to hear more of this fascinating world and intriguing philosophy as these characters grow and define right and wrong for themselves and the consequences when they draw lines in the sand.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Molenir (Argent Wolf)
  • Molenir (Argent Wolf)
  • 10-11-2020

poor worldbuilding

why does no one seem concerned that monsters are invading other then an insane hero?


2 people found this helpful

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