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Publisher's Summary

It has been 20 years since the end of the war. The dictatorial Augurs - once thought of almost as gods - were overthrown and wiped out during the conflict, their much-feared powers mysteriously failing them. Those who had ruled under them, men and women with a lesser ability known as the Gift, avoided the Augurs' fate only by submitting themselves to the rebellion's Four Tenets.

A representation of these laws is now written into the flesh of any who use the Gift, forcing those so marked into absolute obedience. As a student of the Gifted, Davian suffers the consequences of a war fought - and lost - before he was born. Despised by most beyond the school walls, he and those around him are all but prisoners as they attempt to learn control of the Gift. Worse, as Davian struggles with his lessons, he knows that there is further to fall if he cannot pass his final tests. But when Davian discovers he has the ability to wield the forbidden power of the Augurs, he sets into motion a chain of events that will change everything.

To the north, an ancient enemy long thought defeated begins to stir. And 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...

©2014 James Islington (P)2015 Podium Publishing

Critic Reviews

"Robert Jordan fans should check this out!" (Pop Bop, Top 500 Amazon Reviewer)

What listeners say about The Shadow of What Was Lost

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

heckin good boiiieeee

I was looking for something to listen to/read to hold me over till oathbreaker comes out. In all of the lists if things people recommended while waiting for oathbreaker this book was either not mentioned or so little mentioned It didn't stick. it has some wheel of time vibes. It's well written and was a joy to listen to.

30 people found this helpful

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A great start for a Series (I want more)

What did you like most about The Shadow of What Was Lost?

A very believable story involving youngsters (I'm 84 but my kids tell me I've never grown up)
Some nice Hi Faluting Psuedo-Hi-Sci

Who was your favorite character and why?

Blaes, or Blase, I see myself in this character

Have you listened to any of Michael Kramer’s other performances? How does this one compare?

No, but I'm wanting to see more of this series

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The shadowing of Asher

Any additional comments?

I just loved the story, its characters, and the action....gimme more!

21 people found this helpful

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A story that grows

The story is not a genre I would normally read but as it was on special I thought I would give it a go.
The book started off slow for me and the readers voice took some getting use to but , as the story line unfolded and the characters became familiar, the story grew on me. As the book drew to its conclusion I thought to myself " where is book 2 I need it now"

7 people found this helpful

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Ignore the narrative style at the start

This is a great story, after reading the reviews I was hesitant to buy. After listening to the sample of the first chapter the narration grated on me to the point that I didn't buy this audiobook, sounding like some cheap 90's trailer voiceover. But thankfully after purchasing and getting past that first chapter the narration improved immensely. That or I grew accustomed to it and the story was great enough for it to not matter.

12 people found this helpful

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disappointed

The good: the magic system works: there's enough detail to connect with, yet still vague enough not to trip alarm bells in my scientifically trained mind. Positive female characters. The narrator has a wonderful repertoire of accents, cadences and pitches to easily distinguish characters from each other.

The bad: The emotional responses of the characters are way off the mark. Dialogues are often forced, e.g: too many words in high stress scenarios. Some scenes feel set up and pointless, and are obviously placed to be followed up - signs of a cut and paste job to fix plot holes after the first edit, but never worked into the story properly. It all feels like a teen bubble, where the significance of the actions and opinions of the teen characters are unrealistically inflated. The narrator makes everything sound melodramatic.

7 people found this helpful

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Highly recommended

Good book all round, characters are easy to follow and has a good narrator. Looking forward to the second book.

7 people found this helpful

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Unfulfilled potential

Book one a good start, but book 2 is very hard going, didn’t finish, not enjoyable.

2 people found this helpful

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Brilliant storytelling

Author fantastic in weaving a great story and characters. I could really feel their confusion, sadness and loss. It took a while to get into the narrators voice, he was outstanding but grating at the same time.

2 people found this helpful

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Not a favourite

This book seemed too YA to me and I didn't love it. In fact, I didn't even bother getting the next book in the trilogy as I just didn't care enough about the characters or the story to see what happens next. Michael Kramer as the narrator was wonderful, he is probably my favourite narrator at the moment. But the story itself just felt very formulaic and I don't think that character development was there - I just didn't care about them. The story wasn't terrible, but overall...sorry, this one was a miss for me.

1 person found this helpful

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Difficult narrator

Unfortunately the narrators performance made this book really difficult to get into for me.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Dave
  • 30-11-2018

Maybe a fun read for someone younger

I think the author probably thinks he's written a clever story with lots of twists and turns, and a big reveal at the end. I'm sorry to say the plot is actually quite incoherent, the characters are not interesting, their dialogue is stilted, the descriptions of their thoughts, feelings, and reactions are blunt and obvious, leaving little to the readers discretion or imagination. The magic is not interesting, the plot is incoherent and terrible. Michael Kramer does a fine job reading, but that's pretty much irrelevant given what he's reading.

As a fan of NOTW, WoT, LOTR, HP, and many other fantasy series, the high volume of positive reader reviews this book has received had me very excited. I'm very disappointed, and can only conclude that this book mostly appeals to teenagers and big fans of YA who don't particularly need strong character development to be entertained, and who don't care about reading (or listening to) terrible dialogue and prose. If those things aren't important to you, then maybe you won't mind reading this book.

267 people found this helpful

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  • Captain Spanky Of Nazareth
  • 10-06-2020

Atrocious. Almost abusive.

There are 2 major deal-breaker violations at play in this author-audience relationship. There are a decent few recording and really distracting grammar errors, but I'm not talking about those.

First and foremost: This series is structurally far more complex than the 'landmark high-complexity' series in this genre (such as Stormlight Archive, etc). Meaning, you are given several times as many character names with vital roles and locations along with their geography, power, & political mechanics to memorize... which is FINE... when well written. - These are by far the worst presented complexities I've ever seen in a successful series. - You don't know what anybody looks like, no reason to care what their names are, no demarkation of any kind by which to remember them amidst the pool of 100 other 5-random-syllable names. - That alone makes the series functionally useless as an audiobook. In text at least you can see the letters of the names pop out for visual recognition. In audio, it's just random streams of meaningless syllables since you were never given reason to invest in or care about the vast majority of vital-role characters.

When you launch your aspirations for complexity this high, you inherit a massive obligation to clarity that simple stories do not carry. You are responsible for introducing cultural differences and landmarks in ways that matter and instill memory like the cultural introductions in LOTR or the landmark histories in Riyeria... not to murmur them once in passing then refer back to dozens of them endlessly as if we were all computers taking dictation.

For the record, The Emperor's Blades is a trilogy in exactly this space that involves nearly the same number of characters, with different names, cultures, religions, continents, and magic systems, and nails clarity perfectly. Go there. The author did the actual story work. You'll LOVE IT. It can be done, and it's nothing short of amazing when it is.

Second: He presents recaps of the prior books... including almost endless information that absolutely wasn't in the previous books. - Meaning: You get to book 3... and the author basically says: Here's what happened in the past... then proceeds to tell you about the book he thinks he's written... including endless information about the world of the priors, that absolutely wasn't in the books. Basically saying, 'I infer these things as the author... so I imagine they made it onto the page.' - They didn't. And you may think that clarifies things... but with the sheer volume of "recap"... which is basically a firehose of names and locations that you couldn't have possibly imprinted the first time... you're no better off than if you just stopped the recap, and started the series over again to see if the information was more retainable from the starting line... which I did... twice... over 3 years... because I couldn't believe the reviews on here. It's sort of like if the recap of Star Wars told you: As you know from having just watched it... Luke flunked out of math class because of the calculator incident... and Baleraform was always the best planet for manufacturing batteries because of the bounty of the following list of chemicals... please try to remember their names as there will definitely be a test: Chlominate, Lindarious-Phazon, Ascilium Scillicate, Renart.... etc. etc.

You are being gaslit while being assigned endless homework. Which isn't as fun as it sounds.

236 people found this helpful

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  • Alexander Spencer
  • 03-01-2020

Time travel done right

I edited this review after reading the final entry in the series. All the frustration and idiocy I found in this book was due to a lack of info. These books intentionally confuse and disorient which I couldnt accept til I knew WHY. Push through to the final entry, it was worth it.

103 people found this helpful

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  • Adam
  • 26-07-2017

Still confused...

Who is the hero? Who is the villain? What year is it? Is this a flashback? Is this group bad? Is that group good? Whats the differen e between essence and khan? Where are they at now? Basically, this book needs refinement.

109 people found this helpful

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  • Aaron
  • 26-05-2017

Kinda disappointing

This book is lauded as a Jordan-esque fantasy. It is not. I got 20 hours in and I never really felt invested in any character at all. While the scope is truly epic in many aspects, it really lacks the minutiae that better authors use to bring interest to story, character, and prophesy. Also, I feel the soft magic ruleset is basically unrelateable. And while I do have a vivid imagination, I felt like I would be forced to ponder on and on to unlock the mystery of "essence"... very uninteresting. Seems like the author had a great ending on a storyboard and reverse engineered its story to accommodate it but never spent the time making all the bits and pieces fit together smoothly. Jaunty storytelling .

31 people found this helpful

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  • Joshua
  • 29-04-2015

The whole trilogy is fantastic

No spoilers:

As someone who has at least sampled every highly rated fantasy book series, I'm extremely picky. I need originality. I need good character development. I need good dialog. I need intelligent plotlines. And for a series, I need a satisfying plot arc. It's incredibly rare to find a series that has all these things. The Licanius Trilogy delivers, across the board.

This might be the single most satisfying series plot arc I've ever experienced. Masterfully done.

Do yourself a favor: stop reading reviews which may contain spoilers. Get all three books, and prepare yourself for a phenomenal ride.

214 people found this helpful

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  • Mike
  • 26-02-2020

bland

The book spent a lot of time explaining the powers that were barely used, the characters had no personality, and the main character didn't have any drive. He was just doing stuff because he was told to do it.

10 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • A Texan 2
  • 13-03-2015

Interesting, if a bit overwrought

I'll confess that this is one of the few times I've can say that an online ad caught my attention. Adverts for this book started showing up in my Facebook feed with the promise that fans of Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson would enjoy it. That was enough to get me to take a look, but it was ultimately finding that Michael Kramer, audiobook narrator of Jordan's Wheel of Time and Sanderson's Stormlight Archive series that convinced me to make the purchase.

Islington has certainly studied and taken to heart the style of Jordan and Sanderson, and I appreciated that aspect of the storytelling. One difference is that he is less of a world builder - giving enough background, history, and setting to give context to the story he wants to tells. There are no six page descriptions of every last meal, nor page long genealogies of random characters that we pass by in a hallway one time.

That said, the story does getting overwhelmed somewhat by introducing many major characters and taking them in several directions very quickly. This makes the climax rather more tedious than it should be as all the points of view have to come together at the end. This final section is what ultimately lead me to give this a three star instead of four star rating.

Still, being honest, Jordan's and Sanderson's first works weren't perfect. Islington has produced an interesting world and characters. The epilogue provides a promising look at where this story can go and I'm hooked enough to see how it plays out. I would indeed recommend this to fans of Jordan and Sanderson, with the caveat that we're catching a promising author at his beginning, so it is somewhat unfair to expect him to yet be matching these other authors at their mature best.

123 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jake Hartwell
  • 23-02-2015

Brilliant!

Any additional comments?

I read many reviews comparing The Shadow of What Was Lost to Robert Jordan's work. I was almost offended that a new author would be compared to the legendary Jordan. However, after listening to this fantastic debut, I must grudgingly agree with the other reviewers. Many aspects of the world Islington created are indeed similar to The Wheel of Time. However, the story feels very original and I don't feel this is just a copy of Jordan's work.

You will instantly find yourself caring for the characters. The story flows smoothly and the ending instantly makes you want to find the sequel. There are quite a few unanswered questions which I have been speculating on daily since I finished listening. I hope we get some answers in the next installment.

I do have two minor complaints (small enough not to reduce the 5-star rating). The first is I would have liked more physical descriptions of the main characters. There weren't enough physical descriptors to build a good picture of the characters in my mind's eye. The other complaint is that this is only planned as a trilogy. Just with the story lines already started, I could easily see 5 - 6 books without the story dragging. I'm hoping Islington creates another trilogy set in the same world after The Licanius Trilogy is complete.

Michael Kramer, as always, was absolutely superb.

138 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Fantasy Reader
  • 17-02-2015

A good start, but not for everyone.

I read many reviews before I bought this book and it was about what I expected. Many people compare this book to Sanderson or Jordan, but while there are similarities I would not say everyone would like both. The book is well written, but it just seems that it is only a set up for the next book. I was a little aggravated at the amount of prophesies and confusing parts of conversation in this book. I understand that people keep secrets and everything, but it is aggravating when every few chapters you are given some cryptic message or a secret that they will understand when the time comes. Other than my few gripes I would say the book is good even if it is a bit confusing at times.

Michael Kramer does a wonderful job narrating as always.

99 people found this helpful

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  • Mike
  • 07-07-2015

The tag line says it all...almost

Is there anything you would change about this book?

This feels so familiar. The tag line on the jacket says "Robert Jordan Fans should check this out" and there is a reason for that. It feels like a blend of Wheel of time ( our reluctant hero, who doesn't believe he has any powers is pursed by monsters who are trying to kill him) and Game of Thrones (There is a barrier in the north that was once garrisoned to protect the land, but no one now believes there is any danger...except its weakening and monsters are coming through.....). its almost like you can predict where things are going...almost...

Its true the similarity is exacerbated by the fact that Michael Kramer also narrates Wheel of Time so it may have been a mistake to engage him, but he is a master at this genre.

Would you be willing to try another book from James Islington? Why or why not?

OK so taking everything into account and getting past the sense that I have heard all this before...this isn't a terrible book. Its fun, keeps you intrigued and introduces some complexity into the story. I will buy the next book in the series,though i do doubt it will end at three books.

Was The Shadow of What Was Lost worth the listening time?

Yes.

33 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • JS
  • 29-03-2015

A great listen and a superb ending.

A very enjoyable book although I must admit, at times I got a bit lost with the twists and turns.

12 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Lulu
  • 16-02-2015

A Great Masterpiece by a Great Mastermind no doubt

After a few chapters, I was worried that the book lacked both sufficient characters and a good story- but then, I began to get drawn in... This is a VERY complex well thought out tale, that captures aspects of great mystery, deception, political strategy, very subtle hints of romance... It is a story of hope, of the loyalty of young friends who are robbed of their innocence and plunged into a world where they are forced to positions of responsibility and power but surrounded by treachery and lies, forcing them to grapple with and pursue, and even change, their own identities and re-determine their true purpose and path..

You will agree that this book is like a whirlpool, you're sucked in at a bearable pace, then feel the pull strengthen and accelerate causing you to tense up and at times struggle to keep up... With every chapter, the story is twisted into greater complexity and intensity, and though you will be left with no doubt that the story has really only just begun when you reach the end of the book, you will be thoroughly satisfied at finally putting it done and having some time to assimilate the story so far before eagerly searching out details of the release of the next instalment/Book in the series.

This is definitely a 5 star read in every respect!! The narrator as usual, is credited with a fantastic performance only perfecting what is already a perfectly great story/book!!

38 people found this helpful

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  • Robyn
  • 15-01-2018

Excellent

I'm excited to have discovered this trilogy. It's a complex fantasy world, with a huge cast of characters and a solid "magic" system and it all charges along at a cracking pace. (It probably helps that it's Michael Kramer's narration, and I have come to associate his voice with a favourite series - Stormlight)

The only negative comment I would make is that I am struggling to keep up with all the names - but that may be a factor of my listening while doing 100 other things and therefore not paying full attention. This is a story that probably requires more attention than most, and I did find myself having to replay the last 30 seconds, on a fairly regular basis, to check I'd not missed another clue.

Lead characters are likable with enough mystery to keep them interesting too.

This very much reminded my of the Wheel of Time (just with fewer annoying references to sheep).

If you're an epic fantasy fan - then this is highly recommended.




5 people found this helpful

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  • Mark C.
  • 25-03-2015

Awesome

A fabulous listen with a interesting and catchy theme. As usual the narration is superb the time just flew by

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Euan
  • 22-03-2015

Excellent book!

A great listen - very well constructed and delivered. Lots of twists and turns but all added up - very good book!

3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • christian
  • 28-03-2015

not quite radiance but still a sterling book.

looking forward to seeing how this plays out. an interesting slant and fantasy will keep reading.

6 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Richard Taylor
  • 11-02-2015

Absolutely brilliant.

I bought this on a whim and was amazed! I had to check it wasn't a Brandon Sanderson book.
I'm hooked and will be looking for more from James Islington.

5 stars

5 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Devilicious
  • 13-09-2020

I guess not for me.

The story is about the characters going from point A to B and stuff happens to them. it's not deeper than that.
I'm half eay in and I think I'm done. I can't get into the story... it seems so cliche and honestly, boring. I think the main issue lies with the characters. They are shallow and I don't really care about any of them. The world is kinda interesting but it's not enough to keep my interest.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-09-2020

Disappointing

Starts out good, but further on the storyline looses its meaning, as the only magic that has any impact
keeps materializing from outside the told story.

1 person found this helpful

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