The Shadowed Path by Simon Stone
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was an excellent read. Not just because it was a fantastical Roman-esque setting, which I liked, or because the author has an engaging style and a strong narrative voice, but because it was a great story.
But let's back up a bit. First of all, the world. It's dark and it's gritty and it's mysterious and it's intriguing. It's the kind of world that captures the imagination, the kind of world that's bigger than the story being told. It is inventive, unique, and a pleasure to explore.
And then the writing. The author brings his characters to life, from the spoiled rich kid who fought his way through a virtual hell to the broken farm girl with personalities to spare. It's exciting to read what they do, see how they interact, and adventure right beside them through the rich landscape of a well-imagined world.
Finally, the story. Now, don't get me wrong. This book wasn't perfect. There were a few typos, a few missed/wrong words, but half-way through the book I realized that I really didn't care. The prose is engaging, the plot is enticing, and the read is a treat. The good guys are flawed, the bad guys are mysterious, and you get the distinct impression that there's more going on just behind the curtain, that something bigger is going on. Even better, you actually want to know what it is.
So if you're looking for a good read, take a walk down The Shadowed Path. You'll be glad you did.