Thursday, January 30, 2020

Review: The Shadow Saint by Gareth Hanrahan

The Shadow Saint (The Black Iron Legacy, #2)
The Shadow Saint by Gareth Hanrahan
Publication Date: January 9th, 2020
Paperback. 567 pages

About The Shadow Saint:

"Thieves, dangerous magic, and a weapon built with the power to destroy a god clash in this second novel of Gareth Hanrahan's acclaimed epic fantasy series, The Black Iron Legacy. 

Enter a city of spires and shadows . . . 

The Gutter Miracle changed the landscape of Guerdon forever. Six months after it was conjured into being, the labyrinthine New City has become a haven for criminals and refugees. 

Rumors have spread of a devastating new weapon buried beneath the streets - a weapon with the power to destroy a god. As Guerdon strives to remain neutral, two of the most powerful factions in the godswar send agents into the city to find it. 

As tensions escalate and armies gather at the borders, how long will Guerdon be able to keep its enemies at bay?"

I didn't expect it, but I think I enjoyed The Shadow Saint even more than I enjoyed The Gutter Prayer. The Gutter Prayer ended with a bang and I honestly wasn't sure what to expect plot-wise from the sequel, but it ended up being far more interesting than I could have hoped for. Everything that made The Gutter Prayer stand out so much in the fantasy genre continued to be a strong element that made me fall back into this world and story.

The Shadow Saint picks up about six months after the The Crisis (aka The Gutter Miracle) that occurred at the culmination of the first book and that resulted in the creation of the New City that has sort of thrown things in chaos. There are also now rumors going around about a new weapon in the New City that could completely change the landscape in the Godswar and relations among various lands. I love when we get to explore post-big-event cities and environments in fantasy (and other books) and see what happens when people try to pick things up and put order back into place. There is a decent bit of politicking in this book that I personally really enjoyed and that added a sense of realism and exasperation that felt so relatable in any sort of crisis or big cultural/social shift.

If you read The Gutter Prayer, then you already know that Hanrahan's world-building is top notch and truly incredible. The way that he crafts this world and manages to make it feel so real and alive is the work of someone who truly knows how to write. This city is alive with people, buildings, things underneath the city, things within the city--there's just so much at play to explore.

In The Shadow Saint, we follow three new POVs, though one is a side character from the first book, so she's somewhat familiar already. I genuinely enjoyed all three of the new protagonists and their perspectives. The first of the POVs that we follow is the spy, aka X84, aka Alic, aka Sanhada Baradhin. As you can probably guess, the spy shifts his identities depending on what the situation necessitates, and he has quite a great skill in doing so and creating up new lives and backgrounds for each person. I didn't expect to enjoy the spy or his perspective as much as I did, but it was easily entertaining and I liked watching him navigate throughout the city of Guerdon and ingratiate himself in various place with different people. He infiltrated the city with his "son," Emlin, who I also found pretty compelling and who I would've loved to follow even more than we did.

The next character we follow is Eladora Duttin, a side character from The Gutter Prayer who I was so excited to get to follow in this book. I really enjoyed her in the first book and I felt this elaboration on her role and watching her gain confidence and become aware of her importance in the story. She's an incredibly intelligent woman who, although may be nervous about things, really isn't afraid to put herself out there when she feels confident about what she should be doing or what is best for the situation.

And the last main character we follow is Terevant, another new addition to the story who brings an entirely new perspective as a native of the city of Haith and who happens to be one of the heirs of the House of Erevesic. I really enjoyed exploring the culture of Haith and watching Terevant and his brother interact with the city of Guerdon and its inhabitants. I was also intrigued by the Vigilants, which is a role that those of Haith can take on after death.

Hanrahan has once again given us an unpredictable, fast-paced, and highly entertaining fantasy that I sincerely enjoyed and I honestly can't wait to see what comes next in this series. I really don't know where Hanrahan will take the next book or who the main characters be or what will happen after this book, but I do know that I am more than ready for the ride!

Overall, I've given The Shadow Saint 4.75 stars!

*I received a copy of The Shadow Saint courtesy of Orbit Books in exchange for an honest review. This has no effect on my rating of the novel.*

1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad you loved this! Some of the reviews I've seen haven't been as enthusiastic, so I was getting worried. I hope to read this very soon😁