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Shadow of the Conqueror

Chronicles of Everfall, Book 1
Written by: Shad Brooks
Series: Chronicles of Everfall, Book 1
Length: 18 hrs and 30 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (155 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Who better to fight back the darkness of the world than the one responsible for most of it?

Daylen, once known as the Great Bastard, the Scourge of Nations, Dayless the Conqueror, has lived in hiding since his presumed death. Burdened by age and tremendous guilt, he thinks his life is coming to an end. Unbeknownst to him he’s about to embark on a journey towards redemption where his ruthless abilities might save the world. Many battles await with friends to be made and a past filled with countless crimes to confront, all the while trying to keep his true identity a secret.

Indeed, it might be too much if not for the fabled power awaiting him.

Everfall is a world of perpetual day where the continents float in an endless sky. If one jumps from the continent they will fall for many hours before returning to the same place from which they fell. Skyships rule the air powered by shining sunstone and industrial darkstone. A legendary order of knights bears mystical powers which they use to hunt out the dreaded shade, monsters that regular people turn into if trapped in darkness for the length of a fall.

It is a world of enchanted swords, merciless monsters, mystical knights, and hard magic, filled with tales of wonder and adventure.

©2019 Shad Brooks (P)2019 Shad Brooks
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Brilliantly narration, decent world, okay writing.

The good: Michael Kramer and Kate Reading did an amazing job as always. I feel that the audiobook version is significantly better due to it being narrated by those master storytellers. The world-building was also really interesting. So often in fantasy, it is just assumed that it is set basically on earth but Shadows of the Conqueror really takes you to a whole new world. I really liked how Shad handled the main character who should have been really overpowered.

The bad: There are definitely some parts that could have been edited to make things clearer and more in line with the overall message. In the audiobook, it is mitigated by the awesome narrators but when I read through the ebook I'm sure they'll stand out and bother me. More beta readers might have helped.

The ugly: I was a little surprised by the fascination with sex, and rape. There is nothing explicit but it definitely is a major theme. Based on what I know about the author I was expecting swords, dragons, castles, and MACHICOLATIONS! I just wasn't expecting him to write so much about sex. But I guess you have to make monsters monstrous.

Overall a decent book I will read again. Would recommend to late teens and adults.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Guilty Pleasure Fantasy

The book's okay. The performance is good, as you'd expect. Specifically, the magic system and world are well explored, even if there are some noticeable parallels between this and other famous works. The characters aren't half bad either.

I'd rate this book better if characters were not used as a mouthpiece to espouse unchallenged highschool-grade criticisms of socialism and authoritarianism, or shallow economic theory.

Perhaps Shad thought it would be okay if he stuck to making non-controversial positions, since the main cast's overton window on policies is very narrow. But that's part of the problem. There is no nuance to the positions they espouse.

As an aside, there is a lot of gratuitous violence for its own sake, rather than for world or character building. I'm pretty sure a lot of this could be cleaned up by a good editor, so scenes were more succinct.

I've seen some comments saying this book wouldn't be published by a major printing house, and I see why they'd say that. Shad has some areas of strength of course, but he needed someone to tell him when certain scenes or details were unnecessary, and when a character needed more depth, and when the politics was too heavy-handed.

I think most professional authors need this, so this isn't a criticism of his writing skills so much as it is simply an observation.

Like I said Shad is good enough where the flaws weren't overpowering for me, and I DID enjoy my time with the book. And I don't get the sense he was lazy. Still he does go overboard a lot of the time.

He'll probably improve immensely if he keeps publishing books.




[ Some Nitpicking & Spoilers ]

I hated how the protagonist says 'life is the worst torture i can think of' every other chapter, and no one calls him out for being a coward - ever. It is fine for him to be biased, I guess, but for god's sake let the narrative repudiate his conviction because it is annoying and frankly absurd that life be the worst torture. I would think torture would be the worst torture. Duh. This guy tortured people for a living so he should have connected the dots.

I also didn't like how rape was overused as a narrative device. It's supposed to evoke emotions from the listener, but after the 7th time it stops evoking any reaction from me. Now, I think Shad uses rape to establish the protagonist as an anti-hero, but he sacks and burns cities for peacefully protesting, murders women and children for the mildest of crimes, and even when he is trying to redeem himself still murders people without hesitation. The rape is gratuitous, and the number is staggering and nigh unbelievable - considering he ought to have been running an empire at war constantly, I fail to understand how he found time to rape 300 women, each women raped for a month before being discarded.

So, he had a woman constantly in his bed for 30 years, and he explains he didn't know he was raping them even though he forced them to walk around his palace naked, and forced them to have sex with him night after night. He thought they were 'willing'.

Like, this does happen in real life, it's how rape happens, but not 300 times and not over such an extended period?

It's like, not to equivocate or be cheeky or anything, I went hunting every day, and every month I'd select a slightly different area of the forest to go to, and after 30 years I hadn't realized the game was disappearing. This, while I ran like, I don't know, Disney, while simultaneously being a writer for new properties, and an actor for my movies.

It's just a little hard to swallow someone was so dedicated to a task, and yet so ignorant of what they were doing.

But anyway.

I think, if you wanted to get the reader to sympathize with a rapist like this, you need a lot more care and nuance, and most importantly a dramatic and charismatic first person pov centered around those events. I guess that's a lot to ask for, but all the more reason why the rape, especially to this degree, should have been cut.

[Moving On]

There are certain arcs in the story which are clearly better than the rest, though. The end conflict, if brief was emotionally powerful (even though I knew what was going to happen).

And I'll end this post with a little more praise. I think ultimately the protagonist is a pretty realistic antihero, aside from the cringe guilttrips and gratuitous amounts of rape. Which is not to say it couldn't have been written with more subtlety but, his back story and personality are minimally believable.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Repetion broke my immersion.

I liked the originality of the universe and magical engineering. But the same concepts are repeated over and over wether to explain the magic or the reasoning of characters, as if the listener was not remembering anything of the previous experiences. This added unnecessary lenght and broke immersion for me.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A Light-Damned Good Book

One of the thing that struck me the most in this book is how believable everything is. The Magic system is sound, makes sense within the world, has clear rules, and is never used in a way that that feels unearned. New abilities are foreshadowed and never come out of nowhere, giving the world a sense of cohesion. In addition, the laws of the world are believable when taking the setting into account, and the way the magic and technology includes actual physics makes it all the more believable. There is a sense that this world was thought out through and through, and that research has been done by the author on the multiple subjects covered to achieve such believability.

The characters are varied and have well defined sets of beliefs that are well established, and the effort to make them into complex three dimensional people is not lost on me, once again making their actions more believable. You can guess how characters will react to the different situation they are placed into, but their current state of mind might have them act "out of character", like a normal person would sometimes act differently under pressure. This creates a dynamic with the reader where you can expect the characters to react a certain way as you learn to understand their character, while still being surprised when they act in unexpected ways, either due a different state of mind or simple a growth in character. This by no means makes the story predictable, but simply, at the risk of repeating myself, believable.

I believe that this book is one of the best works of fiction I have had the pleasure of reading in the last few years, (or "listening to" in this case), and it has charmed me with it's human characters and cohesive setting. With a wonderful hard magic system reminiscent of the works of Brandon Sanderson and a rich world to explore, I recommend this book to all fans of high fantasy stories.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A promising debut novel with a B. Sanderson vibe

This is a promising debut novel from an amazing YouTube star. Overall the novel feels very much like a Brandon Sanderson novel, the influences are pretty clear from the worldbuilding to the thematic pseudo-swearing to the over explaining of cohesive magic systems. The worldbuilding is creative and imaginative without being overwhelming. Exploring how a few changes in physics and common magics allow for a uniquely industrialized society make it a really refreshing read. Feels incredibly fresh and vivid, and like the world was grounded

Action scenes are well-paced, detailed, plausible, and seem well researched. Just wish there were more conventional skirmishes- it was over saturated with superpower battles and didn't feel as grounded in normal meadevil combat which is clearly the author's strength. Combat scenes, especially those without much superpower usage feel incredibly vivid and realistic.

The narrators are great, especially the accented foreign character done by the female narrator.

Two aspects detracted from the novel's quality considerably:

1) Dialogue quality : A lot of the characters sounded very indistinct from each other, and stilted and melodramatic at times.
2) Mary Sue lead : It's a character with a cool backstory, but overpowered in nearly every way. More competent antagonists would have been welcome.

Overall though, great, and I'm extremely positive this amateur author will improve in future installments as his skill get refined.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Potential to be great.

Parts where almost like reading a dnd rulebook. Tone down that part and focus on the actions vs the "bonds".

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Excellent listening for fans

I personally greatly enjoyed the story. Shad needs a better editor to reign in his rambling. The greatest issue with the book is when emersion and character voice are broken. It really pulls you or if the fascinating world, and sounds more like the authors YouTube channel than the characters voice. I do look forward to further work, and hopefully more stories in Everfall.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

I really enjoyed it!

I wasnt sure about this book at first but I picked it up anyways mainly because of the narrator. I am very glad I did.

I am a very picky reader and I have a hard time finding books that keep my overactive brain engaged and invested. This book is a little less polished than some I have listened to but I liked that about it. I think everything important was there. It has fantastic characters that are fleshed out, unique and interesting. It has a badass protagonist, and it has a world that is unique and enthralling. On top of that it has a fantastic magic system that is well explained and that is powerful enough to account for truly epic battles. The book even touches on morals and life lessons that, I personally, took something away from.

It's hard to write a review for complete strangers but I think if you enjoy modern fantasy, like Sanderson's books, you will enjoy this book. It isnt perfectly written and I found a lot of the reviews on audible mention things like 'info dumping' but it is a fantastic story and I enjoyed all the information given because it was interesting information. I reccomend this book highly.

Edit: I also want to add that this book only has three points of view through its entirety and they all stay on track with the main story.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

morally riveting.

this book will truly leave fans divided on their feelings of the main character.
Their is no right or wrong side in this debate simply your own personal believes.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Almost there....

Well narrated. Good but underdeveloped concept. Lacks the maturity of a seasoned writer. Promising future.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 2019-07-18

Shad get a better Editor

I'm writing this on my phone so sorry in advance. I'm a fan of Shad's YouTube channel. I've read Brandon Sanderson's books and Robert Jordan's. There is so much influence in these and it really shows. The premise is very interesting but I honestly think if you want to make a world builder book with this much detail you need to spread it out. As others have pointed out there are big information dumps that don't seem to fit where they are placed. I would rather have the story show me how the world works like Sanderson or Jordan. The main character is very hard to self identify with because he talks about how much he regrets killing people and how his greatest punishment for his crime is living with the guilt. Then he goes and kills a bunch of criminals. The darker themes of the book (sex, rape, murder, and genocide) seem to be delivered awkwardly. The action scenes are done very well and are enjoyable.The narrators absolutely blow me away everytime I listen to them and they do an amazing job like always. Shad, I haven't read any of your other stuff so I'm not sure how this compares but this seems like a great attempt. I enjoyed the ride and was able to finish the book and have listened to much worse books. I did enjoy the book but I think it could use much more polish. I look forward to listening to anything you might write in the future. To anyone looking to purchase the book go ahead and support the author. It was a fun book and would enjoy reading more about the world.

60 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • John Henry Mecomber
  • 2019-07-27

Great first book

This tale of redemption has great world building and a fleshed out magic system. The story is good but after hearing the main character dump on himself continuously it starts to get a bi et old. There are also a lot of he said, she said, and characters says in this book so that gets old after listening after a while. The voice work is really jarring though when characters are voiced by the other reader after having been voiced by the other.

I would have thought the cast would have been divided in half since there were 2 readers here, but no. Whenever it is a male perspective Michael reads and when a female perspective then Kate reads. This leads to wildly different voices for a character.

Overall the book is a good listen and I recommend it but be prepared for some drag.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 2019-09-13

Good premise, but poorly written

While the idea behind the story is sound, the book could do with a good editor.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 2019-08-16

Excellent World, Shallow Characters

This book is fantastic in its world building. The magic system is phenomenal, as someone who has an engineering background and an interest in particle physics and quantum mechanics I found the magic system engrossing. The attention to detail and the technical aspects were interesting and I appreciated that the author did not dumb down the engineering aspects of the world. I am highly appreciative that the protagonist is an engineer and brought that direct perspective to understanding the world he lives in. The world has great potential and even the background story would be a fascinating book in and of itself.
I do however feel that the characters' backgrounds are rather shallow and I never felt what I believe the author wanted me to feel about the protagonist. The graphic and violent aspects of the story were not emotionally powerful and felt contrived. The fight scenes and the usage of the magic system was excellent, but the motivations of the characters were very muddled. The author tries too hard to tie up lose ends to the determent of the overall story. The conclusion left me wanting to pick up the characters and put them back in the middle of the book where the plot and story were stronger and more entertaining. The end was extremely contrived and did not feel natural, but more like the author saying, "I'm running out of ink, better wrap it up." The creatures of the world and the original driving force of the protagonist was a much more interesting narrative and I was more drawn to the protagonist's past than the story's present.
Overall, as an exercise in world building 9/10, character development 5/10, emotional depth 2/10.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 2019-07-27

world building told much and showed less

the storylines were overall good, the dialogue and exposition were sometimes awkward, overall is was an easy listen and I am looking forward to the next in the series. Kramer and Reading as always were great!

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Adam Miller
  • 2019-07-15

An enjoyable book with a problematic protagonist

On the whole I liked this book, though there are certain aspects that didn't quite work for me. The world building is in depth and interesting. There were a few times I found the exposition laying out the magic system and the world to be a bit heavy handed and dragged the book down a bit. That said I generally enjoyed the bits where the protagonist explored his powers.

I also thoroughly enjoyed the supporting characters. Lyra and Kuseg (not sure on the name spelling as this is an audio book to me) were particularly interesting and I enjoyed Arek's terrible humor immensely.

The main issue with the book for me is the protagonist, Daylen. I get that he's supposed to be a former bad guy trying to be good, but I can't help but feel that Shad, the author, went a little too far in making him a monster in his former life and didn't do quite enough leg work to justify him as the protagonist through most the book. The simple fact is that Daylen commits too many brutal and barbaric acts in his new life for me to ever truly root for him. It doesn't matter that he feels bad about them or that he did them to terrible people. It just feels like there's a disconnect, if he is a despicable person who has seen the error of his ways and is seeking redemption, then he shouldn't be so quick to deal death to others. The first time it happened I understood as he is reverting to his old ways, but each time it happens after that it is harder and harder to empathize

All that said, I found there to be some legitimately touching moments between him and the supporting characters toward the end and found his over all fate and conclusion to the novel to be satisfying.

I would definitely like to see more from this world now that so much of it has been explained and the story can just get moving. I also have hope that I may like Daylen more in another installment.

16 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • D.C
  • 2019-10-26

Amazing start to a series

I hesitated to spend a credit on this at first, Amazing fights, powers and characters.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Ben
  • 2019-10-26

A Tales of a Conquerers Shadow

It was a fairly simple story, but because of how short every chapter was I enjoyed it almost without stop in pace, leaving me to complete the book within a few days. The story wasn't perfect but damn was it good, I loved visualizing every scene and it happened seemlessly on command. It took the serious subject matters with respect while still being funny with its crude jokes and light puns. To say I enjoy it is more then a truth, all I can say is that the 2nd book better come out soon.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Timothy Wigmore
  • 2019-09-25

Great book!

First book from this author I've ever read/listened to. Inventive and unique blend of magic and modern technology , interspersed with elements that I perceive from other universes. I can't wait for the next book. Also, ask always, Michael and Kate do an outstanding job of bringing the story to life

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 2019-09-17

I NEED MORE!

the feels the friendships, and the world omg the light concept love it all and I want more

7 people found this helpful

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Paul-Antoine
  • 2019-07-21

a very good book

The voice actors are perfect very experienced and could not have been better. The story is a very interesting mix of magic, ww2 references, medieval fighting and a great plot! The first chapter is a bit slow and difficult but once you have passed it, the rest of the story is great! Would absolutely recommand and will buy the next book. plus I highly recommand the youtube channel of the author.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Grizzard
  • 2020-06-28

I didn't let go of it until it was finished

I wrote a whole a$$ critique, and it vanished before I could send it. Audible you blackened bastard! Great book, first time flaws to forgive, lookin forward to the continuation of the Chronicles of Everfall.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Client d'Amazon
  • 2020-02-19

Great book

This book is good. The author really made an incredible work of creating an immersive world with its own technology, its own magic, and its own diverse cultures; the quest and struggle for redemption of the main character is very well told and engaging and I personnally developped a love/hate reliationship for this character who is the incarnation of the worst and best things a human can be. Besides being a great fantasy novel, I would say this book can also be seen as a moral guide, although wether the author inteded it or not, I do not know.
The voice acting is great, both readers making an amazing jobs at conveying the emotions and accents of the multiple characters.
I definitely recommand this audio book.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Thomas King
  • 2019-11-19

Great debut novel

An awesome magic system and unique world. Deep historical knowledge helps craft a great setting.