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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 there is further to fall if he cannot pass his final tests. But when he 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

What the critics say

"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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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

I was pleasantly surprised by this book

I bought this title not at all knowing what to expect. The reviews I read suggested it borrowed a lot from the Wheel of Time, so that piqued my interest. I found that there was similarities, but this trilogy truly was it's own thing. It has all the plot depth and lovable characters that make a great story. can't wait to experience the next in the series!

9 people found this helpful

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  • Ed
  • 2018-09-19

A little too predictable

It’s amazing how much a great story teller like Michael Kramer can salvage an otherwise weakish story. He needed to apply those skills here.

There were definitely some great new concepts around magic, but the characters and the storylines were hard to fully get behind. It was a rough start as it feels like a mash of stories you’ve already read... but it does add some fun twists if you can push through to the end.

I probably won’t continue with the series.

#Audible1

7 people found this helpful

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amazing !

I love this book so much! and the reader does such a good job, his voice is so relaxing!

3 people found this helpful

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Whaaaat?!

Amazing plot(s) and characters. The build up is thorough and everything fits so well. Can’t wait to listen to book 2.

2 people found this helpful

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Amazing

I’ve been waiting for another series like this since Wheel of Time. Truly Fantastic. Micheal Kramer narrates like no one else. If you enjoy epic fantasy download this

2 people found this helpful

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Excellent writing and story

I enjoyed this story very much. Reminds me a bit of Sanderson’s books. I would 5 star but nothing revealed was really surprising and the ending climax was not very climactic. The story however was very good. I would recommend and already have the second downloaded.

2 people found this helpful

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Not bad; not great

Not bad! This is helped out by some commercial fiction practices, most notably pacing wise. Everything in this clocked into fine; a click up from commercial fiction but nothing mind blowing.

But I think that’s sort of the target it was trying to hit. It goes deliberately against epic fantasy conventions and expectations and I think that will garner a decent readership. It doesn’t have long ass info dumps, let me tell you about my fantasy city, or diatribes. The characters aren’t incredible but there are some character moments that are quite good. There’s fun/interesting/cool setting details and magic system stuff. It’s not one billion pages.

It’s pretty much exactly what it says it is, so 3 stars for me. It didn’t exceed expectations, but it’s a perfectly serviceable fantasy romp. I’m not sure I’ll continue with it. The narration on audible was pretty good, not fantastic. Characters are different enough that most of the time it’s easy to follow, but not always. And I wasn’t blown away, so I’m debating whether to continue with the trilogy or try and find something that I’ll like more.

1 person found this helpful

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Every Character Sounds the Same

The story is alright. standard fantasy fare. I found that there was such a dependence on "made up" words and proper nouns that it all got very confusing, and many character names bled together for me after a while.

Michael Kramer's performance leaves a lot to be desired. Every older man sounds the same, a painfully slow drawl that's so gravelly it sounds more like snarling than speech. every "evil" character draws out all their vowels, to a painful degree.

1 person found this helpful

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Loved it as a fan of Sanderson, Jordan, GRRM etc

This is a must for anyone who loves epic fantasy and wants a great story with lots of action and intrigue. I love how dark this world is and I am curious to learn more about the lore. The characters are interesting and the magic well done, with lots of twists for both. Definitely starting book 2 after I'm done with this review!

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Exciting Epic Fantasy

This was a great book, everything I love in epic fantasy. The characters, plot, and world were so detailed and intricate. There were plenty of adventures, twists, and tense moments. It truly felt like a journey in more ways than one.

Caeden, Davian, Asha, and Wirr were all fantastic. They each had incredible moments together and apart, and felt like real people that could be empathized with. Caeden and Asha in particular were among my favourites, the former being a powerful warrior with a hidden past, and the latter becoming an incredible spy.

The world and its lore are easy to digest and I never felt confused or overwhelmed. This is helped by Islington's quality prose and his characters learning things as the readers do. I truly enjoyed the plot. Everything progressed at a good pace with some amazing twists thrown in that I was not expecting. This was especially true in the epilogue, which has made me eager for the second book.

I truly enjoyed this fantasy story and am eager for more of its characters and world. Perfect for anyone who wants an immersive and well told experience, and who is looking to be surprised at each turn.

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  • Dave
  • 2018-11-30

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
  • 2020-06-10

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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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Alexander Spencer
  • 2020-01-03

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
  • 2017-07-26

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
  • 2017-05-26

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
  • 2015-04-29

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
  • 2020-02-26

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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  • A Texan 2
  • 2015-03-13

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
  • 2015-02-23

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
  • 2015-02-17

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