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The Shadow of What Was Lost

The Licanius Trilogy, Book 1
Written by: James Islington
Narrated by: Michael Kramer
Length: 25 hrs and 28 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (108 ratings)
Price: CDN$ 53.75
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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 members say

Average Customer Ratings

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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!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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excellent story

I thought the story was well written. Most the characters had their own voice. sometimes the female characters sounded too much the same. I'm looking forward to listening to the next book

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amazing !

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

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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

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The Shadow of What Was Lost

I don't think I'll ever get tired of listening to Michael Kramer's narration... he's simply one of the best! I'm quickly falling in love with James Islington's story telling. Bravo!

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Intriguing, captivating, yet lacked a little awesomeness

This was a great book. Compelling characters, mixed with relatable motivations gave the book a very down to earth feel which I liked. Albeit there were times when I felt like a character would make a decision that benefited the plot more than themselves, it was usually a small enough decision that it was swallowable. I personally loved the many layers of world building and stories that overlapped each other, creating a kind of vortex of information and timelines. The plot style reminds me of Brandon Sanderson (huge fan) perhaps even a little more complex. Overall 8.25/10 would certainly recommend to anyone who enjoys epic fantasy or Sanderson.
Ps. Michel Kramer nails the storytelling as always

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the best audible book I have listened to so far!

wow! I can't even believe how good this book is! every chapter had amazing momentum! I loved all the characters right to the end!

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Fantastic!

The best book I have listened to on audible so far. I found the story and ideas in the story to be very creative and captivating.

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tough act to follow

I listened to the words is radiance before this so.... it was a tough act to follow.

1 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2015-04-29

Definitely a standout in the fantasy genre

I've been trying a lot of new fantasy series lately... and by that I mean that I'll read the first book, like it a little, but won't be compelled to go on. This book was an exception.

The Shadow of What was Lost was not the easiest book to slip into, but it wasn't the challenge that some fantasy books are. The prologue was a mistake, I think. The same one that Sanderson made in The Way of Kings. Starting the book at a moment of high action is fine. But starting it in a moment of high action where the stakes and mechanics are unclear, and where the characters are irrelevant to the plot is just a waste of time, and barrier to entry for the reader.

THAT said, once I settled into the book I was very happy with how it progressed. It was interesting, full of drama and tension and fascinating characters. The mechanics of the magic in the world are revealed in slow but satisfying way. The narration is superb.

There are plenty of genre cliches, but the story is unique enough to compel me on. It doesn't feel like a rehashing of anything I've read before, as so many fantasy series do.

I am very eager to see where this series goes, and extremely frustrated that I'll have a long wait to find out.

112 of 125 people found this review helpful

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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.

101 of 116 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Cptdragn
  • 2015-05-02

Good listen

While I can see where people think it's a wheel of time knock off, I think it is its own story. Looking forward to next book.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Amanda
  • 2015-03-22

Surprised by the Fanfare

I’m taken aback by how emphatically enthusiastic the reviews of this book have been. As so many of the other reviewers here mention, I was pulled in by the comparison to Robert Jordan. The story was generally entertaining, but I did have specific issues. (1) I felt the characters lacked depth and pathos. There was no one I felt emotionally invested in. (2) The story was surprisingly and consistently violent. Whole leagues of bodies, some with the heads of the adults re-attached to children. Stabbing up into people’s brains. Cutting people’s private parts out while they are alive and screaming. It was difficult to listen to, and weighed more and more heavily on me as the story progressed. (3) I understand that there is nothing new under the sun, and the overall story was quite different than other books. That being said, some of the points echoed a little too strongly back to Wheel of Time: shadowy bad creatures with dark cloaks that don’t move in the wind, a sword that is not a sword, core character(s) that are reincarnations of major historical legends. Laman (spelled here as Laiman) is not the king, but the king’s chief advisor. I found these repetitions distracting. (4) The actions of some of the characters were extremely implausible.

During the majority of the story it was entertaining enough, and while I grew more disengaged as it progressed, it still kept me through to the end. I may even consider giving the second book a go, although right now I’m uncertain. If you’re a fantasy fan and having trouble finding something to read, and can handle a fair amount of violent images, you may enjoy this; it certainly seems that the vast majority of readers are.

197 of 238 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • alfred
  • 2015-02-13

James Islington Has A Great Epic Here

What did you love best about The Shadow of What Was Lost?

I liked the ways the characters moved smoothly and the constant build up of broadening the scope of the story. When they make shadows out of the special people and how the story comes together. It's hard not to want to hear one more hours on your Kindle.

What did you like best about this story?

The surprising Heros. The new mythical world that comes to life and seems so real. I don't want to spoil the book. If you like Sanderson or any other great epic books of adventure. You will love this. James Islington Has story telling talent.

What does Michael Kramer bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

He's good and I guess he's perfect for long story's. But for me he has little dramatic training. Still for the work and length I still give him 5 star. Great job but limited vocal range. He's a master with the vocal he has to use. In fact he's better in this than Sanderson Way of kings.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

A New Mythical World You will Never Forget

Any additional comments?

I just say thank you for books like these. They really are worth having a audible membership.

44 of 53 people found this review 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.

61 of 74 people found this review helpful

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  • Christopher
  • 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.

56 of 68 people found this review helpful

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  • PL93 Axel
  • 2017-03-17

Excellent installment

Though filled with tropes, this story is a fantastic one. The author writes a lot like Jordan, but more like Jacob Cooper (see Circle of Reign). This will be a fantastic series, I can feel it. With Kramer steering the emotion of the story, it was hard to put down.

19 of 23 people found this review helpful

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  • Cornel de Winnaar
  • 2015-04-29

Enjoyed it

This was my first audio book. Michael was awesome. Characters needed more depth in story though. I do think the story was original enough not to compare it to other works. Well done

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Justin
  • 2015-03-12

The book of a thousand names!

I thoroughly enjoyed this listen, but I highly recommend that you listen when you aren't distracted by other activities. There are a lot of names and places and it isn't too difficult to lose track of who is who and what is where.

Besides that, loved it and highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys fantasy.

31 of 41 people found this review helpful