Review: The First of Shadows or a little bit of everything (and an amazing surprise)

Hello wonderful people! Today is the second day of March and I hope your month has started in the best possible way! March for me has started with the right foot, that’s for sure. Yesterday I spent a very pleasant day with my boyfriend and I managed to read my first book of the month. And it was amazing!
I have planned another review for today, but then I have read this book and I changed my mind. You would get the other review, just not today. Nope. Today is all dedicated to my last reading. And I really hope that this book would set the pace for the rest of the month!

I received a copy of this book but the opinions on this review are mine and completely objective.


Title: The First of Shadows
Series: The Riven Realm
Author: Deck Matthews
Page count: 143

You can buy it here: Amazon

How do you kill a shadow?
As a raging storm descends on the Blasted Coast, the crippled young rigger, Caleb Rusk, meets a stranger on the road. Little does he know that the encounter will pull him into a conflict that threatens everything he holds dear—and change the course of his life forever.
Meanwhile, in the Capital of Taralius, a string of inexplicable deaths have captured the attention of the Ember Throne. Second Corporal Avendor Tarcoth is tasked with uncovering the truth behind a danger that could threaten the very fabric of the Realm


I promise that I’ll try to make sense, but all I want is just fangirling and gushing about this book because it was just that good! So, let’s start from the beginning.
You may recall this book because I nominated it in the last Blame It On The Community post. I am not a big fan of short stories and novellas, but Jason wrote such a compelling review on it that I simply couldn’t resist.
And then the author made a giveaway on Twitter, and it wasn’t just for this volume but for all three volumes of this series!!! And it was the same day my post about it went online so… It was fated, right? And so here I am. I was really excited and was looking forward to starting this series, so much so that I decided right away that this would have been my first reading of March, even if I don’t have a TBR for this month.
It is obvious that I had great expectations and, usually, this is not so good, but this book… Oh, this book exceeded all my expectations, and by a lot!

I would have never believed that a short novella could have been so great! It has all you can want from a longer book, and more!
We have a cast of main characters and some secondary ones, but all of them are perfectly characterized and every one of them has his or her own voice. Nobody is just a plain bidimensional figure in there. And this is a thing that I appreciated a ton!
The author manages to give life to them, to make them real. So much so, that when a couple of them die (I am sorry to say this, but I won’t say who, so no spoiler here!) I was very taken aback! I was so sad! He moved me with these deaths, he made me feel their loss, and that was precious.
To give you something more, we have Caleb, the MC (all caps here), the young man who found himself in a story way bigger than himself. We have Shem, the lone wolf (as to speak) who is broody and mysterious and harsh, maybe, but who fought for the good. Tanner, the big man with a unique point of view on life and an unstoppable thirst (or so it seems), Red, who is maybe too curious for her own good but who possess compassion (and she is good in a fight, too!) and then we have a soldier and an old sage who have to work together to solve a dangerous and perplexing mystery.
And then we have some magical animals (yay!!), some demons (or similar malignant beings), a queen with amazing personal guards, a pirate with a fleeting vessel (how cool is that?!?), a despicable bully, and even some others.

Now, maybe you are wondering how is it possible for the author to put in such short story so many characters, to develop and portray them as well as I am stating, and find the place to add in a story and worldbuilding too? Magic! Or sheer fantastic ability. I don’t know, but this book really surprised me!
And yes, you guessed it right, there is more. We have an interesting magic system that the author manages to show us. Yes, we are left with a ton of questions, but these are the questions of a work well done. A work that enthralls and fascinates you, without showing you all of its aces. But you know that the answers, sooner or later, would find you. (Mind me, I haven’t yet read the sequels, so I can’t be so certain about it. But questions from a work well done and questions from plot holes have two different rings. Am I making sense to you? I hope so!).
Anyway, he manages to find the right balance between said and unsaid, he left you wonder but give you enough to begin understanding something of what is happening.

And then we have the story. We have action, mystery, adventure, an enormous plot twist (and it was big!) and personal development. It is not boring, at all! You are just sitting there, turning page after page because you need to know what would happen next.
And the ending. Oh my, the ending. It was perfect. It left you there, wondering “what’s next?” and in dire need of the sequel (even more so because all the people who really know what was happening, or that, at least, have an idea about what’s happening and what there is to do, are out of the picture… And this, my friends, was just brilliant!) but it was not a cliffhanger.
I mean, it’s obvious that the story has not ended here, but it gives some sense of closure, and that’s more than enough. (I really wanted to go on a rampage here, because what I really hate in a book is a cliffhanger. You just have to give closure, an ending to a story, even leaving me with the need or the want to know what would happen next, that goes without saying because it is the basis for a series, but you have to give me something that resembles an ending. If it seems like the book is cut with an ax, and some pages are missing… No, just nope! And I can go on and on about this because it stirs me crazy, but this is not the case with this book, so maybe I would resume my rampage in another post, and go back to the point).

So… This book surprised me in all the good ways, and let me in need to read more. It was fascinating and I loved it! What else do you want???


I loved this book and I can’t recommend it enough! Have you read it? Or do you have it on your TBR? And have you read the other series by the same author? Let me know!

Happy reading!

16 thoughts on “Review: The First of Shadows or a little bit of everything (and an amazing surprise)

  1. Pingback: March Wrap-Up!

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