Anyone can plot a coup or fire an assassin's bullet. But in a world of muskets and magic, it takes considerably more to seize the throne. The ailing King of the Vordan lies on his deathbed. When he dies, his daughter, Raesinia Orboan, will become the first Queen Regnant in centuries - and a ripe target for the ambitious men who seek to control her. The most dangerous of these is Duke Orlanko, Minister of Information and master of the secret police. Having meticulously silenced his adversaries through intimidation, imprisonment, and execution, Orlanko is the most feared man in the kingdom. And he knows an arcane secret that puts Raesinia completely at his mercy.
Exposure would mean ruin, but Raesinia is determined to find a way to break herself - and her country - out of Orlanko' s iron grip. She finds unlikely allies in the returning war hero Janus bet Vhalnich, fresh from a brilliant campaign in the colony of Khandar, and his loyal deputies, Captain Marcus d' Ivoire and Lieutenant Winter Ihernglass. As Marcus and Winter struggle to find their places in the home they never thought they would see again, they help Janus and Raesinia set in motion events that could free Vordan from Orlanko' s influence - at the price of throwing the nation into chaos. But with the people suffering under the Duke' s tyranny, they intend to protect the kingdom with every power they can command, earthly or otherwise.
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What a great book!
Something's awry but I remain cautiosly optimistic
I love the characters. Not all of them, but the vast majority. Well developed, consistent, appropriately likeable/hateable. Well written, great prose helped to keep me hooked where the story was necessarily slow. Some of the best fight scenes of any writer/book I've read. Vivid, clear, delightfully brutal. The epic moments, the crescendos in this book are, like in The Thousand Names, miniature masterpieces in themselves. There are very few books with scenes so potent that they actual give me physical shivers or bring tears to my eyes, but both books in this series have given me that experience.
It's the second in the series and similar in style to the first, obviously. The Shadow Throne took a few turns that I didn't like, did a few weird things, but over all I still liked it and will without doubt be snagging the third book as soon as I can get my hands on it. I have to know what happens to Janus and Marcus, my favorite characters.
There are some differences I didn't like in the performance and editing as well, but they're forgivable.
Richard Poe has a great voice for this line of work, and I think a great voice for this genre in particular, as well. I give him an overall thumbs up. His character voices are good, I can often tell which character is speaking just by Poe's voicing. I'm not sure whose responsibility it was, but I did notice that the voices were not consistent from book 1 to book 2. I'd expect the director to catch that sort of thing. And there are a few places throughout book 2 where the voicing is inconsistent even among the dialog of the same character. Again, Poe's voicing itself is wonderful, but he applies it inconsistently in this reading.
If you read the first Shadow Campaigns book, it's no surprise to you that there is a guy in this book named Janus. He does things in this book that bring tears to my eyes. Manly tears of manly awesomeness. Not even kidding, I started crying as I was driving down the freeway listening to stuff about Janus.
I don't know how what went wrong, but toward the end the editing just got really sloppy, trashy actually. You can hear dialog and multiple takes and background studio noise, the reader clearing his throat and trying multiple readings / voicings, etc. The Thousand Names was flawless in this regard. In fact, the first 90% of Shadow Throne was flawlessly edited as well. So I don't know what happened, but the last few chapters here had a half dozen or more editing errors. It's distracting and entirely avoidable, quite a shame. Not a deal breaker though, I still recommend the series.