|Submitted by Evan Tyres |
(Sep 07, 2006)
SHADOWSLAYERS is terrific epic fantasy at its finest. While not the most in-depth look at a fantasy world, it cuts to the heart of the genre: the characters, their emotions, and their actions.
Weighing in at under 200 pages, SHADOWSLAYERS is a quick read but remains surprisingly deep for such a fast-paced work. The author, Charlie Martin, assumes that the readers already know the typical fantasy archetypes, like elves, wizards, and dragons. With those extraneous details dealt with, he introduces an unusual and interesting cast, primarily focusing on the title characters, Garyl and Kajeel Shadowslayer.
I don't think it's too much of a spoiler to state that Kajeel, a powerful sorceress, dies early in the story. From there, it is up to the cursed mage Garyl to protect the land of Blackwood from her killer, the dragon-god Derrezen. The story, however, is less about saving the world and more about Garyl's emotions after losing his wife. He doesn't simply get over his loss and move on. Instead, his hatred of the dragon gnaws at him, turning him into a dark reflection of himself. Ultimately, the story asks if the means do justify the ends. Can a hero still be a hero when he is motivated only by rage and hatred? SHADOWSLAYERS asks that question, and does not provide any easy answers.