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Review of City of Burning Shadows

City of Burning Shadows (Apocrypha: The Dying World) - Barbara J. Webb

They used to call Miroc the city where even the gods wouldn’t walk alone after dark. Now the gods are gone, I don’t know what they toss around to scare the tourists, but the sentiment remains true.


We’d been in love, but life had intervened.


But human nature is what it is, and division breeds competition, which breeds separation and resentment and ... well, you get the idea.


I. Loved. A sci-fi book. This is a first. I’m so proud of myself, and I have Webb to thank for it. And Mr. Mark Lawrence for hosting The Great Self-published Fantasy Blog-off! (http://mark---lawrence.blogspot.co.uk/2015/03/the-great-self-published-fantasy-blog.html). 


So first off, this story is rather hard to summarize. It’s got a lot going on. If I really boil it down, it’s about a priest and his quest to save his city. It’s so much more than that, though.


The world is incredibly built. Gods have abandoned it, leaving it to turn upon itself. The priests of these gods are treated poorly by most. There’s some great races in here, each belonging to one of the gods. The setting has a post apocalyptic feel without it being trope. The city still functions, somewhat. There’s a council that’s barely holding things together. People still work, but most of the city has gone to hell. 


What I loved most was how well the world was described. It was familiar enough that I could easily imagine it, yet unique enough that I was completely intrigued. Oh, and it had magic! I love magic! So it made everything so much more wonderful. It had the perfect amount of detail to please both the world building fans as well as those who find world building tedious.


Oh, and let me tell you how wonderfully delightful I found the pacing. The story moved. When there wasn’t action, there was something as equally enthralling. And the action scenes were done brilliantly. I eased into them and had vivid pictures running around in my head. This would make a great movie, by the way.


As far as the characters, I found each developed nicely. Obviously our main protagonist was done brilliantly. Ash had a rough past, and might have withdrawn a bit, but when push came to shove, he was there. Definitely a guy you can get behind and root for. I’m not character obsessed. I wish I was. But the world was enough to make up for it. As I said, the other characters were great as well. All felt fleshed out, each with their own voice, each having a great impact.


I’ll tell you, the last 80% flew by. There was so much going on, so many questions, so much treachery around every corner, that you actually felt the same despair as the characters. I wanted to cave to panic right along side Ash. Though it took me a long time to read it, it wasn’t the book’s fault. Life got in the way. When I did have time, I blew through it. 


So overall, if you’re hesitant about sci-fi, I’d recommend this. If you’re a hard core fan, I think you’d enjoy it. I plan on recommending it to quite a few people.

Source: http://booksbylkevans.com/2015/10/28/review-of-city-of-burning-shadows-by-barbara-j-webb