My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Arbethol Nauile is the promised saviour and the rightful heir to the throne of the Nuadaim. He just doesn't know it yet. When he wakes up in a mausoleum not knowing his own name, or anything that has happened to him in the past 300+ years, it looks as if the ancient prophecy has failed, and the Neglafem's sacrifice to protect him has been in vain.
Elise is more than ready to give up on the prophecy and leave the strange man to fend for himself after watching her grandfather, Iliam, being killed on the day of the King's Presentation, but her grandfather's sacrifice and faith means more to her than anything in the world. Leading Nauile out of the citadel where they were beset by the enemy, she is soon taken hostage by the enemy to be used against Nauile.
Because Arbethol is remembering things in flashes as well as being told them by the people he meets, you do get a rather good background of the Nuadaim over the course of the book, usually when you need to know it. The list of names and terms at the back was also quite useful, though a little clunky to refer to on the kindle (that really only works well on paperbacks). The world is pretty well-built, and the narrative is well-written. The characters seem a little flat and one-sided at times - it's not to say that they weren't well-developed. It's just that they felt a little stereotypical, especially Elise. Other than her kidnapping being the catalyst that launches Nauile to start a war against the enemy, I don't really see why he falls in love with her or how. I guess traipsing through the woods together might make you attracted to one another, but... that was it?
Shadow Swarm is very strongly Christian allegory - I could smell it from the middle of the book, though that's probably because I'm extremely sensitive to these kinds of things. It doesn't really detract from the story itself; it's only just a little predictable at the end.
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About the book: Aberthol Nauile doesn’t know that he once led legions in a war that raged since the dawn of time, against an enemy that cannot be killed. He doesn’t know that he rode on a dragon with his father, and saw his mother die while giving birth to him. He doesn’t know that he once saved his great, great, great grandfather by defeating the black enemy on the slopes of a volcano. Aberthol doesn’t know that he beheld the creation of the world, as his grandfather eight generations before took the planet ravaged by a war of the gods and began anew. All he knows is that he awoke in a coffin in a tomb, and now the whole world thinks he is their savior. All he really wants to know is his name, and why he keeps hearing voices in his head.
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About the author: D. Robert Pease has been interested in creating worlds since childhood. From building in the sandbox behind his house, to drawing fantastical worlds with paper and pencil, there has hardly been a time he hasn't been off on some adventure in his mind, to the dismay of parents and teachers alike. Also, since the moment he could read, books have consumed vast swaths of his life. From The Mouse and the Motorcycle, to The Lord of the Rings, worlds just beyond reality have called to him like Homer's Sirens. It's not surprising then he chose to write stories of his own. Each filled with worlds just beyond reach, but close enough we can all catch a glimpse of ourselves in the characters he brings to life.
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