Review | The Shadow of What Was Lost by James Islington

Shadow LostThe Shadow of What Was Lost by James Islington
The Licanius Trilogy #1
Epic Fantasy
Orbit | May 9, 2017

About the Book: 

It has been twenty years since the end of the war. The dictatorial Augurs – once thought of almost as gods – were overthrown and wiped out during the conflict, their much-feared powers mysteriously failing them. Those who had ruled under them, men and women with a lesser ability known as the Gift, avoided the Augurs’ fate only by submitting themselves to the rebellion’s Four Tenets. A representation of these laws is now written into the flesh of any who use the Gift, forcing those so marked into absolute obedience.

As a student of the Gifted, Davian suffers the consequences of a war fought – and lost – before he was born. Despised by most beyond the school walls, he and those around him are all but prisoners as they attempt to learn control of the Gift. Worse, as Davian struggles with his lessons, he knows that there is further to fall if he cannot pass his final tests. 

But when Davian discovers he has the ability to wield the forbidden power of the Augurs, he sets into motion a chain of events that will change everything. To the north, an ancient enemy long thought defeated begins to stir. And to the west, a young man whose fate is intertwined with Davian’s wakes up in the forest, covered in blood and with no memory of who he is…


The Shadow of What Was Lost… what a mouthful… anyway, The Shadow of What Was Lost was a breath of fresh air. It was almost like having a wound soothed. I thought I was past my ability to read books like this one, but apparently I should never underestimate myself.

Actually, not only did The Shadow of What Was Lost reinvigorate my love for epic, looong books, I also think it helped to pull me out of a small reading slump.

Apparently you just need to step outside the usual for a cure.

One of my favorite parts of huge books, like this one, is in how wide the cast of characters can be. Along with Davian, Wirr, and Asha, there were so many other people along the way, and each of them was important to the story. Obviously, since it’s only book 1 in a trilogy, not all questions are answered, but I also didn’t feel manipulated by the author at all. The story was told gracefully and it ended at a good point, leaving me wanting more, but also satisfied.

With huge helping of adventure, it was the perfect Fantasy book I could sink my teeth into.

There was even a smidgen of a romance which, I confess, will almost always make a book more palatable for me.

I’ve have noticed something new about myself lately… When I was looking for a Fantasy book to read I realized I wanted a story with a male lead. I think it comes from being exhausted by all the books coming out now pushing the female chosen one, warrior, assassin, sorcerer. Especially in the YA stories. Every single time I pick one up it feels like a repeat of something I’ve already read. I consider myself a feminist. I appreciate and understand why we want to push these images out into the world. I just want to read something without feeling the agenda of the author.

Maybe James Islington has an agenda. Maybe I just didn’t pick up on it. And that’s okay. I’m glad I didn’t pick up on it. I just got to read a good story, which left Birdie a happy reader.


About Birdie

Don’t look for her in any bar, club, crazy raging party, or anywhere there may be a large gathering of strangers. She’s more likely to be found tucked into the corner of the couch watching one of her favorite shows, or preferably under a comforter with her current novel.

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