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A Dance of Blades (Shadowdance #2)

4.01  ·  Rating Details  ·  5,198 Ratings  ·  118 Reviews
“Veldaren aches for a purge, and I will be the one to deliver it. Cry out at me if you wish, but it will change nothing. The gold is spent, the orders are given. Let the blood flow.”

It’s been five years since Haern faked his death to escape the tyranny of his father. He has become the Watcher, a vicious killer who knows no limits, and whose hatred of the thief guilds is un
Kindle Edition, 350 pages
Published April 11th 2011 by Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
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Sep 30, 2015 Mason rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult-fantasy
Where the first novel A Dance of Cloaks felt a tad cliche and reserved, A Dance of Blades throws caution to the wind by upping the stakes and getting to what feels like will be the true meat of the story this series will be centered around. Introducing more family and guild dynamics, aging the characters to a more relateable degree, and developing the female characters better than in the first novel. In the afterword, Dalglish says that this has been his favorite so far, that he doesn't really f ...more
Sep 20, 2015 Jason rated it it was amazing
Shelves: e-books, read-2015
4.5 Stars

A Dance of Blades is the rare middle book in a trilogy in that it was better than the first. This book is better for the writing, the maturing characters, the plot line, the action, and the outcome. I loved this book and this series. Dalglish has done an amazing job at creating a fantasy world that centers on assassins. There is dark magic that is done subtly. There is tons of swordplay. The story hinges on politics and it is done in a manner that is easy to follow. Even though there ar
May 22, 2015 Avery rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I cannot say much about this book, because it is a sequel, but all I can say is that this takes place five years after the events of the first book, A Dance of Cloaks. Alyssa Gemfort's son, Nathaniel, is kidnapped and, despite that being the main plot, Haren is still trying to fight off his demons--or demon that is being the son of the most famous and ruthless assassin in the land.

Overall, this was a strong sequel and did not fall flat, or act as a filler for the upcoming finale, like some seque
Dec 06, 2013 Mihir rated it really liked it

Full review over at Fantasy Book Critic

ANALYSIS: As with my re-review of A Dance Of Cloaks, I'm attempting to do a similar thing with this one as this book has changed the least with only some minor text changes. I read this book more than two years ago and since then have absolutely loved this series. The story begins nearly five years since the events shown in “A Dance of Cloaks”. The city of Veldaren is slowly recovering from the catastrophic night in which the Guilds decided to remove the Tr
Having read the original self published story I have to say...the professional editors have taken out all the appeal for me. I'm having a lot of trouble finishing this second book and probably won't continue the series. SAGA PUDDING! Have the book publishers followed the music industry? Cranking out what THEY think a good fantasy should be while disregarding innovation?

I originally liked the story specifically for the character of The Watcher. He was a Batman like character with mad skills in st
Leo (Rahien Sorei)
Jan 29, 2014 Leo (Rahien Sorei) rated it really liked it
Oh, boy! I do love it when I'm right! I finished Dalglish's first book filled with skepticism and my usual persnicketiness when confronted with a book I thought was good, but could have been better. Well, folks, I will gladly eat the words that doubted David's story. The second book reveals all!
Dance of Blades starts off with a bang and a knife to the gut - literally. Action packed and rife with the kind of murderous intrigue Dalglish had mentioned in his first Author's Note, Blades delivers whe
Robert Duperre
Jul 09, 2011 Robert Duperre rated it it was amazing
Rating: 5 out of 5

Sequels are tough business, especially when the first book of a series is extremely well written. There’s a ton of pressure to put out something equally as good, and there’s a good chance readers could walk away disappointed because the author wasn’t up to the challenge.

After reading A Dance of Blades by David Dalglish, the sequel to last year’s A Dance of Cloaks, I can tell you with all certainty that this particular writer accomplished just what he set out to do.

Blades starts
May 09, 2012 Simon rated it it was amazing
A Dance of Blades by David Dalglish is the second book of the Shadowdance Trilogy. After completing A Dance of Cloak, I debated whether to continue with the second book in the series or start the Half-Orc series, which is also written by the same author. I then learned that the Half-Orc series takes place after the events of the Shadowdance Trilogy and so I thought it best to finish the latter first. A Dance of Blades is definitely a worthy sequel to the first and with only one more book to go, ...more
Paul Nelson
Jun 05, 2012 Paul Nelson rated it it was amazing
Another excellent novel, not quite as good as the first novel. The watcher is a really good character and there are also some good additions such as deathmask, ghost and the mage mercenary. Again the action sequences are good and the plot also, I think everyone would agree the story needed more of the watcher and his father thren's relationship. Thren only comes into it in the last couple of chapters and I guess he cannot die due to his story in the half orc series which I really would like to r ...more
Nayan Patel
Nov 29, 2011 Nayan Patel rated it really liked it
This was another good book in this series.

This book is set 5 years after the setting of the first book (Dance of cloaks).

What I liked was the world setting and the action sequences. The story is also rightly paced - its not as slow as say Robert Jordan's writing and neither does it suffer from the "lack of depth" when authors try to write a fast paced book.

Would have liked to know more about the "magick" system though. But considering that I am yet to read the next installment in this series, I
Nov 06, 2014 Desiree rated it liked it
This was far better than the first one, although that isn't terribly high praise. It did keep me interested the entire way through. I still can't help comparing it to the Night Angel trilogy because they both have the well developed underworld and thieves guilds, which is maybe why it falls a little short for me. The Night Angel trilogy was so amazing that it would be difficult for anything else to hold up to the comparison.
Aug 16, 2015 Ashley rated it really liked it
Return once again to the dark streets of Veldaren, where money means loyalty and a knife in the back can change the course of history. It's now been five years since Thren Felhorn, criminal mastermind and leader of the Spider Guild, led his brethren in a bloody attack against the cities' ruling families. Ever since, the war between the Trifect and the Thieves Guilds has been increasing exponentially, the body count piling up and the streets and alleyways taking on a reddish hue. Haern, former pr ...more
Jun 17, 2014 Websterc rated it really liked it
This begins five years after the 1st book. It shows the growth of Haern, as well as many other characters. It is very much like the first book. It is fast paced and has a lot of action. The story line is moving well and I excited about the next book in the series.

I have recently discovered that he sold the rights of this series to a book publisher. So the third book that was named "A Dance of Death" has been renamed "A Dance of Mirrors". This was originally intended to be a trilogy. However, he
Tony Kelly
Mar 08, 2014 Tony Kelly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books-read
I liked the second book in the series much more than the first book. DoB focuses a lot more on some of the characters not really fleshed out in the first, in particular we see a much stronger Watcher as Thren was only marginally exposed. There are some underlying modern/political/ethical themes also running throughout the text such as the introduction of Ghost.

I am not sure what to think of a character called Deathmask. Without more knowledge of how magic works in the series or the significance
Dec 05, 2014 Jack rated it it was amazing
The second installment of David Dalglish's Shadowdance series has really rose the bar for my standards of sequels. This book was amazing. The way the author writes from so many points of view with seamless transitions is great. I always felt like i knew exactly what was going on and then I was thrown a curve ball and I couldn't put the book down again until I had answers. I haven't been able to get my hands onto the third book of this riveting series, but with how this one ended I'll be looking ...more
This book reminded me of how much I love fantasy. There were characters I loved, those I hated, and those I rooted for despite knowing it couldn't end well. The characters all exist in a gray zone, and I loved seeing new depth in one of them in particular! It also reminded me of d&d. I recommend this book for those who love fantasy, intrigue, multiple POVs and thieves.
May 18, 2016 nαт rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
still just as great as the first one, if not better.
there was great character development, and a lot of fighting action, it's was insane.
May 03, 2016 Tanja rated it it was amazing
Fantastic! I like how the characters developed. Reading the next one right away :)
Jun 01, 2015 Riki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A vastly better book than its predecessor.


The story is very cohesive and really well told. Plot moves at a rapid pace, and there was never a dull moment. Old characters stay true to themselves, and new characters are amusing. The prose is finally well enough written that it rarely takes me out of suspension of disbelief.


There are still places where modern idioms are used. It's a pet peeve of mine, and it rips me out of the story whenever I encounter one. I don't mind if it's simila
Jan 21, 2014 Nico rated it it was amazing
Again a fantastic book by David Dalglish. The pacing was as excellent as in the first installment. Very good action/fighting scenes. The newly introduced characters were fun as well. What I read in other reviews is that they are from Dalglish other Half-Orc series, so I guess I have to check these out later.
I enjoyed this even a bit more than the first book and am excited to see what happens in book number 3.
Tabitha Tomala
Jan 23, 2015 Tabitha Tomala rated it really liked it
This book was a much better read than the first. I feel as though the first book allowed the author to stretch his writing muscles in preparation for Dance of Blades.
We have a much more rounded character with Haern, and the immaturity seen in the previous book is gone, as this one takes place 5 years later. I do have to admit that some of his fight scenes confused me and I had to read them over several times to form a clear picture in my mind. I did like the originality behind some of his moves
Mar 02, 2015 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I actually didn't know how many stars to give this book and I still don't know.

When you reach the second book in a serie I think there's always a chance that the book will be more calm, I guess. "A Dance of Blades" is no different, in the first half of I was kind of swinging between thinking I missed more action and wondering what it was buidling up to.

I should probably have re-read "A Dance of Cloaks" before starting "A Dance of Blades" since there were some characters I had forgotten and some
Apr 05, 2014 Chris rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
When I reviewed A Dance of Cloaks, the first book in this series, I said Haern was an interesting character who had a lot of room to grow. Unfortunately, in the intervening five years, Haern has rebelled against his father's evil ways by, well, killing people. He operates under the delusion that by becoming "The Watcher" who kills members of all the rival guilds, he can get them to kill each other off eventually. Not surprisingly, his plan is failing and he's also become quite lonely, living on ...more
Quan Le
Mar 19, 2014 Quan Le rated it really liked it
Ten minutes after finishing this book, I had no choice but to write a review.

To keep things simple, I started this series with skepticism. It was one of those books that you look at with interest but had a feeling it would be too drawn out or repetitive. Granted, I didn't consume these books, but at every turn a new event would occur that piqued my interest. It constantly gave me something to want, and at many points of the story, I couldn't help but feel sympathy for the characters.

Things I l
Cassiopeia's Moon
Apr 06, 2014 Cassiopeia's Moon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fantasy readers, Action lovers

So, in this second book of the Shadowdance series, we meet Aaron again, but this time he uses the name Haern. Five years have passed since the Kensgold when Thren failed to win the war.
The Trifect and the Guilds still tip toe around each other, none of them daring to strike. Thren's power have lessened but his reputation still lives. And there is the Watcher - a mysterious, skilled shadow of a man - killing members of the guilds but for what reason?
Dance of Blades is a worthy sequel to the first book in this series by Mr. Dalglish, Dance of Cloaks. Although both novels may seem very similar to some readers, I feel the author gained much confidence in his own writing and in his story with this second book. The story was more structured than the first and the story lines presented better, which makes for an easier and more enjoyable read. Also, the atmosphere was somewhat closer to what one would expect of a novel about the various guilds (t ...more
Joe Slavinsky
Jan 23, 2016 Joe Slavinsky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Volume 2, of the "Shadowdance" series, becomes more about Haern, The Watcher. With his father, the leader of the Spider Guild, thinking him dead, Aaron becomes Haern, and single-handedly attempts to stop the war between the Guilds, and the Trifect, by killing as many of the guild as possible. He goes through a lot of grief, and anguish about the killing, while dealing with many who are after his life, as well as being framed for the kidnapping, and murder, of the son of one of the Trifect member ...more
Dec 28, 2013 Maxine rated it really liked it
A Dance of Blades begins five years after the events of A Dance of Cloaks. Valderan is still recovering from the night Thren led the thief guilds in the ill-fated attack on the Trifect. The thief guilds still survive although much weakened. Although the Trifect did much better, it still doesn’t have the strength to completely wipe out the guilds so, although the war between the two is much weaker, it still continues .

Haern, once Thren’s son Aaron and now known as the Watcher is waging his own p
Dec 29, 2013 Lucinda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: review-written
A Dance of Blades is a good "second book" in the ShadowDance story arc.

These books are set in the city of Veldaren, currently being torn apart by a long war between the merchant ruling houses (the Trifect)and the Criminal underworld (the thieves' guilds). A war that has been allowed to continue because of a weak and corrupt monarchy.

The first book, A Dance of Cloaks, focused on the events and people whose actions molded Aaron Felhorn, son of the most powerful criminal Guildmaster, into "Haern t
Derrik Peterson
I liked this sequel a lot. It was definitely a bit darker in some places but it had an overall sense of the build up before a storm. In an authors note following the book, Dalglish admitted that he purposely left Thren out of this book for the most part to have him be the ultimate ''evil/villain'' that needed to hover over Haern for the finale. I digged the relationships that the watcher had and how old enemies became temporary allies. It showed depth to the guild ruled world that these people w ...more
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Other Books in the Series

Shadowdance (6 books)
  • A Dance of Cloaks (Shadowdance, #1)
  • A Dance of Mirrors (Shadowdance, #3)
  • A Dance of Shadows (Shadowdance, #4)
  • A Dance of Ghosts (Shadowdance, #5)
  • A Dance of Chaos (Shadowdance, #6)

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