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Shadow's Son (Shadow Saga #1)

3.59  ·  Rating Details ·  3,837 Ratings  ·  191 Reviews
Some fantasy novels are gritty and dark, and some are absolute murder...

Treachery and corruption lurk at the end of every street, in the holy city of Othir. It’s the perfect place for a freelance assassin with no loyalties and even fewer scruples.

Caim makes—or perhaps more accurately, takes—his living on the edge of a blade. Murder is a risky business, but so far he reckon
Hardcover, 294 pages
Published July 8th 2010 by Gollancz (first published January 1st 2010)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Apr 01, 2012 seak rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010, arc-review
I admit, I have a penchant for assassins. Am I the only one? Looking at the amount of fantasy and science fiction novels revolving around assassins, I'm gonna take a stab in the dark and say, nope.

In the holy city of Othir, treachery and corruption lurk at the end of every street, just the place for a freelance assassin with no loyalties and few scruples. Caim makes his living on the edge of a blade, but when a routine job goes south, he is thrust into the middle of an insidious plot.

Pitted aga
Jul 15, 2015 Bookwraiths rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, library
Originally reviewed at Bookwraiths Reviews

After reading and enjoying the first two novels of Jon Sprunk’s Book of the Black Earth, I discovered that he had already completed a previous series: the Shadow Saga trilogy. Naturally, I had to give this assassin tale a try.

What I found in Shadow’s Son was a well-written tale, which masterfully interweaves intrigue, action, magic, and interesting characters as it propels itself forward through a fully realized sword-and-sorcery world at a breakneck pa
May 13, 2012 Contrarius rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I wanted to like this book. Really, I did. I read it for a fantasy book-of-the-month group, and Jon Sprunk seems like a nice guy, and I've got nothing against fantasy-assassin lit, but…Shadow's Son is just badly written. Really badly written. Bad.

I'm not going to post any big spoilers here without spoiler tags, so don't be nervous. But, in order to demonstrate the pervasive badness of this book, I will be posting some short quotes and such. Don't worry, I won't ruin any important surprises.

Oct 02, 2014 Kaora rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shadow's Son reminds me of Night Angel.

Caim is an assassin, taking lives for coin in the city of Othir. But when he is recruited on short notice to take over a job left by a rival assassin, he shows up to find that he has been set up and it will take all his power and skill to discover who is behind it all.

I was honestly surprised in reading this that it was listed as a Young Adult novel. It does have some darker themes, including rape and murder, but is a fast paced fantasy novel that is great
Such good fun! I really enjoyed this fantasy adventure. It's not the best thing I've ever read but it was fantastic for what it was. It had a nice dark streak that I always appreciate in fantasy and although there were some fairly bleak images and ideas it came across as a fairly hopeful book in the end.

The obvious plot points weren't all taken. It wasn't exactly what you expected at every turn, but wasn't exactly the opposite either. Both can get predictable and boring which this wasn't. I'll
Marcus Gipps
Aug 28, 2010 Marcus Gipps rated it did not like it
Oh bugger, I've just lost the review I'd almost finished writing of this book thanks to bad mouse control and unnecessary panic. Ho hum.

Anyway, yes, another Gollancz debut. Once I had realised that my holiday was going to be fairly genre heavy, I decided on an SF/Fantasy pattern. I also fancied a light/heavy pattern - I generally like my books to involve some thought on the part of the reader, but on the other hand, what is a holiday for if not to read something a bit more trashy than usual whil
Sep 05, 2010 J.M. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Joe Abercrombie, Fans of David Gemmell, Fans of Assassin's Creed, Fans of Jerry Bruckheimer
Recommended to J.M. by: Jon Sprunk
SHADOW'S SON by new author Jon Sprunk is written in a fast-paced, take-no-prisoners style that, at least to me, evokes a feeling that reminds me of the popular video game, "Assassin's Creed." Not a bad thing! Like the game, SHADOW'S SON is a thrill ride from page one and doesn't let up.

The tale centers around Caim, an angst-ridden, dual knife-wielding contract killer, and Josephine, a pampered nobleman's daughter who shows more fire and mettle than expected. There's also Kit, a third protagonist
A really good book, fast paced, full of intrigue and action, no long descriptions or brooding. Caim and Kit were likable from the very beginning. Josey behaved like a spoiled brat at first but she matured quickly and she turned out to be a strong-willed, courageous woman. I'm curious about Caim's powers and I would love to read more about his quest to the North.
May 22, 2012 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Looking for a quick and exciting read a while back I cast my eyes over my ever growing list of books I should read some time (better known as my Goodreads to-read shelf) and settled on Jon Sprunk’s Shadow’s Son. Given my penchant for character-based fantasy I thought it might be a good fit. As it turns out I was right and Shadow’s Sonmakes for an energetic albeit somewhat dark read. Caim is a haunted young man; both literally and figuratively. He is plagued by the memory of his famiy’s death whi ...more

I shouldn't like this book as much as I do. I should be writing about how many fantasy cliches it has and how unimaginative the narrative is, but I'm not. Instead I'm going to write a review about how damn fun Jon Sprunk's Shadow's Son was to read.

Caim is a knife for hire and he's got the reputation as one of the best. Orphaned at a young age his only companion is a woman named Kit. Unfortunately, he's the only one who can see her. As an assassin, there's
May 04, 2012 Algernon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
[7/10] A really fast and entertaining debut.
I didn't care much for the opening chapters. The story is rather standard: an assassin with a mysterious past, some fishy political maneuvers, a perky damzel, a generic city with dark alleyways on one side and sumptuous mansions on the other. The prose is functional, but not the kind that wins Pullitzer prizes.

Regarding the cover : I think the cowled figure with weapon in hand has been overused in the past 5 years or so, and I wish publishers would co
Nicoleta (The Cover Hoarder)
DNF 37 %


You'd think that adult fantasy writers would actually give more thought to their strories and actually manage to write something the least bit interesting. It turns out the idea of assassins is far too awesomesauce to be reworked into something more interesting beyond itself.

May contain spoilers! Read at your own risk!

What I mean by this is the fact that the author, Jon Sprunk may have been infatuated with the idea of assassins and shadow magic and whatnot, but didn't seem to hold the
Scott Marlowe
Dec 17, 2014 Scott Marlowe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shadow's Son by Jon Sprunk is both the author's debut novel and the beginning of a new trilogy about the principal character, Caim, an assassin with a noble heart. The character is unique in a couple of ways: he has a ghostly familiar in the form of Kit who only he can see and, also, he possesses a mysterious power that manifests itself in the form of shadows.

Told in the vein of Paul S. Kemp's Erevis Cale or R.A. Salvatore's Drizzt Do'Urden, Caim is a man who has taken up the knives of an assass
Excellent debut from Jon Sprunk grabs you from the first page and never lets go till the end; the subject is very conventional,kind of like the Brent Weeks trilogy but without the panache of that, but the writing is excellent, among the most energetic in fantasy from what I read so far and that elevates an otherwise very good but generic assassin fantasy one level. An A+ for the style and the series became another get/read asap the next installment
I enjoyed this novel although I doubt it will remain a memorable novel. I found it a curious thing really. A novel well written enough that it would not be discarded as despicable and yet lacks the x factor that locked me onto it as a grand novel. I probably would only read the sequel if I was out of books to read and needed another light read...
Ranting Dragon
Dec 21, 2010 Ranting Dragon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: guests

This is Jon Sprunk’s debut novel, and it’s a dark read. This book may look small, but once you begin, it is apparent that this is an intelligent read. I should note right away that if you aren’t a blood-splatter and guts type of person, you might want either to brace yourself or skip it. Sprunk truly does give a blow-by-blow, or should I say a blade-by-blade, account. There are a few twists in this story I wasn’t expecting, but I got caught up in this assa
Jun 07, 2010 Stefan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
You could make an argument for establishing a new sub-genre called something like "assassin fantasy," given the amount of novels currently on the shelves with heroes in that grim and surprisingly popular profession. So when the cover of Shadow's Son, Jon Sprunk's debut novel, shows a man wearing a hood and flashing a set of matching knives, it's not hard to predict the main character's occupation before even opening the book.

And yes, right in the opening scene, the novel's protagonist — Caim — i
Lyle Appleyard
May 10, 2013 Lyle Appleyard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I received a copy of this book as part of the Goodreads Firstreads Giveaway.

I have always enjoyed fantasy novels. This novel is more than just a fantasy novel. It is also a political thriller. There was no quest. There was double dealings, killings and a hidden conspiracy. This brought the fantasy novel to different level. There were the shadow creatures and Kit that still made it a fantasy movel.

Caim was a greeat anti-hero. He was a hired killer that cared about no human. He trusted no human. H
I honestly didn't think this sort of fantasy got published any more - the pedestrian, cliche-loaded, mediocre-tolkien/mythology-aspirant sort. At least the plot moves fast, though I suspect it has to or otherwise you'd be able to see daylight through the holes that turn into lace. Characters made of thin cardboard in utterly familiar shapes, a brutal dichotomy of good and evil, and a setting that's both generic and wildly anachronistic in its influences. Sort of like in was written from an unhol ...more
Jan 03, 2015 Nima rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, dark, 2012
utólag csillagozom, a következő kötet fényében.
visszaolvasva a posztom, amikor olvastam, eléggé bejött, viszont azóta eltelt két év, és nemcsak megkopott a könyv, de totál elfelejtettem szinte mindent, ami itt történt. egyedül Kit és Caim maradt meg, mindenki másra csak rácsodálkoztam.
I always like assassin books and this one hits the mark. A good blend of magic, mystery and killing. I was intrigued by the magic and I hope there is more to it in the sequel. My only gripe is that I wish it was a bit longer and I would have like more to the backstory and history of the world. A solid piece I will be reading the sequel.
Aug 10, 2011 Travis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, fantasy
This actually got 4.5/5 Quills on my site! Hope you check out the full review below. This is a great start to a trilogy that is full of great characters and espionage. This is definitely one to check out! Don't miss it.

Review of Shadow's Son by Jon Sprunk
Lady K
Dec 30, 2010 Lady K rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy

L’histoire est très intéressante. Je n’irai pas jusqu’à dire qu’elle est innovante, mais j’ai passé un très bon moment de lecture ! Même si j’ai trouvé qu’au début il y avait trop de politique, de personnages présents sans aucune présentation avant et pas assez d’explications. C’est assez handicapant quand il est question de géographie, sans carte et sans explication. Il est difficile de visualiser ce nouveau monde. La fin du tome ravira tous ceux qui n’ai
Nov 10, 2012 Lee rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Story: 3/5
1: Being Vague, rambling plot with no little believable storyline
5: Ripping yarn, clever, thought provoking

Another Assassin story in the same vane is Brett Weeks. The basis of the story is your typical assassin has tasks, starts to question choices in life, meets a pretty girl, helps overthrow corrupt government and changes life. You have probably read this story many times before. There is rally nothing new here, it was just ok. The magic aspect is not explained at all, it is just t
Kelly Martin
Jun 23, 2011 Kelly Martin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I bumped into Jon Sprunk at Pittsburgh Comicon in April 2011 and after talking about some of the similar themes in our works (we both have written fantasy stories about "shadow assassins") we ended up exchanging copies of our respective books with each other.

First off let me start by saying I found Shadow's Son a worthy entry into the currently popular "Shadow Assassin" genre populated by myself and several other authors (such as Brent Weeks). I'm also comforted that in each case I haven't seen
Jun 04, 2010 Cindy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, read-in-2010
Shadow's Son is attention grabbing, fast paced, and an overall stand out fantasy novel.

From the moment I picked up the book it was virtually impossible to put down. The writing and set up of the novel/chapters really played major factors in keeping this a fast paced novel.

The novel is set up at just about 300 pages and it's a perfect novel to keep any readers attention. Jon Sprunk knows just how to describe a scene, character interaction, or important plot element without dragging it out. There
Guy Haley
Hyper-assassin discovers magical lineage.

Much tub-thumping was displayed by Gollancz on the back of my review copy of Sprunk’s first book. “Are we not those who delivered unto you Abercrombie? Behold: Sprunk!” (We paraphrase). Fair play, Gollancz debut folks, but Sprunk suffers by comparison; he lacks Abercrombie’s easy swagger.

There are similarities: revenge, conspiracy and a post-Roman Empire-ish fantasy world, otherwise Sprunk’s walking out the old ‘But I didn’t realise I was the scion of gre
Bryan Schmidt
May 03, 2012 Bryan Schmidt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent debut. Sprunk does so many things right, from using sophisticated vocabulary just enough to add flavor but still be discerned in context and never too much to distract from the narrative. His sword fighting scenes are top notch, as if he himself were an experienced fencer (he says he's not). His protagonist is an anti-hero, a noble born orphan assassin, but unlike so many, Sprunk counters him perfectly with a truly heroic companion in Josephine, a woman whose nobility and honor and ...more
Apr 19, 2012 Riki rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fast-paced fantasy with plenty of exciting action. The magic used in the book is fairly cool, and reminiscent of Nightcrawler from the Marvel comics, as well as Shadowalkers from D&D/Forgotten Realms. Kit, a familiar-like ghost who accompanies the protagonist Caim is a really cool character. Her role as an unseen character reminds me of Uncle Virgil from the Dragon and Thief series.

The characters' personalities are pretty straight-forward, and as cliche as the plot. Assassi
Jared Millet
It seems like I've been reading a lot of sword n' sorcery lately, but nothing modern that was such a rousing, uncomplicated, straight-up adventure as Shadow's Son. It even opens up with what I'd characterize as a James Bond pre-credit sequence, for Pete's sake.

This is a book that gets straight to the point and sticks with it all the way through. Caim is an assassin haunted by 1) the murder of his father and 2) an invisible waif who only he can see. He also has mysterious shadow-based powers that
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Fantasy author living in central Pennsylvania. I love to travel (especially places with old ruins), watch football (American NFL, not that soccer stuff), drink (rum and coke, preferred), and enjoy life.
More about Jon Sprunk...

Other Books in the Series

Shadow Saga (3 books)
  • Shadow's Lure (Shadow Saga, #2)
  • Shadow's Master (Shadow Saga, #3)

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“Why is it that if a lord or a king sends you to kill a man, it's somehow noble? But if you do this for yourself, it's murder?” 6 likes
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