Kelly Martin's Reviews > Shadow's Son

Shadow's Son by Jon Sprunk
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Jun 23, 2011

it was amazing
Read in June, 2011

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 a lot of direct cross-over between any of these works. All of these stories have very different locals, tone, flavor, maturity/grit level, plot, and especially protagonists. As someone writing in the same genre space I am glad to see there is plenty of room for differences of expression and fresh interpretations of character and story.

On a scale of "grit" I would place my works at a firm PG, Jon Sprunk at a comfortable PG-13, and Brent Weeks at a somewhat harsh R in terms of language, character behavior, and action elements. As mentioned by some other reviewers here Jon Sprunk has taken his story into a few gritty elements, but I did not find that he reveled in drowning the story with the "darkness" of an anti-hero protagonist. As best I would characterize his protagonist as an intially reluctant hero who finds their way onto the path of full fledged hero.

Some other reviews have found that Shadow's Son has fallen into the "fantasy trope trap". Personally I beg to differ with that evaluation. While it is true that elements of some fantasy tropes are present, they are not used in a tired and stale way by Jon Sprunk. I still found the story plenty fresh and entertaining without seeming like a repeat of someone else's story. I also like the fact that Jon is willing to write the female secondary characters (and some tertiary female characters) as not being helpless plucky airheaded wilting flowers awaiting rescue at every turn.

My bottom line opinion: The story is fun to read, the characters easily accessible, the plot is fresh, and the writing style is apt at bringing the story to life. In other words, it is the kind of book I'm usually looking to read. I'd have no problem recommending this story to fans of fantasy books, or in particular the sub-genre of "Shadow Assassins". I'm looking forward to picking up more of the books in this series just as soon as I finish writing the next book in my own series.
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