Kettricken's Reviews > A Shadow in Summer

A Shadow in Summer by Daniel Abraham
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Feb 25, 11

Read from January 01 to February 25, 2011

A Shadow in Summer feels like a fresh wind in the fantasy world. Different from all the pseudo-medieval quests, this book tells a subtle and intelligent tale in a surprisingly original setting.

The world Abraham creates, has elements that reflect a somewhat eastern atmosphere, still it's not a copy of a known society. For me, details like the way people interact made the world more realistic. For example, apart from language people communicate by means of bodily postures and gestures. Although the city itself is described well enough to form an image of it in your head, it's the characters that are at the heart of the book.
The various characters are portrayed three-dimensionally: no stereotypical characters, but people of flesh and bone with their worries and weaknesses. Heshai, for example is a powerful poet, but is portrayed as someone who carries an emotionally charged past with him. It's just one example, because all of the characters are very 'human' and free of cliche. That's why it was easy for me as a reader to relate to them.
Abraham takes his time to introduce the characters, that's why the story takes off slowly. Don't expect a swashbuckling rollercoaster of a story, because it's not a book like that. This book does have beautiful and intense moments, drama and intrigue, without unnecessary loose plotlines.
The plot is intelligent and written in a precise way.

In short, A Shadow in Summer is a fine debut, a good introduction to a series that doesn't seem to follow the usual fantasy tropes. It's one of the better character-driven fantasies I've read. Looking forward to the rest of the series!
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