Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Dance of Cloaks (Shadowdance, #1)” as Want to Read:
A Dance of Cloaks (Shadowdance, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

A Dance of Cloaks

(Shadowdance #1)

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  11,203 ratings  ·  565 reviews
Thren Felhorn is the greatest assassin of his time. Marshalling the thieves’ guilds under his control, he declares war against the Trifect, an allegiance of wealthy and powerful nobles.

Aaron Felhorn has been groomed since birth to be Thren’s heir. Sent to kill the daughter of a priest, Aaron instead risks his own life to protect her from the wrath of his guild. In doing so
Paperback, 448 pages
Published 2013 by Orbit Books (first published August 16th 2010)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about A Dance of Cloaks, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
David Padowicz I consider this book to be closer to YA, but I don't believe it's categorized as YA. It does include some violence and killing, but I think it's…moreI consider this book to be closer to YA, but I don't believe it's categorized as YA. It does include some violence and killing, but I think it's suitable for a teen.(less)
Rick Smith Not a lot of romance little bit of puppy love.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.74  · 
Rating details
 ·  11,203 ratings  ·  565 reviews

Sort order
Nov 07, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
3 Stars

Decent is probably the best word I can use to describe this book. It isn't bad, but there wasn't anything outstanding about it I could point to either. Still, if assassins/thief guilds are your thing it may be worth giving it a shot.

The plot focuses on a conflict between the thieves guilds of Veldaren, a city that is the primary setting for the story, and the merchant leaders who rule the city. The overall feel I got from the book was a bit of a cross between R.A. Salvatore's Drizzt books
Executive Summary: A premise that should be right up my alley, just seemed to fall flat in its execution.

Full Review
I was only vaguely aware of this book when it was chosen by a Kickstarter backer for the April Sword & Laser pick. It wasn't on my To-Read list though. A quick scan of my friends showed people who mostly weren't that impressed.

That said, I've surprised at times by books that were chosen, and I try to always read the S&L pick, even if I'm not that into it.

Most people who
Mogsy (MMOGC)
Giving this an average rating because I thought it was a pretty average book -- not bad, but not great either.

Right away, I sensed that Dalglish was attempting for a "Song of Ice and Fire" feel for this book. The title format as well certain phrases and names dropped as homages hinted at this, but he also states as much in his afterword.

This was both good and bad. On the one hand, I knew I was going to be in for some political intrigue; on the other, I also knew I was going to have to prepare m
Ashley Daviau
I'm left feeling quite conflicted after finishing this book. I did throughly enjoyed this book but I was also in a constant state of confusion while reading it. There are so damn many names and places and it all moves so quickly that it's insanely difficult to keep everything straight. But part of what I enjoyed about the book was how fast paced it was. Hence the feeling conflicted. Despite all of that, it was an excellent and deliciously vicious story and I'm definitely looking forward to the s ...more
Jan 15, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, kindle
Ugh what a terrible book. One of my New Year's resolutions this year was to give authors more of a chance. Especially indie authors. This book definitely tried my patience and I had to force myself through it. I'm now regretting that resolution because Dance of Cloaks never got better, the ending wasn't satisfying and it was a total waste of time. I should have gone with my instinct on this one and put it down after the first few chapters but I figured, well, this book has a pretty high rating o ...more
Sep 03, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
CLASSIFICATION: Featuring a world wherein there are multiple factions at work, this book is a dark, character-driven, gritty fantasy novel in the vein of George R.R. Martin, Brent Weeks and Peter V. Brett.

FORMAT/INFO: A Dance of Cloaks is 217 pages divided over twenty nine numbered chapters with a prologue & epilogue. Narration is in the third person via several different point-of-views, both major characters and supporting ones as well, including the main protagonist Aaron Felhom, Thren Fel
I have to say that this story didn't get me that excited. To be honest, I think a large part of that is because of the narration, which is some of the worst I have heard. The narrator is fine with the story itself, but his characters are just awful and it makes you cringe so much that it becomes unlistenable. If you ever wondered what a Lebanese/Scottish/Slavic accent sounds like, you'll hear it this story, just before it changes into a northern English with a hint of god knows what. He just fai ...more
Sep 21, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Great cover, okay story.

The concept was great, just wish more time had been spent fleshing out the characters and the world. The characters all had potential to be very interesting, but never fully came to life for me - except maybe Aaron. His conversion was partially what kept me reading, although I think some of his experiences were a little unbelievable and rushed, especially in the very beginning.
I was prepared for many a violent and bloody run-in, but there were a couple scenes I could hav
Dec 19, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: no-go
I understand the difficulty with self-publishing and the burning desire to have your work out there, for the whole world to enjoy. So, self-published works, especially debuts, will always get a lot of slack from me. Unfortunately, the edition I read was a republication through Orbit, done with the cooperation of a professional editor, and which according to the author is a better version than what was originally self-published. I dread to think what that self-published version read like, because ...more
May 17, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy

Dance of Cloaks by David Dalglish is dark and bloody delve into the world of assassins. If you are one to enjoy the grimdark path that a book like this will take then definitely give it a shot. Personally, I really enjoyed it. It’s a book that sucked me in and kept me turning pages. I love unpredictability; I love books where any characters safety is not a sure thing. In this, Dance of Cloaks succeeds extraordinarily well. It is not as complex as M
First posted at Fantasy Review Barn

Update 10/4/13- I received a copy of the now traditionally published version from NetGalley. At the 40% mark I realized I had no desire to reread the whole book. I checked my book marks from the old version and skipped around the new and didn't find any major differences. All the previous complaints were still there, as well as the things I liked the first time around. Therefore my review from December (seen below) still stands. (If my review includes details t
Aug 23, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

Started off extremely slow but progressively got better. Definitely an interesting read with lots of action and suspense but the amount of characters and details in the beginning made the story drag on and on. I enjoyed the latter part of the book so much more and would continue the series!
Nov 01, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm really glad I read this one for two big reasons:

1) This was a fun book with tons of interesting things going on. Dalglish presents a gritty story revolving around a bunch of characters that you love to hate ... or just plain hate, which are the kind of characters I tend to enjoy reading about. Heroes are boring. Give me a cast of selfish pricks to read about anytime. :)

2) A Dance of Cloaks felt like the kind of book I'm trying to write myself, and I'll be happy if my story comes off half as
Paul Nelson
Jan 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012-books-read
Really enjoyed this, in the same vein as Jon Sprunks shadow series but grittier with more sword play.
Dalglish writes some of the best fight scenes I've ever read. Not the grandiose battle scenes of an Erikson but gritty close action stuff.
The main characters are portrayed with depth and feeling and each is given a story that we follow throughout the book. I especially liked that the women were strong characters and some of them could fight as well as or better than the men, especially the namele
Mar 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dark-fantasy
REACH THE ZENITH !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It's great and extremely rare when you find a author who is extraordinarily eccentric .
And David Dalglish is exactly that .

This was a engrossing and absorbing book. I really enjoy reading books where the character's are so vulnerable , raw and exposed . Unpredictability is a definite turn on and turn pager ! Many of the character's are faced with faith and redemption that was not cajoling or contemptuous .

Spellbind and thrilling this was a tight and r
Robert Duperre
Oct 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rating: 5 out of 5

It’s nice when you find an author whose work you adore. When this happens, you gleefully anticipate each coming release, and dive into every volume without the “I hope this doesn’t suck” feeling that can come about when opening a virtual unknown.

Luckily for me, I’ve found a couple new favorites over the last few months. At the top of that list is David Dalglish, he of the half-orc series I’ve been raving about on this site (and others) since I first opened “Weight of Blood”. No
aPriL does feral sometimes


This review may sound like a hater's, but I didn't hate this. Not exactly. It was, like, maybe for a young audience, perhaps boys, looking for a lightweight but violent fast read, who are also starting the turbulence and depressions of puberty. It isn't bad or too creepy or nasty for most kids who play modern video games, but perhaps sensitive (or literary) readers might feel this is equal to eating plain popcorn on top of white bread with a thin bloody jam. It makes that kind of impressio
JJ DeBenedictis
Nov 27, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Update: Okay, so I got through the book, albeit slowly (11 days to get from page 83 to page 445), and I had thought that if I managed to finish it, I might bump my star rating up a notch. But no. I still think this is a weak book. It's not terrible, but it's cheesy and confusing and the action felt purposeless despite all the violence and drama.

To be honest, the part of the book I liked best was the author's note at the end, which is quite sweet and absolutely brimming with gratitude. In fact,
Oct 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites


ANALYSIS: I read this book last year however due to certain personal reasons could not get the review published. While I was reading it, I was certainly struck by its fast pace, constant plot switches and mainly the unpredictability it brought to the table. A bit of history before one reads this book, the tale is set in the world of Dezrel, the same one of the Half-Orc series however any new reader can jump into this book and have no problem with it [I did the same]. It focuses on th
Greg (adds 2 TBR list daily) Hersom
Despite this book being personally recommended to me I was on the fence about starting it for a long time before I gave it a go. Recent experiences have left me skeptical of self-published or Indee authors especially when they’ve generated mass amounts of 5 star reviews. But I'm happy to have had Mr. Dalglish bring me around.

I was half expecting something like Brent Weeks' Night Angle -which I'm not a fan of. Admittedly, A Dance of Cloaks is similar story to Weeks' Way of Shadows but the writin
Jul 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015-read
3,5 stars, leaning towards 4 stars.

Don't expect anything innovative, but do expect a well written page turner.
Sep 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books, read-2015
4 Stars

What a fabulous and fun ride is Dance of Cloaks by David Dalglish. Book one of the Shadowdance series starts out strong right from the start. I wish that I could have read this book straight through, but a busy schedule made me read it slowly over a couple of weeks.

Dalglish has created a wonderful fantasy that center on a Thieves Guild and our main protagonist, the young Aaron. There is a great deal of killing, sneaking, hiding, and sabotage. It is great. I loved the small doses of magic
Jan 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Fantastic read! It reminded me a lot of the Night Angle trilogy by Brent Weeks and if you liked it this is definitely worth a try. I absolutely loved the pacing, especially the first 100 pages suck you in brilliantly and from there on the story keeps unpredictably turning and twisting making it a super fun read. David Dalgish starts to build an interesting world, limited to the city it plays in though. Hopefully we get to see a little bit more of the world in coming books.
The characters were gre
There were a lot of mixed feelings from the Sword & Laser book club Goodreads group about this book, the pick for April, 2014. Actually, to be fair, the feelings were mostly negative in the group. I don't know if knowing that as I started to read the book lowered my expectations, or maybe I'm just a bit more forgiving for first time authors...I thought this book was pretty okay for a first-timer and liked it reasonably well.

One of the main complaints in the S&L group was that it was qui
Sep 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hachetteau, year-2013
Inspired in part by the great George R. R. Martin and the incredible Brent Weeks, the first book of David Dalglish's Shadowdance series is a page-turner, make no mistake!  Though never lacking in action, blood, torture and political intrigue (all the things I love), I found the character development a tad lacking in A Dance of Cloaks, and look forward to more rounded sequels.

Thren Felhorn controls the Spider Guild - he's a powerful man who specialises in assassination, theft, and other unsavoury
Darren Hagan
Oct 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing. The action/fight scenes were so good and the characters are badass. It was honestly just a pleasure to read.
A Drop of Romeo
Jul 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reviewed for A Drop of Romeo

The way Dalglish came up with this story was thinking about which character in his Half-Orc series would make a good side-story - and his one side-story somehow ended up into the Shadowdance Series, books I absolutely adore! Rather than the magic and elves and orcs of his Half-Orc story, Dalglish wanted to write a story more focused on the struggles of the people - in his words, "I could focus on humans, the low and the desperate".

Aaron Felhorn, our protagonist, is in
Ken Badertscher
I read the Kindle preview for this book, consisting of the prologue and the first two chapters, and that was enough to warn me off.

The prologue contains a promising twist, but the tension is not maintained as the author introduces character after character after character and they never really do anything. It's as if he was in a great hurry to make sure the reader knew all the names before imbuing them with personality and setting them in motion. Finally at the end of chapter two, a couple of ch
Sep 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
A Dance of Cloaks is the fourth book I've read by David Dalglish. While I liked his other books a lot, I felt with them that there was something missing to make them 5-star books. That's not the case with A Dance of Cloaks. In this book, he's come into his own and A Dance of Cloaks is an exciting read. I've always said that Dalglish writes some of the best fight scenes I've ever read, and that doesn't change in this book. Added to the mix is plenty of intrigue and a large cast of characters, inc ...more
Aug 09, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
DNF - not my cup of tea. Didn't like the world or the characters.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
The Sword and Laser: Should I Lem It? 29 363 May 19, 2014 01:46PM  
The Sword and Laser: A Dance of Daggers 17 225 May 19, 2014 01:20PM  
The Sword and Laser: S&L Podcast - #173 - JJ, Destroyer of Canons 28 178 May 05, 2014 12:37PM  
The Sword and Laser: Anyone else finished early? (FULL OF SPOILERS to end of book) 30 241 May 03, 2014 03:24AM  
  • Shadow's Son (Shadow Saga, #1)
  • The Thief-Taker's Apprentice (The Thief-Taker's Apprentice, #1)
  • Den of Thieves (Ancient Blades, #1)
  • I Know Not (The Legacy of Fox Crow, #1)
  • The Ten Thousand (The Macht #1)
  • Rebellion (Chronicles of Charanthe, #1)
  • The Emperor's Knife (Tower and Knife Trilogy, #1)
  • Sworn in Steel (Tales of the Kin, #2)
  • Nights of Villjamur (Legends of the Red Sun, #1)
  • Scourge of the Betrayer (Bloodsounder's Arc, #1)
  • The Last Stormlord (Watergivers, #1)
  • The Kinshield Legacy (The Kinshield Saga, #1)
  • Empire in Black and Gold (Shadows of the Apt, #1)
  • The Prince of Lies (Night's Masque, #3)
  • Farlander (Heart of the World, #1)
  • Son of Ereubus (Guardians of Legend, #1)
  • The Sentinel Mage (The Cursed Kingdoms, #1)
  • Broken Blade (Fallen Blade, #1)

Other books in the series

Shadowdance (6 books)
  • A Dance of Blades (Shadowdance, #2)
  • A Dance of Mirrors (Shadowdance, #3)
  • A Dance of Shadows (Shadowdance, #4)
  • A Dance of Ghosts (Shadowdance, #5)
  • A Dance of Chaos (Shadowdance, #6)
“Never abandon as hopeless something you've never tried.” 10 likes
“That is the power you must one day command. Let them think every breath of theirs is a gift, not from the gods, but from you. Do this, and you will become a god among them.” 3 likes
More quotes…