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The Shadow of What Was Lost

(The Licanius Trilogy #1)

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  20,291 ratings  ·  1,646 reviews
It has been twenty years since the end of the war. The dictatorial Augurs - once thought of almost as gods - were overthrown and wiped out during the conflict, their much-feared powers mysteriously failing them. Those who had ruled under them, men and women with a lesser ability known as the Gift, avoided the Augurs' fate only by submitting themselves to the rebellion's ...more
Paperback, 602 pages
Published August 4th 2014 by Aslaradis Publishing (first published August 3rd 2014)
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Popular Answered Questions
Mark Swenson The Tattoo is not a "tattoo" in an ink and needle is magical and is a result of a magical treaty.

They are identification, but they are also…more
The Tattoo is not a "tattoo" in an ink and needle is magical and is a result of a magical treaty.

They are identification, but they are also part of a binding spell that limits the powers of the gifted.(less)
Mark Swenson Technically, no...

Many of the themes are similar, though, and the characters start the story as teenagers...

As with most fantasy, it can be hard to…more
Technically, no...

Many of the themes are similar, though, and the characters start the story as teenagers...

As with most fantasy, it can be hard to tell the two apart, particularly if the YA fantasy is written well.

This series should be acceptable to both the Adult and Young Adult audiences. It does involve some higher-level philosophical concepts, but through the first book these are only briefly mentioned...

Honestly, even adult American readers have little comprehension of concepts like predestination, so I doubt future novels in the series will delve too deeply into that or other concepts.(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.15  · 
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 ·  20,291 ratings  ·  1,646 reviews

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Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
Update: $2.99 on US Kindle today 2/23/19

That was pretty awesome!

I loved so many characters in this book! I can't even begin! I guess Davian, Asha and Wirr are at the top of my list but there are several others.

This is a book about kids coming of age and having to take a trial to see if their Essence (magic) is good enough. If not then they turn you into something else.

Dav is worried because he hasn't found his gift yet and he's afraid. Then all hell breaks loose and people are killed,
James Lafayette Tivendale
I received a review copy of The Shadow of What Was Lost in exchange for an honest review. I would like to thank James Islington and Orbit Books.

To begin with, I really thought this was going to be a "run of the mill" chosen one in a magic school sort of fantasy adventure. Thankfully only about 5-10% takes place at said establishment and the rest embraced a pretty awesome and beautifully depicted fantasy world. It still gives off the "chosen one" vibe throughout but that trope doesn't bother me
Aug 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
The Shadow of What Was Lost was an excellent fantasy début and a great start to an exciting new fantasy trilogy. Reading this actually felt a lot like reading a Sanderson book with a little bit of Wheel of Time and X-Men thrown in for good measure. That might sound a little unoriginal but Islington really made it work and delivered an engaging and exciting epic fantasy story!

The world building and the magic were both strong. There was two different types of magic. Regular Gifted and Augurs. The
Eric Allen
Feb 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book was recommended to me by Brandon Sanderson at the Firefight release party about a month or so ago while the two of us were mutually lamenting the fact that the Wheel of Time is now over, and, with Robert Jordan regrettably no longer amongst us, no hope of any more stories that take place within the same world. And so I went to Audible and found an audio version was up for preorder, and it just came out earlier this week. Read by Michael Kramer no less. That man can make even the most ...more
Niki Hawkes - The Obsessive Bookseller
[4.5 stars - Review of the first two books (spoiler free)] What started out as a seemingly straight-forward classic adventure fantasy quickly evolved into a complex story with countless dynamics and twists & turns. I ended up liking it ten times more than I thought I would – it’s easily one of the best I’ve read this year.

I wouldn’t call this series an “easy” read, as it required more concentration than average, but it’s certainly worth the effort. I don’t pretend I always knew for certain
Sep 18, 2014 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Nobody
Shelves: high-fantasy
I will dare to be the person who does not give this 4-5 starts and I honestly have no idea how this even comes close to that.

It started when people began comparing this book to authors such as Brandon Sanderson, Brent Weeks, and Robert Jordan so that quickly grabbed my attention. Unfortunately, it does not even begin to come close to the standard those authors have set.

I will admit that the book started off quite strong and had my hopes up, but I quickly noticed a problem particularly with the
Stefan Bach
First comment I have heard about Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time series, specifically about its first book The Eye of the World was – Lord of the Rings rip-off.
Considering that, by that time, I haven’t read books nor seen theatrical version of them, that was far from the answer I was looking for.
In the meantime I have rectified my heretic ignorance, read and watched LotR and when finally time came for me to read Robert Jordan’s TWoT (which was last year) I dreaded that the series was
Deborah Obida
Mar 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, adult
“‘Every man who holds a sword in his hand, holds murder in his heart.’”

There is nothing we readers love more than when a book exceeds our expectations, and this book did just that. If I had known it was this good I would have read it long ago, to think that this book has been on my tbr since 2017 is sad.

This book is my kind of fantasy. It has magic, battles, great characters and amazing history. Its suspense filled, the pace is perfect, its neither slow nor too fast. The fight scenes were well
Jack +Books & Bourbon+
A new Fantasy series that is being compared to the venerated, though highly divisive, Wheel Of Time series? What what! Sign me up please! I actually hadn't even heard about The Shadow Of What Was Lost until I saw it popping up on various feeds and getting pretty decent reviews here on Goodreads, and since my local book club was due for a Fantasy read, I made sure that this was the one we selected. We normally have a 2 week read cycle, but because this was over 700 pages, we decided to give ...more
Nov 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I have even more questions now than when I started!!!!
This was brilliant even tho I have some minor problems with almost everything, all in all, it was very satisfying to finally pick a fantasy that just lives up to my expectations.
Ooops... My hands and eyes slipped and I started this, then I stumbled and a fell on my bed with a cozy blanket around me.
When will I stop being so clumsy, :) NEVER
TS Chan
Feb 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a pretty impressive debut that shows a lot of promise for the rest of trilogy to come. The influences of Robert Jordan and (a bit of) Brandon Sanderson are quite apparent in this book as well. I don't criticize the lack of originality just for the sake of it if it's well executed. In this case, James Islington spun an interesting yarn that kept me engaged throughout so full credit to him. The pacing of the book was decent, with the world-building aspect and exposition thereof handled ...more
destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]
Just moving this back to my "finish-me-soon" shelf for the time being because I'm going to pick it back up with the audiobook version after I finish my current audio read!

Buddy read with the spouse and let me just say that I wish everyone was lucky enough to have a partner (or friend) who would reread anything on a whim just so you don't have to read it alone
Jan 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is definitely a must-have for all you epic fantasy fans. The build-up at the beginning is good and interesting and puts a lot of the focus on the intrigue and the social injustice, but once the action really begins, it's all beautiful sailing.

So much happens and I can honestly say I love every step of it. We go from the humble beginnings to a truly epic arena in time, power, and action, and we dip our toes in all the great twists of time magic, memory magic, outright masterful draining of
Mogsy (MMOGC)
3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

Whenever I hear about an indie fantasy that makes the jump to a traditional publishing house, it always piques my curiosity and of course The Shadow of What Was Lost was no exception. Fast forward to the moment I finished reading the book, and I all I have to say is: I am impressed. This is James Islington’s first novel, and though that sometimes shows in the raw quality the writing, overall it is a solid series opener
Krista Hansen
Sep 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Wow, this was great! This was a thoroughly engaging epic fantasy much like Sanderson’s books and I loved every minute of it! Islington creates a richly detailed magical world filled with myths, legends, religion, and history. The magic system feels unique, is clearly defined, and works well within the world. The characters are all interesting and well-developed. The plot is nicely paced, balancing action, drama and exposition. It starts out like a traditional fantasy quest, but quickly evolves ...more
Hasham Rasool
This book series is recommended for anyone who is:
Fan of Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson.
Fan of 'The Wheel of Time'.
Looking for a coming of age fantasy tale with likeable characters and strong worldbuilding.

I feel like I am reading Brandon Sanderson's book. It is a lot like Sanderson's books. It is just a bit like 'The Wheel of Time' because of the quest.

This book is awesome! It is a good start for Islington. This is the first book that James Islington has written.

If anyone wants to read
Aug 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
4.5 Stars

I loved this book. I had a ball reading it. I devoured it in a few days. I did not want to put it down.

It starts out as a straight-forward fantasy adventure. Youth finds out he has the ability to wield a forbidden power and ancient evil stirs at the edge of the map. However, it quickly evolves into a complex tale with countless twists and turns and a bunch of lovable characters.

My main issues with the book were minor ones. You can tell this is James Islington's debut. If you're a
Scott  Hitchcock
If you're a WOT of LOTR fan who likes quests, dark lords and magical powers drawn from a source this is a series for you. I really liked the dubious nature of many of the main characters who were well developed and likeable with their faults.

Audio book with Michael Kramer.......enough said.

Looking forward to the release of book 2.
Mar 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was great. I got hooked by Chapter 3. No slow start in this story. There was never a dull moment either. If you are a big fan of Lord of the Rings and the Wheel of Time you will notice some similarities with those stories in The Shadow of What Was Lost. You know the usual something evil going after some young adults and they have to leave town. While on the road going on a great adventure, their being pursued by evil beings. Finding friends to ally with on the road and protecting each ...more
Nick T. Borrelli
Sep 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Full review forthcoming
David Firmage
A compelling story that flowed beautifully through most of the book but never reached any great heights or lows. The ending was quite flat and disappointing, the pace did not quicken but just flowed. At no point did I have a feeling of drama or that any of the characters were in great peril.

The epilogue was a kicker, great revelation.
Sep 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book was just made for me - especially the second half and I cannot wait to dive into book #2 immediately.
Dark lord: check.
Quest(s): check.
Cool magic system(s): check.
Characters with layers of morality: check.

Just an impressive debut. I cannot believe I waited so long to read the book.
May 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: my-sff-faves
Okay so I finished this book yesterday and I had so many feelings with this that I needed a bit of time to un-jumble. This book is one I have owned for years and yet I hadn't got around to reading it until just now. I definitely am glad I finally did find the time however as it's just so filled with magic, adventure and quests (three of my favourite fantasy troupes) that I knew I was in for a good one from the get-go.

We follow a world where there are three types of magical people. We have the
Sep 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned

This book is amaaaaaaaaaaaaaaazing!!!

When I first started reading this (as a buddy read, which made it all the more enjoyable), I had planned to read the first five chapters. I practically inhaled them, and there was no way I was going to stop there. I carried on reading until literally it got so late that I would not wake up for work if I didn’t go to bed there and then. I was so annoyed that I had to sleep and I couldn’t continue with this incredible story!

Our main protagonist,
Lesa Divine
1st time reading 9/2018
5 ......yes 5 ......
Gotta love a fantasy book where there's unreliable characters that at times don't know themselves or hiding who they are. On top of that magic powers that is banned and controlled by the king and his administrators.

So Davian grew up in the school that helps him to know his abilities "the gift" but once he's told to do his trials early he fear of becoming a Shadow which with no powers you're to become a shadow but soon Davian is on a journey with his
Dec 25, 2014 rated it it was ok
I don't really write reviews, but I feel compelled to write one for this book. The basic components of this story are fascinating. Truly. In outline form, I can see it work. There are clear Jordan and Rothfuss influences in this book (and probably Sanderson too, though the only books of his I've read are the last few WoT books he wrote with Jordan).

But the book itself was not very good, to put it plainly. It could have been such an excellent read, except the author was unable to weave all of the
Mark Harrison
May 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great story. There are a good number of characters that you are never quite sure of their true allegiances and an interesting magic system, well drawn world building and a lot of blood shed and betrayal. The writer gripped me from page one and held on tight until a wonderfully unexpected ending that sets up the rest of the series. Really enjoyed this and would recommend to all. He is not Sanderson, he is not Jordan but he tells a good tale.
Zach Langenkamp
Oct 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Before reading this book, I read a number of reviews comparing Islington to the likes of Sanderson and Jordan. I understand the comparisons, but don't be fooled into thinking Islington can't stand on his own - this novel, the first in a planned trilogy, brings a depth of world building I've rarely encountered in a new author (or any author for that matter). And he spins a darn good yarn as well - there were a lot of "just five more minute" moments reading this one.

"Epic" is highly overused these
Jes Reads
Oct 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
No one touch me ...more
Nov 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Shadow of What Was Lost by James Islington

The Shadow of What Was Lost was a book in the style of Brandon Sanderson, epic, paced and thoroughly enjoyable. It also helped that I was listening to the audio version narrated by the wonderful Michael Kraemer, which made the book feel even more epic.

The reason I docked half a star (and the reason this review will be a shorter one) was of my own doing. It took me a while to listen to this book, and I wasn't able to do so everyday, so
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James Islington was born and raised in southern Victoria, Australia. His influences growing up were the stories of Raymond E. Feist and Robert Jordan, but it wasn't until later, when he read Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn series - followed soon after by Patrick Rothfuss' Name of the Wind - that he was finally inspired to sit down and write something of his own. He now lives with his wife and ...more

Other books in the series

The Licanius Trilogy (3 books)
  • An Echo of Things to Come (The Licanius Trilogy, #2)
  • The Light of All That Falls (The Licanius Trilogy, #3)
“All that I wanted, I received
All that I dreamed, I achieved
All that I feared, I conquered
All that I hated, I destroyed
All that I loved, I saved
And so, I lay down my head weary with despair, for;
All that I needed, I lost”
“You can put your trust in something that’s obvious, that’s measurable or predictable - but that's not faith. Nor is believing in something that gives you no pause for doubt, no reason or desire to question. Faith is something more than that. By definition, it cannot have proof as its foundation.” 27 likes
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