Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Of Sea and Shadow (The Elder Empire: Sea, #1)” as Want to Read:
Of Sea and Shadow (The Elder Empire: Sea, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Of Sea and Shadow

(The Elder Empire: Sea #1)

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  2,363 ratings  ·  87 reviews
The Guild of Navigators has ruled the Aion Sea for centuries, using their fleet of mystical ships to collect trade for the Aurelian Empire.

Now the Emperor is dead.

For Calder Marten, Captain of The Testament, the Emperor’s death is not an end, but an opportunity. He and his crew seek the legendary Heart of Nakothi, an artifact that could raise a second Emperor…and earn
Kindle Edition, 428 pages
Published December 30th 2014 by Hidden Gnome Publishing
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 Of Sea and Shadow, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
OldBird This book (and book 1 of the Sea branch of the series) does not. From the epic action-adventure tone, I don't think this would be the case.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.19  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,363 ratings  ·  87 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Of Sea and Shadow (The Elder Empire: Sea, #1)
Jun 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
This pirate fantasy was almost as good as its parallel novel.

“The successful man visualizes success rather than failure,”

Having just finished reading and reviewing Of Shadow and Sea two days ago, I will inform you first now that this Of Sea and Shadow review will focus mainly on what I found superior or inferior comparatively. That means I won’t be repeating what I’ve talked about in detail on my review Of Shadow and Sea again here. Please do note that my experience of reading this novel was ind
Mark Halse
Oct 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Excellent read! I picked up this book right after I finished THE TRAVELER'S GATE trilogy because I loved it so much and I was not disappointed.

This book was awesome and it didn't suffer from the same writing and story telling problems that bothered me in the TG trilogy. This book is tight and symmetrical. The writing and plot are a joy to behold. As in the TG trilogy, the magic system is original and interesting.

From what I understand, this series has two POVs: CALDER, a profit driven, pirate-li
Kendra Ardnek
Mar 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Pirates vs. Ninjas, but on an epic scale

Dynamic characters and incredible world building. The dual story was a fun idea, too. Can't wait to read the story from Shera's perspective in Of Shadow and Sea
Nov 17, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: freebies
The Emperor is dead. Calder Marten and his crew have been hired to transport people to find a powerful relic. This relic can help to raise a second Emperor. Calder Marten has plans of his own along with powerful enemies standing in his way.

Of Sea and Shadow is the first book in the Sea portion of The Elder Empire series. I won't call it a trilogy as 6 books make up the series. 3 books from the prospective of the Sea featuring Calder Marten, his crew, and allies. The other 3 books are from the pr
Bri (bloodydamn_taveren)
Holy crap. Imagine if Kings of the Wyld was written by Brandon Sanderson and instead of a band of warriors it’s a pirate crew. Yeah. That good.

I really enjoyed the pacing of this one. It’s laid out in a way that flashbacks and small excerpts of letters from teacher to student help progress the plot and understanding of the world organically. World-building and no info dump in sight, it’s a miracle!
This structure also worked to keep a level of mystery to the cast of characters for me. I fully enj
Christian Anderson
Dec 30, 2014 rated it it was ok
Will Wight is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. I became a little bored during the middle third of the book but it quickly resolved and was great fun in the end. His magic systems are very unique and I love his characters. It seems that the majority of new fantasy being written is very grim and dark aka George R. R. Martin. Will Wight's books (including this one) are very fun and I love reading them.
Jan 06, 2015 added it
Shelves: fantasy, victorian
I loved Wight's Traveler's Gate series so picking this up was a no brainer. The whole idea of using two books, instead of one, to tell the story of two points of view intrigued me. The break from tradition where the stories are told in the same volume and intersect as needed means that whichever of these books you choose to start with will give you information you didn't have when reading the other. As Wight states these are both the first book in the series and both tell a complete story I don' ...more
Jan 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This is the second "book 1" of Will Wight's "The Elder Empire" series. I actually read the companion book, creatively titled "Of Shadow and Sea" first, which, I believe colors my perceptions of this book somewhat.

This book follows the opposing point of view from the first book. In "Of Shadow.." we follow Shera, an assassin always looking for her next nap with Calder as one of the main antagonists. In "Of Sea.." this is reversed as we read most of the book through Calder's POV. In both books, th
The Elder gods/monsters could have easily stepped out of a Lovecraft novel. Very imaginative, magic galore with constant action amidst creepy creatures and humans.

I would suggest reading the two series, shadow and sea in tandem. You'll find they complement each other.
Roumen Ganeff
Oct 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a different fantasy book. Like if Lovecraft met Samuel Taylor Coleridge and they wrote a steampunk fantasy, like a darker Brandon Sanderson.
Yeah, it's that weird. In a good sense. It was slow going in the beginning, on account of it being weird and dropping you in the deep end of the ocean (see what I did there?). But after you get into it, it gets going, fast. The world-building is deep, the characters have hidden dimensions and there is always a forward motion for them.
Now off to read
Jan 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Interesting start to this series. I'm intrigued to read about the other side of the conflict in Shadow and Sea, along with finding out how this ties into the Cradle multiverse thing as a whole. The "Aurelias" family thing is bothering me to no end.
Jul 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
First things first: Are you new to the writings of Will Wight? Want to experience a master writer of epic, story-focused fantasy at his best and feel like starting with the Elder Empire series? Start here.

The only (big) reason this book was not a 5 star experience for me was because I thought to start with the sister novel, Of Shadow and Sea, believing from the blurbs it was possible to just dive in, as both were considered book one in a series. Personally, I think that this is not the case. I'
Jun 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
I recommend this for fantasy fans who want a break from the tired, typical faux Middle Ages European aesthetic, as well as fans of fiction where frankly no one is strictly speaking “the good guy” or “the bad guy.”

The setting of this book is split between the protagonist’s teenage years where he learns combat and magic and him as a sea-faring adult after he takes on a job to obtain a dangerous object. The magic itself is all based around harnessing the power of Cthulhu-like horrors. But overall t
Nov 05, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
An interesting experiment in writing two parallel series covering the same time frame but from the point of view of two different (and often opposing) protagonists. Hence Of Sea and Shadow is paired with Of Shadow and Sea and so forth. For better or worse the success of Wight's Cradle series has put this series on the back burner, although the man writes so damn fast I'm fairly confident he will return to it. ...more
Aug 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
A rather interesting first book. I look forward to reading the other side of the story in Of Shadow and Sea. I really want to know more about the world the author has created.
Dec 21, 2019 marked it as to-read
Shelves: freebie
🎁 FREE on Amazon today (12/21/2019)! 🎁
Sep 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Steven Brown
Jul 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Will Wight as usual creates a unique fantasy world with all sorts of fun to go with it.

You could say this book is 1a with Shadow Sea being 1B. I have yet to read the other book but with this story it does feel complete while leaving room for the next story to continue. We also see the other character from the other book pop up a few times. as with the other books I've read from this author he is able to create interesting magic systems for a lack of a better word and place them in a world where
Feb 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow! What an interesting way to tell a story. Leave it to Will Wight to come up with this unique tale... I just finished careening from the end of Of Shadow and Sea, and rushed head-long into this story. So first there was Shera's perspective as an assassin of the Consultant's Guild, and this time we get Calder Marten's point of view. He's Captain of the ship Testament, and an infamous member of the Nautical Guild.
I think I see why Will Wight would choose to make 2 books out of all this, instead
Aug 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I read this book to fulfill the r/fantasy book bingo square for Novel in an Ocean Setting, and because I have always enjoyed a good pirate story. It was another big plus that it had an interesting magic system. I went into this cautiously optimistic, though unsure of whether to start with this or the companion novel, Of Shadow and Sea. Ultimately Of Sea and Shadow won out because pirates.

The story follows Captain Calder Martin and the crew of The Testament as they fulfill contracts with the Navi
T Coffee Fiend
Apr 17, 2020 rated it liked it
Really enjoy the world and characters. This feels like an assassin vs pirate story, with the twist of it being set in a fairly Lovecraftian horror setting. Or at least some variation on those concepts.

I've read 3 of the first 4 books in this series, and i'll give them all about the same review.

As I said above good world and characters. but the decision to split the narrative like Ender's Game/Ender's Shadow has mixed results in my opinion. I would have prefered instead of 4 books, 2 larger books
Jun 13, 2020 rated it liked it
This book has some convoluted reading order. The author usually released two books in this series at the same time, with the words in the title switched around.

I've been putting this off for years, since I read everything else by the author, I'm willing to give this a go.

While reading this book I'm constantly thinking that it feels like I'm reading a novel set in Brandon Sanderson's The Emperor's Soul universe. I wonder if will drew inspiration from that novel.

I actually enjoyed this. Didn't kno
Peter Bensen
Sep 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
I weally like Will Wight's work. He constructs wonderful worlds and magical ecosystems that follow their own natural laws. You learn about the world in stages, wonders unfold and characters grow. the dialogue is good, the characters are well constructed and respond in real emotional ways. I have not read the shadow, parallel stories yet, though I hesitate. I am not a fan of switching back and forth from one story line to another, especially if it is in the past, but I see the point most of the t ...more
Clinton Stanturf
Nov 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
(I listen to the audible version) I was not sure what to expect out of this book. I pretty much just picked it up on a whim because it was on deal of the day. But holy crap I was missing out I loved the story it was both creative and immersively entertaining. While this is not one of those books where the MC is super OP but he's got some skills and though you get only a brief look into the MC childhood you get the feeling of the lessons he learned. the other Hidden Gem that I found in this book ...more
Jennifer Kellie
Jan 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
Genre: epic fantasy

Summary: Calder is the captain of a ship on the Aion sea working for the Guild of Navigators. One day he is commissioned to transport a member of the old empire and things go sideways. On the journey his wife is captured and his crew is in extreme danger from multiple sources. Can Calder keep everything from falling apart using his wits alone?

Review: This book is absolutely awesome. The detail is amazing and the world is so imaginative. I loved how the magic worked. Items acq
Jenny Schultz
Nov 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
One issue

This is really good I'm enjoying it and then end finished. What's bothering me, and I'm sure this was intentional, from the beginning it feels like there is a book before this one that I missed. All the backstory between characters the whole situation background. I don't mind puzzling pieces together. It just seems like I would have a broader understanding and appreciation of the story and characters if I was in on the backstory rather than. Trying to figure it out along the way. Absolu
Joshua Lawson
Mar 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Fell in love with Will Wight based on the Cradle series (nearly to obsession), so it took me a bit to find my bearings in The Elder Empire. Once I did, I couldn't put it down!

Great characters with interesting back story revealed slowly throughout. Great world-building with a ton left to discover. Great take on a bigger mythos.

This would have been 4 stars had I not had an overwhelming confidence in where Will is leading us. In film terms, these are action flicks; they probably won't win an Oscar,
Tony Hinde
Mar 25, 2020 rated it liked it
This one didn't resonate with me. The world-building is good, the writing is top-notch and the characterizations are okay. I just didn't feel connected to the protagonist.

Calder is in a shitty situation nearly the whole time. He's a decent person and has above average talents and skills. There's just so little emotional depth. He's almost always cynically humorous, despite the risk to himself or his friends. Thus on the rare occasions when he does get serious, it feels out of character.

I plan to
Katie Garner
Apr 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: recommend, fantasy, series
I really enjoyed this one. Will Wight and Travis Baldree never disappoint and this is no exception. I had hesitated at first as I'm not a huge fan of anything that even sort of seems pirate related so it took me a few weeks to work up to starting this. Luckily for me there was very little pirate adventure and much more old gods and cthulhu mythos. I enjoyed Calder and his crew, especially their pet Bellows. I'm looking forward to learning more about their motivations and to listening to the othe ...more
« previous 1 3 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: Please Combine Editions 2 8 Jul 05, 2019 11:16PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Diamantine (Weapons and Wielders, #2)
  • A Traitor in Skyhold (Mage Errant #3)
  • Into the Labyrinth (Mage Errant #1)
  • Jewel of the Endless Erg (Mage Errant #2)
  • Defying Destiny (The War of Broken Mirrors, #3)
  • Street Cultivation 2 (Street Cultivation, #2)
  • The First War (A Thousand Li #3)
  • The Lost City of Ithos (Mage Errant #4)
  • Knightmare Arcanist (Frith Chronicles, #1)
  • Coliseum Arcanist (Frith Chronicles, #3)
  • Dread Pirate Arcanist (Frith Chronicles, #2)
  • Street Cultivation
  • Six Sacred Swords (Weapons and Wielders, #1)
  • Iron Prince: A Progression Sci-Fi Epic (Warformed: Stormweaver Book 1)
  • Stealing Sorcery (The War of Broken Mirrors, #2)
  • Plague Arcanist (Frith Chronicles, #4)
  • Forging Divinity (The War of Broken Mirrors, #1)
  • Ruthless (The Completionist Chronicles, #4)
See similar books…

Other books in the series

The Elder Empire: Sea (3 books)
  • Of Dawn and Darkness (The Elder Empire: Sea, #2)
  • Of Kings and Killers (The Elder Empire: Sea, #3)

Related Articles

If you love the fantasy genre, this is the season for you! Some of the biggest books out this fall promise to be epics full of magic, adventure,...
186 likes · 49 comments
“There was a hat rack in the corner, but he kept his hat on. And thus do I strike a blow against my enemies. Kerian” 0 likes
“He always wanted everything to change. So boring. So what if he turned all shoes into ducks? If shoes were constantly turning into other things, then it wouldn’t be anything special when they eventually started quacking. No one would even notice.  Change was only interesting when everything normally stayed the same, and Tharlos could never understand that. That’s why he would never beat her.” 0 likes
More quotes…