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Luck in the Shadows

(Nightrunner #1)

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  19,021 ratings  ·  1,228 reviews
When young Alec of Kerry is taken prisoner for a crime he didn’t commit, he is certain that his life is at an end. But one thing he never expected was his cellmate. Spy, rogue, thief, and noble, Seregil of Rhiminee is many things–none of them predictable. And when he offers to take on Alec as his apprentice, things may never be the same for either of them. Soon Alec is tra ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 479 pages
Published September 1996 by Bantam Spectra
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A None in the first book, although they do have a very strong friendship. There is some in following books, but the main focus of the story is on their …moreNone in the first book, although they do have a very strong friendship. There is some in following books, but the main focus of the story is on their adventures rather than their romance.(less)
Gavin Patterson Yes. Finding a new fantasy book with fresh and interesting characters who engage so well with each other is rare. Engaging dialogue and character evol…moreYes. Finding a new fantasy book with fresh and interesting characters who engage so well with each other is rare. Engaging dialogue and character evolution fills a vacuum much needed in fantasy.
I was delighted when I found this book and gorged on as much of the series I could find at the time.
I found the book light and encouraging. (less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.08  · 
Rating details
 ·  19,021 ratings  ·  1,228 reviews

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Mar 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
LOve LOVE this book! It's a great adventure fantasy book in the old tradition of escaping baddies and looming dark magic. I love the relationships as well. There's a connection between 2 male characters that I believe may turn romantic in the subsequent books, but honestly, it's so great and subtle and TRUE to them that wherever it goes I will be into it, and I wouldn't label it "Gay" persay, like say Melisure (which I love as well).

Definitely picking up books 2 and 3 in the trilogy, damn Kindl
✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)
💪 We are the Fearless MacHalos and we don't Only Read UF Crap we Read Fantasy Crap Too Buddy Read (WatFMawdORUCwRFCTBR™) 💪

💀 DNF at 50%. Because zzz.

Serial DNFing Mode (SDM™): engaged.

Crap damn bloody shrimping hell. I have not one but three, as in one, two, three Freaking DNF Non Reviews (FDNR™) to write. This is it. This is the end. I know most of you out there somewhat love to watch me suffer through crappy books and take perverse pleasure in reading my DNF reviews, but I can't do this anym
Richard Derus
May 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: quiltbag
Rating: 3.5* of five


When did the "w" verb infect our literary landscape? When did this cheesy, arch, absurd act best done to prove to children that adults are condescending idiots become acceptable...nay, de otherwise sensible genre literature?


Now that I've got that off my chest, I'll attempt a review.

This series is billed as LGBT fiction by several sources. It's clear from the get-go that Seregil, our main man, is more gay than bi; it's obv
Mayim de Vries
Jul 21, 2018 rated it did not like it
”Luck in the shadows; you don’t question it, you just give thanks and pray it doesn’t run out!”

Luck in the Shadows fits perfectly into the classic fantasy shelf. Sadly, it does not have any added value. It has plenty of removed value, though.

Enter Seregil, a noble, a spy, a lover of luxury, and a representative of a mysterious people with a tragic past. Meet Alec, apparently a simple boy, slowly pulled by Seregil into a world where nothing is as it seems and the knowledge can only attract troubl
Robin Hobb
Jan 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
An excellent tale with an unconventional hero.

This was harder than normal to read. I read this pretty slowly. I finally got faster at reading this at around page 400. Two main characters. (Seregil and Alec) It's not duo perspective. Different characters can also be the main voice at any point in the story, but Seregil and Alec are the most commonly used ones. There are 4 gods. There are wizards. Also there are these mysterious discs. It ended on a cliffhanger (the 1st two books are linked I think) so I'll probably read the next one bec
Mar 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
One thing I want to say before I launch into a summary/review: the main characters are not gay; they're bisexual. Both of them express interest in and have relationships with women. It's a silly thing to get nitpicky about, but I do. On with business.

Alec is a young man, just turned sixteen and recently orphaned, who earns a living trapping and trading furs. He's lived his entire life in the wilderness, learning how to survive and navigate seemingly featureless plains and endless forests. His so
Nov 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
It's as if this book was written just for me.

It's the perfect swashbuckling, mystery-solving, roguish adventure, wherein the main characters are bisexual. Although that is, for Alecs part, not revealed until later.

Thank you, Lynn, for this revelation of a book.

It's the story of Alec, who is saved from prison and certain death by dashing Seregil, who takes him on as an apprentice. What exactly it is Seregil does is a little unclear to Alec. It's safest to say he does a little bit of everything
Mike (the Paladin)
I've noted before about some books that they can be very hard to rate. This is another. It opens up and catches the interest drawing you in. The story is well constructed and pretty obviously setting up a long "saga".

The thing is that there are times that the story grinds down to almost a halt. If you've read any of my other reviews you know that I'm not fond of personal stories, interpersonal relationships and romance when it takes over a narrative. In this book that doesn't actually happen...
Len Evans Jr
I originally started this book way way back in January... I would read a bit... then leave it, then come back to it a bit later. The first half of the book is very much about world-building and introducing us to the two main protagonists Seregil and Alec. Due to this i found reading it a bit of hard work. That is until I got to about the halfway point and oh boy did things pick up then! And they did not let up till the very end. I love Alec and Seregil so much... and so many of the other people ...more
Oct 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was my first time reading Lynn Flewelling's books and I was quickly drawn into the story. The mix of sword and sorcery with classic fantasy troupes means that this feels like coming home for me and the characters instantly felt like I could connect with then and as if I was able to sympathise with their struggles. I also love the fact that this book hints at and even explicitly states that there are homosexual and bisexual characters within the plot, and as the book and series goes on I am ...more
Aug 17, 2009 rated it really liked it
Luck in the Shadows is about sixteen-year-old Alec of Kerry, who at the beginning of the book is taken prisoner for a crime he didn't commit. Fate brings him his cellmate Seregil, a spy, thief, and rogue. Together they escape the prison and Seregil takes Alec under his wing as his apprentice. For a while Alec enjoys experiencing things he's never done and traveling to places he's never gone. However, things take a turn for the worse when Alec and Seregil find themselves caught in a nefarious dec ...more
Allison Hurd
Jan 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
I thoroughly enjoyed this. I was concerned as I did not have a great experience with the Tamir triad, but this gave me much more confidence in her writing.

CONTENT WARNING: (just a list of topics) (view spoiler)

Things to love:

-The characters. Alec, Seregil, Nysander, Micum... they're exactly the sort of gothic heroes for whom I always find room in my heart. There's brooding! There's father figures! T
2.5 Stars

Alec of Kerry is taken prisoner for a crime he didn’t commit. While incarcerated, he meets Seregil of Rhiminee. Together, the two escape and Alec soon becomes Seregil's apprentice spy, rogue, thief, and Watcher. Soon, Alec and Seregil are embroiled in political intrigue and mystery in a land poised on the brink of war with only their wits, skills, and friends to keep them alive.

This one was meh. I am a fan of the fantasy genre and there was a lot of great world-building here but I had a
Jun 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
In the first installment of Nightrunner books, “Luck in the Shadows”, Lynn Flewelling give us a glimpse of the complex society of Skala and its inhabitants.
Through the journey our heroes made from Asengai's domains to Rhíminee, Flewelling shows you her fascinating world. Skala and the three lands have its own religion, politics, traditions and mithology and you start to see it through Alec's eyes. Though this first book has a politic plot running inside, is mainly an introduction of characters,
May 25, 2017 marked it as abandoned
I decided it was time to either finish it or abandon and so I do the latter. I can't rate it as I read only 30% of the novel but it simply wasn't my cup of tea - I found it boring not because nothing happened but because everything seemed so bland. The characters weren't original nor compelling, I simply didn't care about them, nor about their country. Finally, the worldbuilding was far from subtle - one of the characters is wise and worldly, the other lived in a goddamn forest most of his life ...more
Dec 15, 2016 marked it as zzz-books-not-for-me
DNF: 44%
I....just...couldn't go on. It was just too boring for me...

Read in December, 2016
Abigail Hilton
Aug 28, 2010 rated it liked it
I wanted to like this book. It's an action/adventure fantasy that contains gay and bi-sexual characters. The book is not a romance and contains plenty of plot and action that have nothing to do with sex. We need more books like this - books with a range of sexual orientation and expression, books that contain gay men in a story that can still be enjoyed by anyone who is not a bigot. Like many straight women, I enjoy stories with gay characters, but I prefer books that have an engaging plot that ...more
Feb 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: high-fantasy, lgbt
[3.75 Stars] This is one of those situations where the beginning is pretty slow and maybe a bit unfocused, but then around half of the way through, I became really invested and wanted to know everything. I like the set up of the world a lot, and I think the characters will have a lot of adventures and will grow a ton. The pacing was a bit off at first, like I said, but in the end I was flying through the book to find out what would happen next. Seregil definitely is my favorite character so far. ...more
This started out in a promising fashion, with a welcome tone of jaunty adventuring, enhanced by the presence of two winning, enjoyable main characters. But as it wore on, the pace got more and more sluggish, and the plot devolved into confusing court intrigue, with an anticlimactic ending and a “to be continued...” message on the final page.

While I appreciate aspects of this work, especially the charm and authentic feel of the aforementioned two main characters, I don’t anticipate continuing on
May 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: buddy-reads, lgbtqia
I really liked it, but it was a little slow. It wasn't always gripping, sometimes even quite predictable, but still enjoyable and amusing enough to keep me entertained.
From time to time it lost me with all the strange names and places. The world-building, however, was well done. As well as the writing and characters, esp., of course, the MCs, esp., of course, Seregil. In fell in love with bim the first time he openend his mouth :D In a way he reminds me very much of Jack Harkness... *coughs*

May 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: m-m, fantasy, series
Just the fifth time (and the first time in English language) in my history as a reader I will tackle the second book of a high fantasy series.
Even for that alone Luck in the Shadows would deserve five stars!
ᴥ Irena ᴥ
Jul 14, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You don't get into this story slowly. There isn't an introduction. The very first scene is in the prison followed by Seregil and Alec's escape.
The blurb doesn't say much and the genre labels on Goodreads don't help either. None of it tells you how well this book is written.

After the escape, Seregil and Alec become partners in whatever Seregil is into. He is a lot of things: from a noble to a thief and anything you can think of in between. It is wonderful to see Alec's growth and the glimpses of
Feb 01, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can see how this might be dear and important and nostalgic to many whom read it at younger age, and how this could've been something teen me would've cherished too, but it didn't really charm me of today that much; I wasn't able to get into depths with the swords and wizardry narrative, and the whole old master / young apprentice arrangement felt rather thin and just too spent a trope (in both the fantasy setting and for any more nuanced romantic pairing).

Still, a rarer delicious treat for dev
Ivie dan Glokta
There is a lot to be said for a fantasy that has an m-m cast. There isn't many around (or more likely I haven't read many), and it was refreshingly lacking the typical hero cliché that usually accompanies such novels, and that would be a young girl at the cusp of adulthood with the classic first kiss complex.

Don't get me wrong I still enjoy my fantasies and their heroes regardless the sex or age, but it seems that the subtle nuances of male attraction did the trick for this one. Not overly inte
My main problem with Luck in the Shadows was its characters’ inconsistency which made them implausible and too perfect. To give an example: an honest boy turns vigilante in just a few weeks without any second thoughts after meeting a stranger. Does this sound very likely to you? There were of course other examples. Also, there was this feeling of “fake” happiness (view spoiler) or how everyone just liked everyone they just ...more
Sara (sarawithoutanH)
Feb 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
I really enjoyed this book! I'm not a huge high fantasy fan because I can find the pacing slow, but the world building and characters were really great in this one. I love the concept of spies going on missions in a fantasy world. Also, the main kingdom is ruled by a long line of queens, which is hella cool. I'm all for a matriarchy. I also appreciated that most of the society was accepting of different sexualities. I sense a m/m romance brewing between the two main characters. My only complaint ...more
James Chatham
May 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is like exactly the kind of fantasy I love. Character-based, somewhat hero's journey fantasy is like right up my alley, and this gave me that in spades. The relationship forming between Seregil and Alec is incredibly well-developed, and the auxiliary characters are fleshed out wonderfully, especially Nysander. The plot, one of rogues and politics, is interesting, albeit weirdly paced, although the pacing didn't bother me at all when reading it. I just loved this one so much! ...more
Yuli Atta
Mar 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm back at not knowing what to say about a book so I will try to summarise everything I liked:

1. Bards
2. Spies
3. Thieves
4. Some grand scheme
5. Lowkey gay
6. Traditional fantasy with some exotic creatures (centaurs)
7. Seregil and Alec
8. Great friendships
9. It gave me feelings
10. I just really enjoyed it and can't put my thoughts into words. I just want to read the next one RIGHT NOW but I have to wait 🙈
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Born Lynn Elizabeth Beaulieu.

Other books in the series

Nightrunner (7 books)
  • Stalking Darkness (Nightrunner, #2)
  • Traitor's Moon (Nightrunner, #3)
  • Shadows Return (Nightrunner, #4)
  • The White Road (Nightrunner, #5)
  • Casket of Souls (Nightrunner, #6)
  • Shards of Time (Nightrunner, #7)

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“You hardly know me. Why do you want me to come with you?"

"Who knows? Perhaps you remind me just a bit of—"

"Someone you used to know?" Alec interjected skeptically.

"Someone I used to be.”
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