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Shadowfest: A Dark Fantasy Adventure

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Shadowfest is coming It's Summer’s End in the Holy City. The border with the Otherworld is razor thin. Malevolent ghosts, creatures of horror and mythical monsters roam. Brona the Apothecary and Aurelian the Investigator set out to hunt down a vengeful spirit. But an elemental Mage is plotting to seize power and, in this dark fantasy conspiracy, nobody and nothing are quite Shadowfest is coming It's Summer’s End in the Holy City. The border with the Otherworld is razor thin. Malevolent ghosts, creatures of horror and mythical monsters roam. Brona the Apothecary and Aurelian the Investigator set out to hunt down a vengeful spirit. But an elemental Mage is plotting to seize power and, in this dark fantasy conspiracy, nobody and nothing are quite what they seem. It’s only just begun Brona the Apothecary is a suspect. Someone has murdered a Temple Guard. Someone who looks like her. She determines to catch the culprit. There are nine days till Shadowfest - the Night of the Spirits. Not the best time to be tracking malevolent ghosts. But who can match her secret powers in a City where elemental Mages once ruled but are now banned? Aurelian the Investigator has his own powers and is also haunted by the past. He’s sworn to defend the Temple’s spiritual values and to rid the City of murderers, monsters - and Mages. The past is catching up On the same date nine years earlier, Morven’s joyful coming of age turned to tragedy and she was forced to flee for her life from the Mages’ Citadel. Her quest for revenge will come back to haunt everyone. And Death may be the least of their worries Cassian also hides his secret elemental Mage identity in the Holy City. He is summoning evil spirits and mythical monsters to commit a series of dark magic murders. At Shadowfest, he will bid for supreme spiritual power and immortality. Brona is facing death at the stake as a suspected witch. But that’s not the worst of it. She may have to call on someone for help. Someone she hoped never to hear from again … If you enjoy paranormal mystery and suspense, urban fantasy Mage adventures or Dark Ages historical fiction, join us in this epic journey into the Celtic twilight. A tense supernatural thriller for adult and young adult alike.


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Shadowfest is coming It's Summer’s End in the Holy City. The border with the Otherworld is razor thin. Malevolent ghosts, creatures of horror and mythical monsters roam. Brona the Apothecary and Aurelian the Investigator set out to hunt down a vengeful spirit. But an elemental Mage is plotting to seize power and, in this dark fantasy conspiracy, nobody and nothing are quite Shadowfest is coming It's Summer’s End in the Holy City. The border with the Otherworld is razor thin. Malevolent ghosts, creatures of horror and mythical monsters roam. Brona the Apothecary and Aurelian the Investigator set out to hunt down a vengeful spirit. But an elemental Mage is plotting to seize power and, in this dark fantasy conspiracy, nobody and nothing are quite what they seem. It’s only just begun Brona the Apothecary is a suspect. Someone has murdered a Temple Guard. Someone who looks like her. She determines to catch the culprit. There are nine days till Shadowfest - the Night of the Spirits. Not the best time to be tracking malevolent ghosts. But who can match her secret powers in a City where elemental Mages once ruled but are now banned? Aurelian the Investigator has his own powers and is also haunted by the past. He’s sworn to defend the Temple’s spiritual values and to rid the City of murderers, monsters - and Mages. The past is catching up On the same date nine years earlier, Morven’s joyful coming of age turned to tragedy and she was forced to flee for her life from the Mages’ Citadel. Her quest for revenge will come back to haunt everyone. And Death may be the least of their worries Cassian also hides his secret elemental Mage identity in the Holy City. He is summoning evil spirits and mythical monsters to commit a series of dark magic murders. At Shadowfest, he will bid for supreme spiritual power and immortality. Brona is facing death at the stake as a suspected witch. But that’s not the worst of it. She may have to call on someone for help. Someone she hoped never to hear from again … If you enjoy paranormal mystery and suspense, urban fantasy Mage adventures or Dark Ages historical fiction, join us in this epic journey into the Celtic twilight. A tense supernatural thriller for adult and young adult alike.

30 review for Shadowfest: A Dark Fantasy Adventure

  1. 4 out of 5

    Stjepan Cobets

    My rating 4.8 The Book of Shadowfest by D.J. Reid is a great fantasy book, with the super-imaginative fantasy world and a very interesting story that you read to the very end. Characters are fascinating and each of them has a life story that runs through the entire book. The book begins with the murder on Apothecary and Captain Aurelian of the Templar Guard investigates this murder. The suspicion falls on Apothecary Brona, but Aurelian suspects that this old woman could commit this murder. Soon My rating 4.8 The Book of Shadowfest by D.J. Reid is a great fantasy book, with the super-imaginative fantasy world and a very interesting story that you read to the very end. Characters are fascinating and each of them has a life story that runs through the entire book. The book begins with the murder on Apothecary and Captain Aurelian of the Templar Guard investigates this murder. The suspicion falls on Apothecary Brona, but Aurelian suspects that this old woman could commit this murder. Soon his doubts will become true, and the whole Holy City at Summer’s End will be in danger of dark forces. Aurelian will discover a vast conspiracy some powerful people in the city and will soon find his life in danger. Personally, I really liked the book and enjoyed reading it. The book will appeal to all fans of fantasy but it conceals a true detective story in itself and introduces us to the world of diverse creatures living in the world. I would recommend a book to all fans of fantasy, witch, wizard, and supernatural beings.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Susan Hampson

    This is a super fantasy story with fascinating characters and brilliant vivid descriptions that just brought them to life to lurk in the dark way after I finished the story. They really gave me the heebeegeebees but there were even more in my own imagination ready to take their place, the creatures waiting their time out for the eve of Shadowfest which was only a matter of days away. The murder of one of the temple guards in the Holy City and Shadowfest just around the corner gives this fantasy a This is a super fantasy story with fascinating characters and brilliant vivid descriptions that just brought them to life to lurk in the dark way after I finished the story. They really gave me the heebeegeebees but there were even more in my own imagination ready to take their place, the creatures waiting their time out for the eve of Shadowfest which was only a matter of days away. The murder of one of the temple guards in the Holy City and Shadowfest just around the corner gives this fantasy a pretty brilliant crime investigation to literally get its teeth into and so it makes for one of the strangest and compelling that I have read. There are shape shifters, double walkers and a story that began 9 years before with Morven. The Mages are gathering to take control on the day that they are most likely to succeed. Shadowfest when the border that separates the two is at its most vulnerable. The chapters are set out in a count down of days to Shadowfest with additional chapters about individual characters. Magic is banned so half the population live secret lives, covering their various powers from raising the dead to shape shifting and everything in between. Dorothy Reid really transforms her characters into three-dimensional wonders with her hypnotic and almost poetic descriptions. This lady has a most wicked way with the English language. If you are a lover of fantasy novels or want to give one a go this is a super story to start with. The author has taken the genres that she loves, fantasy, psychological thrillers and ghost stories and combined them into this book and darn has she done a brilliant job. There are some very memorable characters still playing in my mind. Just magical!

  3. 4 out of 5

    J.N. Bedout

    The story starts off with armed Temple Guards investigating a recent murder. It unfolds through the point of views of several key characters, using short chapters. The pace of the text is fast by leveraging lots of short sentences. This gets repetitive in certain parts, especially the first ten chapters, which are laden with repetitive sentence starts (ie, several sentences in a row starting with “He” or “I”). After the first ten, however, the story gains traction and accelerates into a complex The story starts off with armed Temple Guards investigating a recent murder. It unfolds through the point of views of several key characters, using short chapters. The pace of the text is fast by leveraging lots of short sentences. This gets repetitive in certain parts, especially the first ten chapters, which are laden with repetitive sentence starts (ie, several sentences in a row starting with “He” or “I”). After the first ten, however, the story gains traction and accelerates into a complex tale of deceit that is both gripping and enthralling. With regards to setting, there is nothing that explicitly places the where and when. But, there are some interesting references to aid in that regard. First, the tale opens with “Templar” guards. At first glance, you might think this is in reference to the Crusader Order of the Knights Templar. But, there is mention of Cerridwen and the goddess Brigit, both Celtic deities that instead place the tale in either Ireland or Wales. Furthermore, many of the names have Roman traits (Aurelian, Domitian, Tertian). This therefore puts the tale in Britannia at the end of, or after, the Roman occupation of the island. Use of the term “Templar” later becomes evident to signify simply “guards of the Temple” and not the famous Crusader knights. My favorite character was Balor. His insights are incisive and at times humorous. But, I won’t spoil anything by revealing any more than that. It has many excellent fantasy elements, ranging from mythical creatures like goblins and bogarts to mages, both good and dark. There is magic and shapeshifting. And, there is a race against time to frame the action. It’s an excellent read, but allow yourself some latitude to digest the first ten chapters and the rest will deliver an engrossing and satisfying experience. I am voluntarily reviewing this book. I thank the author for sharing a copy of the book with me.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Mark Kloss

    I really enjoyed this book. It is fast paced, almost brutally so, with short chapters jumping between a few main characters. It worked really well, and despite of the fast pace and not a lot of time spent with the characters they still managed to have strong and vivid personalities that I really got behind. There were some great twists along the way, which I won't say anything more about due to spoilers. I felt like I was thrown into a world which existed fully fledged and alive and had been for I really enjoyed this book. It is fast paced, almost brutally so, with short chapters jumping between a few main characters. It worked really well, and despite of the fast pace and not a lot of time spent with the characters they still managed to have strong and vivid personalities that I really got behind. There were some great twists along the way, which I won't say anything more about due to spoilers. I felt like I was thrown into a world which existed fully fledged and alive and had been for hundreds of years, love it!

  5. 5 out of 5

    E.M. Swift-Hook

    Fine Fantasy - Fatal Flaws ‘I was madder than a demon at Shadowfest. Slavers dribbled from my lips.’ Murder is afoot in the Holy City. A Templar guard has been slain, his throat slit and an old woman was seen leaving the scene with a bloody knife. Brona an apothecary in a city that loathes and fears mages, finds herself prime suspect. But events from the past are bubbling up and the fate of a real mage, Brona’s grand-daughter Morven, who perished nine years before, seems to be closely entwined in Fine Fantasy - Fatal Flaws ‘I was madder than a demon at Shadowfest. Slavers dribbled from my lips.’ Murder is afoot in the Holy City. A Templar guard has been slain, his throat slit and an old woman was seen leaving the scene with a bloody knife. Brona an apothecary in a city that loathes and fears mages, finds herself prime suspect. But events from the past are bubbling up and the fate of a real mage, Brona’s grand-daughter Morven, who perished nine years before, seems to be closely entwined in the present. And Shadowfest is only nine days away - the time of dark magics - and it’s the start of a new millennium. Something of this book made me think the author was a huge fan of Dragon Age - maybe the names of some characters like Gregor and Cullen and the idea (and use of the name) of Templars and maybe the way mages were treated (and called mages rather than anything else). It is a dark and twisted tale of treachery and power-struggles set against a dramatic fantasy backdrop. “The sun’s fiery athanor was rising in the sky.” First thing, I love the cover of this book, it grabbed me and made me want to read it. The brooding, broken-nosed gargoyle, grinning as it crouches in front of a door. I have to say it is worth a half-star on its own. The best aspects of this book were the cracking pace - helped along by short, focused, chapters - which was well maintained for most of the book and the twisting narrative. Combined they were what kept me reading. The world building is pretty well handled and the ideas of how magic worked and the descriptions of it manifesting were the best part of that for me. The characters we get to know are interesting individuals - except Cassian who, for me, never really seemed to escape his stereotype. ‘It pulsed down the pillar. It exploded into a fireball on the oily body scuttling up again. It howled and clutched its head. It rocked back and forth,’ So what was not to like? Sadly a very great deal for me. There should be an oath all aspiring writer should have to swear - like the Hippocratic oath; “I will never subject my readers to mixing first person and third person in the same book’. Simple. Maybe some readers love it - I have always loathed it. One character in this book is written in first person all the rest in third. I was at a complete loss as to why that one needed first person. Each shift in and out of first person was jarring and discordant. The writing style maybe one to appeal to some readers, but I found the endless bald short sentences very trying. Especially as almost every single sentence starts with a name, a noun or a pronoun: “He did this. He did that. She did the other.” The fast switches between characters were disorienting. Whereas the idea of switching character chapter to chapter was good as it kept the story in focus, at times some of those ninety-nine chapters were barely more than a (Kindle) page long, so it felt a bit too much like being in a revolving door. 2.5 stars rounded up. If you love fantasy books with a different approach, then check out the ‘Look Inside’ on this one. If you like the writing style too, then you could have a good read on your hands.

  6. 5 out of 5

    M.L.

    This was an intriguing book. The language was descriptive with plenty of detail, making every beast and incantation clear in my mind, and the inclusion of several mythological creatures and folklore was imaginative. There were rich gems in this story, for example the ‘wards’ shaped like eagles—padlocks opened by magic—and an interesting basis of magic based on the elements. Though a wider magical world was hinted at, I had little idea throughout where this book was set, but such knowledge was no This was an intriguing book. The language was descriptive with plenty of detail, making every beast and incantation clear in my mind, and the inclusion of several mythological creatures and folklore was imaginative. There were rich gems in this story, for example the ‘wards’ shaped like eagles—padlocks opened by magic—and an interesting basis of magic based on the elements. Though a wider magical world was hinted at, I had little idea throughout where this book was set, but such knowledge was not really necessary to move the story. Though the language was descriptive, at times I felt it lacked precision, resulting in a few moments that weren't entirely clear. There were many POVs from different characters—the narrative would have benefited from either fewer POVs or longer scenes. With 99 chapters, most scenes were short, allowing little time for character development. This POV hopping (sometimes in the midst of action, as if to give us the ‘movie experience’ as we hop from one camera angle to the next), made it difficult to put names to narratives, and as a result I only had a clear understanding of who was who and what was what towards the very end of the book. The mixing of first and third person was unusual, but I found the parallel timelines more disruptive—hopping between past and present added little to the narrative that couldn’t have been portrayed elsewhere. Perhaps, however, this bit-by-bit approach was the author’s intent—as I read details were dropped like breadcrumbs, completing the puzzle and adding to the mystery of this paranormal detective story. The book was filled with twists, each one intriguing, and by the end of the novel the picture was complete. Balor, Brona and Aurelian were all rounded and interesting characters, but unfortunately the other side characters lacked flesh and were interchangeable. Though this book kept me reading and was well paced and exciting, I felt one or two things could have been done to make it a more dynamic read.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Heidi

    Loved this dark fantasy-kept me captivated to the end What a great read, I was happily surprised at what a detailed, twisting, engaging story this was. When I first started reading I briefly thought it was going to be a little slow with the introductions of some of the primary characters, but then it took off. There is a lot going on in this very intricate story that has a lot of characters to keep track of. The plot is complex and twisting with plenty of depth. Dark forces are plotting to seize Loved this dark fantasy-kept me captivated to the end What a great read, I was happily surprised at what a detailed, twisting, engaging story this was. When I first started reading I briefly thought it was going to be a little slow with the introductions of some of the primary characters, but then it took off. There is a lot going on in this very intricate story that has a lot of characters to keep track of. The plot is complex and twisting with plenty of depth. Dark forces are plotting to seize power. Aurelian is investigating the murder of a Temple Guard in the Holy City. Several people are trying to figure out who is who and who you can trust or not, difficult at best and several times the wrong choice was made. The plot goes back to when shipment of gold goes missing 9 years prior. The more I got into the story the more things kept coming together and I did not want to put it down. But it will keep you in the dark to the very end. One character, Morven, is portrayed from 9 years prior to the main story for the most of the book and then it comes together towards the end. Plenty of unexpected turns, will keep you guessing until the end, which was well done. There was lots of action, a well written story with a little added humor, which gave the story some realism to it. Necromancy, demons, gargoyles, spirits, witches and more will keep you entertained throughout the book. I received this book for free and voluntarily reviewed.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kameron Williams

    Delectably dark and enthralling. A medieval gothic mystery, featuring one of my favorite orders of the middle ages: the Knights Templar. The writing here was descriptive but not overdone, and the fast pace caught my attention and held it. I wasn't confused by the multiple POV's. The chapters were succinct and, as a result, I didn't lose interest or get reader's fatigue. I must say, I really enjoyed the story, the characters, and the setting in which the author developed them.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Katie Thompson

    Interesting, intriguing, and extremely entertaining. Shadowfest ventures into a new world of magic. Elemental magic, mages, and demons come together for an epic adventure with surprises at every turn.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Stacie

    Shadowfest, by D.J. Reid, is an epic medieval fantasy packed with action and intrigue. With short, engaging chapters from multiple points of view, readers are quickly introduced to a myriad of characters whose lives intertwine in a complex and dangerous fantasy world. The story begins with the investigation of a murder: a guard from the Knights Templar. Brona, an apothecary, quickly falls suspect. Brona was the character that pulled me into the novel the most, as well as the secrets and magic th Shadowfest, by D.J. Reid, is an epic medieval fantasy packed with action and intrigue. With short, engaging chapters from multiple points of view, readers are quickly introduced to a myriad of characters whose lives intertwine in a complex and dangerous fantasy world. The story begins with the investigation of a murder: a guard from the Knights Templar. Brona, an apothecary, quickly falls suspect. Brona was the character that pulled me into the novel the most, as well as the secrets and magic that surround her. A fast-paced story filled with twists and turns, the sheer quantity of the characters introduced in its first pages may confuse some. But Brona hooked me in, as well as the fascinating mix of mages, medieval magic, and mystery. Shadowfest is a good read for fans of epic fantasy, but also for those who enjoy action and adventure. Reid has created a fantasy world that is complex and interesting, and with characters like Brona (as well as Templar Captain Aurelian and cat Balor) has written personalities that many readers will enjoy. Though at first glance, a book with so many chapters may seem daunting, this epic fantasy is a surprisingly quick read that is worth picking up.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Leland Lydecker

    Shadowfest is a beautiful tale of eldritch magic, betrayal, creatures of myth and folklore, dangerous pacts, and human loyalty. D.J. Reid is a talented storyteller with a knack for evocative descriptions, and her writing is a pleasure to read. ‘She clattered across the cobbles of Blackstone Bridge. Swollen by heavy rainfall, the River Shona swept up her eastern sister Myrna in a foamy embrace. They roared south together towards the sea, battering rocks. Jets of seething spray flew over the parape Shadowfest is a beautiful tale of eldritch magic, betrayal, creatures of myth and folklore, dangerous pacts, and human loyalty. D.J. Reid is a talented storyteller with a knack for evocative descriptions, and her writing is a pleasure to read. ‘She clattered across the cobbles of Blackstone Bridge. Swollen by heavy rainfall, the River Shona swept up her eastern sister Myrna in a foamy embrace. They roared south together towards the sea, battering rocks. Jets of seething spray flew over the parapet.’ These colorful, life-like descriptions pulled me in immediately, and the story swept along at a pace that kept me from putting the book down even when I had other things to do. (Shadowfest isn’t a short read, but I finished it in two days.) Part of the story takes place in the present and part takes place nine years in the past. The present narrative follows Apothecary Brona; her familiar, a black cat named Balor; Guard Captain Aurelian; the tale’s antagonists, and a handful of minor characters. The past is concerned with a tough, crafty young Mage named Morven. Although at first they seem unrelated, the many viewpoints entwine to form a richly detailed world. Different character viewpoints are neatly separated by chapter breaks, and each new section is handily marked with the character’s name. The characters are so well developed that I don’t think I would have had a hard time telling them apart, but I appreciated that the author took the time to eliminate any confusion. Of all the complex multi-viewpoint books I’ve read, this was by far the easiest to follow. I like Reid’s characters; they’re human and believable and I found myself really caring what happened to them. My absolute favorite is Morven. I admire her toughness, ingenuity, and unshakeable will to survive. She’s definitely not your ‘delicate flower’ modern fantasy mage! She’s a young woman with a sarcastic wit and the skills to survive– whether her adversaries are witch-finders, malevolent denizens of the Otherworld, or powerful magic users with evil intentions. Shadowfest kept me on the edge of my seat from start to finish with all of its unexpected twists and turns, and had one of the most satisfying endings I’ve read in a long time. Like a complex Celtic knot, all of the story’s many threads are tucked into place in the end. Full of relatable characters, and complex and fast paced enough to thrill teen and adult readers alike, I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys good myth and folklore-inspired fantasy. D.J. Reid is definitely one of my new favorite authors!

  12. 5 out of 5

    S.W. Wilcox

    Quite a fun and unique read. It reminds me a bit of the 1980's Thieves' World anthologies of an alternate, Latinized Dark Ages with a thriving heathen subculture ready at any moment to regain ascendancy. Maybe mix in a little of the Underworld film franchise too, especially the less bloody and more aristocratic 5th film, as a genre description/recommend? The characters are indeed quite realistic, inventive, and surprising! And despite the given date of 650(AD?), the city gave me the impression o Quite a fun and unique read. It reminds me a bit of the 1980's Thieves' World anthologies of an alternate, Latinized Dark Ages with a thriving heathen subculture ready at any moment to regain ascendancy. Maybe mix in a little of the Underworld film franchise too, especially the less bloody and more aristocratic 5th film, as a genre description/recommend? The characters are indeed quite realistic, inventive, and surprising! And despite the given date of 650(AD?), the city gave me the impression of Babel and its forbidden, sygiled Tower to heaven. The rules of the world though, especially the collars and amulets, tripped me up more than once. And the many Templar Guard characters were a bit hard to keep straight, so after the intro I was still vague about whether Galba was a "panting" dog, a "hulking" boy-apprentice, or even both? 4 stars for atmosphere and intrigue

  13. 4 out of 5

    K.J. Simmill

    An old woman was seen fleeing the scene following the murder of a temple guard, and soon fingers are pointing towards Brona, the old apothecary. There is a great divide between those who can wield magic, and those who cannot, and the murder has caused great unrest, especially given the approach of Shadowfest. The timing of this murder seems a little suspect, and whispers of the return of a long dead killer echo through the silent corridors. But it has been a long time since evil forces breached An old woman was seen fleeing the scene following the murder of a temple guard, and soon fingers are pointing towards Brona, the old apothecary. There is a great divide between those who can wield magic, and those who cannot, and the murder has caused great unrest, especially given the approach of Shadowfest. The timing of this murder seems a little suspect, and whispers of the return of a long dead killer echo through the silent corridors. But it has been a long time since evil forces breached the wall, but when the view between worlds is attacked its thinnest anything can happen, especially if it is all in the design of a being seeking their own darkest desires. Join the adventure in D.J. Reid's Shadowfest, and see if agendas can be set aside in order to prevent the worst possible outcome. Shadowfest is written in alternating first person and third person perspectives focusing on the characters central to the plot, clear headings make it easy to follow whose perspective you are reading, and with subtle differences in style between each one you really start to get a feel for the individual personalities of the characters. As a tale of magic and betrayal with some good attention to culture, world building, and magical application D.J. Reid crafts a book that will appeal to fantasy fans. There is some beautiful descriptive, scene setting writing in places that really give you a feel for what is occurring and the environment. The steady pace gains a steady momentum, and in a story with dark forces, prejudices, suspicion and dark happenings afoot this serves to draw the reader deeper into the finely woven tale.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Tony Duxbury

    I really enjoyed this intriguing story. Magic has been banished and there's a new order in the land, enforced by the invaders. The Mages don't like the idea and have plotted to make a return. The new rulers are arrogant and pompous, ripe for a fall. Morven was once one of the Mages, but supposedly died when one of the powerful families tricked and betrayed her. Now she is living incognito under her grandmother's name in the heart of the empire. She lives quietly as an apothecary, the only low ra I really enjoyed this intriguing story. Magic has been banished and there's a new order in the land, enforced by the invaders. The Mages don't like the idea and have plotted to make a return. The new rulers are arrogant and pompous, ripe for a fall. Morven was once one of the Mages, but supposedly died when one of the powerful families tricked and betrayed her. Now she is living incognito under her grandmother's name in the heart of the empire. She lives quietly as an apothecary, the only low ranking type of magic which is tolerated. Then someone starts to summon demons and things go from bad to worse. The finger of suspicion in pointed at the apothecaries. Morven is unwillingly drawn into it and decides to help instead of becoming a fugitive once again. She steps into a morass of corruption. I loved the character of Morven and her 'don't give a damn' attitude. She is a great contrast to the stuffy and uptight rulers. Lots of prejudice, suspicion and foolish arrogance, plus evil twisting plots. Very entertaining. I would recommend this to any fantasy fan.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Shannon

    What a unique spin on the epic magic vs. non-magic users theme! Full of twists and turns, unique, sometimes surprising, characters who reveal themselves over the course of the book, instead of all at once, and constant action, I'm so happy to have had the chance to read this! With the perfect amount of descriptions (no "the pretty red leaves fell gracefully to the hard ground" here, thank goodness!), and thoughtful action that contributes and connects to the ultimate conclusion, I would highly r What a unique spin on the epic magic vs. non-magic users theme! Full of twists and turns, unique, sometimes surprising, characters who reveal themselves over the course of the book, instead of all at once, and constant action, I'm so happy to have had the chance to read this! With the perfect amount of descriptions (no "the pretty red leaves fell gracefully to the hard ground" here, thank goodness!), and thoughtful action that contributes and connects to the ultimate conclusion, I would highly recommend this to any fantasy lover! And the ending...I didn't see it coming until the last possible moment! Loved it!!!!

  16. 5 out of 5

    S.K. Gregory

    Brona's life is on the line after she is accused of murder. Can she clear her name? A good story and some great characters. I enjoyed reading it and would definitely recommend it to fantasy lovers.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Wyborn Senna

    Vivid Descriptions Make For An Engrossing Read… There’s a lot going on in “Shadowfest” to hold a reader’s interest all the way to the point where Cassian, Provost of the Secular Council, promises to protect those under siege and that his blood sacrifices will restore order at the hour of Shadowfest, banishing all monsters, demons, witches, and undesirables from Lucentia and Fortria forever, and, indeed, past that through to the end of the book, but the strength of this novel shines forth in the Vivid Descriptions Make For An Engrossing Read… There’s a lot going on in “Shadowfest” to hold a reader’s interest all the way to the point where Cassian, Provost of the Secular Council, promises to protect those under siege and that his blood sacrifices will restore order at the hour of Shadowfest, banishing all monsters, demons, witches, and undesirables from Lucentia and Fortria forever, and, indeed, past that through to the end of the book, but the strength of this novel shines forth in the scenes involving the shape-shifting double walkers. “The cellar door shuddered, as if struck by a giant fist, and flew inward. Brona had never seen a double walker in the flesh before. Alas, there was little flesh to see. Wasted tissue, scrawny red muscles and livid bones formed a stooped human-like figure. Long hooked fingers clawed the air. Its ravaged head bobbed hither and yon. Its lipless mouth flashed a grotesque parody of a smile.” You can almost smell the stench of putrefaction in this and other passages, such as “The double howled and hurled Balor across the chamber. He skidded into an open-sided coffin in a shower of bone dust. The double lifted its scarred arm. Flaps of flesh fell out. Its head creaked. The skull peeked through the skin.” Such vivid descriptions make the world the author has created real, and it is indeed a fascinating one, propelled by action from start to finish.

  18. 5 out of 5

    S.W. Wilcox

    Quite a fun and unique read. It reminds me a bit of the 1980's Thieves' World anthologies of an alternate, Latinized Dark Ages with a thriving heathen subculture ready at any moment to regain ascendancy. Maybe mix in a little of the Underworld film franchise too, especially the less bloody and more aristocratic 5th film, as a genre description/recommend? The characters are indeed quite realistic, inventive, and surprising! And despite the given date of 650(AD?), the city gave me the impression o Quite a fun and unique read. It reminds me a bit of the 1980's Thieves' World anthologies of an alternate, Latinized Dark Ages with a thriving heathen subculture ready at any moment to regain ascendancy. Maybe mix in a little of the Underworld film franchise too, especially the less bloody and more aristocratic 5th film, as a genre description/recommend? The characters are indeed quite realistic, inventive, and surprising! And despite the given date of 650(AD?), the city gave me the impression of Babel and its forbidden, sygiled Tower to heaven. The rules of the world though, especially the collars and amulets, tripped me up more than once. And the many Templar Guard characters were a bit hard to keep straight, so after the intro I was still vague about whether Galba was a "panting" dog, a "hulking" boy-apprentice, or even both? 4 stars for atmosphere and intrigue.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Dan Gillis

    This story has much to share within the supernatural genre. And yet, I had some difficulty getting set in the locations and character perspectives at first. Some characters were introduced and while in their perspective I would be learning about their story and motivation. Soon the perspective would switch and I would have to jump into another mind or character. Over time, I was able to learn and appreciate the uniqueness of each character and their motivations. Unfortunately, the early switches This story has much to share within the supernatural genre. And yet, I had some difficulty getting set in the locations and character perspectives at first. Some characters were introduced and while in their perspective I would be learning about their story and motivation. Soon the perspective would switch and I would have to jump into another mind or character. Over time, I was able to learn and appreciate the uniqueness of each character and their motivations. Unfortunately, the early switches were jarring, only because the scenes were not always connected in the same location. This included a change to first person perspective that I was not expecting. I am alright looking at a scene through the eyes of multiple perspectives, but changing the location or making quick jumps of perspective makes it difficult to build character attachments. This also made sorting out the various character names a challenge from the onset. With the many supporting characters, I needed more time with each that the brief chapters did not always allow. Once I started to get traction with the characters, the story began to deeper for me. For example, I enjoyed seeing from Balor’s feline perspective. These sorts of scenes were well thought out and written. I enjoyed them immensely. Aurelian’s motivations and actions are a welcome interest for a conflicted character type. The presence of the enemy manipulating events through misdirection created the environment for bringing unlikely allies together. The author’s craft of language is very good, and I enjoyed the description of events and the flow of action. The overarching investigation into mysterious violent deaths leads to accusation and unwitting cooperation. These elements further generate moments of humour and intrigue. I found the connection between Brona and Morven interesting as it built throughout the story. Overall, it was an enjoyable read once I got a handle of the characters. Recommended to fans of the supernatural genre who can overlook some of the style formats for perspective.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Florian Armas

    It took a few chapter for me to settle into Shadowfest – it’s chaotic and disparate, everything coming in short strings of narration hanging between now and then, here and there, present and past. It’s an original work, a fantasy mixed with a noir policier and conspiracies, everything embedded inside an intricate gothic puzzle game with Templars and Magic. It was difficult to attach myself to any of the many characters presented in the novel, but for sure Brona and Aurelian were interesting enou It took a few chapter for me to settle into Shadowfest – it’s chaotic and disparate, everything coming in short strings of narration hanging between now and then, here and there, present and past. It’s an original work, a fantasy mixed with a noir policier and conspiracies, everything embedded inside an intricate gothic puzzle game with Templars and Magic. It was difficult to attach myself to any of the many characters presented in the novel, but for sure Brona and Aurelian were interesting enough to watch them going through the story. And of course, there was Balor, the cat, a character on its own. Shadowfest is not an easy read, and not my type of a novel, but, if you like to solve a medieval murder puzzle peppered with magic, give it a try.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Steve Pillinger

    If you like dark tales of witches, cauldrons, crabbit-faced monsters and wee sleekit beasties told breathlessly in a broad Scottish brogue, then this is the book for you. If not… well, I know how you feel. Seriously, I undertook to review this book as part of a Goodreads peer review group, and I did try to give it a fair reading. However it lost me early on for a number of reasons other than simply the subject-matter. First, it was far too rushed. Descriptions of scenes and events were brief and o If you like dark tales of witches, cauldrons, crabbit-faced monsters and wee sleekit beasties told breathlessly in a broad Scottish brogue, then this is the book for you. If not… well, I know how you feel. Seriously, I undertook to review this book as part of a Goodreads peer review group, and I did try to give it a fair reading. However it lost me early on for a number of reasons other than simply the subject-matter. First, it was far too rushed. Descriptions of scenes and events were brief and often cryptic, to the point that I often simply could not follow what was going on. Changes of scene came abruptly and unheralded: you thought you were here, but suddenly you find you're there, and the cast of characters has changed. No 'establishing shots' of where, when and with whom you are. Flashbacks happened in the same way, so you didn't know if what you were reading was the present or the past. Secondly, characters came shooting into the story in large numbers right from the start with a brief, rapid-fire volley of names; and were then often referred to indirectly or by some title you didn't know they had—which didn't exactly fix them in the memory. With the result that by the middle of the book I had barely identified four or five characters securely: the many others were just a vague cloud of unknowns with interchangeable names. I was scunnered, I can tell you. I'd been kicking up a stooshie in the cells… [Later:] I cowped back onto dry land. There's the third reason: Frequent lapses into Scottish dialect. Not a problem if you're from north of the border in Great Britain, but elsewhere… Quaint, but no help in following the story! And fourthly, familiarity with witchcraft and related customs, procedures and terminology is simply assumed. These are thrown into the story with no explanation. This is an insider's book. So if you're not into Scottish witchcraft… ye're an outlander, laddie (or lassie)! Were there redeeming features? Yes, of course. Mother Drona was a lovable character—you wanted her to succeed against overwhelming odds. Balor, her cat, was a 'character' too; his perspective on the world was well portrayed, including cross-cultural (or cross-species) insights like the different human and feline understandings of baring one's teeth—a smile or a threat. And in terms of the plot, the grand finale was exciting and unexpected. Overall, however, I felt that a story I could have enjoyed, despite the uncongenial subject-matter, was spoilt by the rushed introduction of characters; the brief, often confusing descriptions of events; and the 'insider' use of Scottish dialect and witchcraft terminology.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Michael Hecht

    Action packed, intriguing mystery set in a fantasy world where Witches and Temple Guards (medieval knights) coexist in the same city, though they don't necessarily like each other. The story follows two characters framed for murder and necromancy (a high crime in their culture) from either side who must work together to clear their names. The story had a lot of twists and turns as the mystery unfolded. This book was fast paced, and action driven. I enjoyed the craftiness of the witches and all th Action packed, intriguing mystery set in a fantasy world where Witches and Temple Guards (medieval knights) coexist in the same city, though they don't necessarily like each other. The story follows two characters framed for murder and necromancy (a high crime in their culture) from either side who must work together to clear their names. The story had a lot of twists and turns as the mystery unfolded. This book was fast paced, and action driven. I enjoyed the craftiness of the witches and all the laws and mythos created to build this world. Balor the cat was by far my favorite character (and I'm not really a cat person). He was sassy and sneaky the way a cat should be, but also knowledgable and witty. Brona was a good protagonist, and so was Aerulian, (the witch and temple guard respectively). They had fun banter, but ultimately got along in the end. One character's story--Morven the witch--is told entirely through present tense, as opposed to the rest of the book, told in past tense. It's an interesting style choice. It makes sense because her story takes place separate from all the other characters, but I would have done it in reverse. Morven's story takes place 9 years prior, which would make sense to have her story told in past tense, and the current events told in present. It didn't bother me all that much, just took some getting used to. I did really like how each chapter was a different character's point of view. That helped keep things in order. Things I didn't enjoy: -I had a hard time telling who was speaking most of the time because there were rarely any dialogue tags. ESPECIALLY at the beginning of a chapter. You have to treat each chapter like it's own separate story, and can't assume people know who's talking right away because that person may have been talking just in the chapter before. -Because it was action packed, I was getting lost in the descriptions. Everything was described through action. I wish the author would have taken a step back to slow down the pace and describe the scene without there being action involved. I was often stuck wondering what kind of room they were standing in, or even what the characters looked like. The description of them comes later on, as they develop, when they should really be described when you first see them. This isn't really a bad thing, because it was covered a little, but I personally would have liked to see more explanation on how their magic worked, or where it came from. But I was satisfied with the magic overall.

  23. 4 out of 5

    D.H.

    First off, I have to say that I really enjoyed this piece. I was a bit surprised at how it drew me in because my initial impression was fairly critical. The verb choices describing actions are usually a touch too descriptive for my taste (there's an overabundance of metaphorical language) and seemed somewhat forced at first, but, once I got used to the style, I found it really engaging. Shadowfest is very much in the mainstream of the fantasy genre. One pet peeve of mine with this genre is questi First off, I have to say that I really enjoyed this piece. I was a bit surprised at how it drew me in because my initial impression was fairly critical. The verb choices describing actions are usually a touch too descriptive for my taste (there's an overabundance of metaphorical language) and seemed somewhat forced at first, but, once I got used to the style, I found it really engaging. Shadowfest is very much in the mainstream of the fantasy genre. One pet peeve of mine with this genre is questionable nomenclature. However, D.J. Reid's choice of names is really apt... often fledgling fantasy authors choose the most awkward names to cover their worlds, but that is definitely not the case here. Some are borrowed from myth and history, but they work together well and aren't cumbersome in the least. As for the narrative itself, it jumps between first and third person regularly (a bit of an unusual choice). This would be a disconcerting, if not for each chapter being framed with the prime character's name. Really helps to keep things clear. There is quite the plurality of characters, but that's par for the course with a lot of fantasy, so it shouldn't dissuade most serious readers of the genre. As well, despite the omniscient third person narration (for the majority of scenes), there isn't much hand-holding as far as excessive exposition about the world. This makes for nice pacing as there's aren't any long passages telling rather than showing, but it can be a bit bewildering at times. You have to just roll with it and watch the world form around the story, rather than the story unfolding within the world. I really like how magic is employed... it fits into the narrative as naturally as any mundane ability and contributes to the sense of it being commonly accepted (despite the opinions of the Templars). The dialogue is very clean, nicely expressive, and suited to each of the characters. But even the stretches without dialogue show ample characterization. I particularly enjoyed the bits with Balor, crone Brona's cat. Lovely stuff. So, yeah... I heartily recommend Shadowfest. Fantastical and mysterious, it's a riveting read and I look forward to more from this talented wordsmith.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Guy Estes

    Overall, I liked it. The characters and world were very well developed and interesting. Brona, the protagonist, was a very level-headed, sensible person, and her cat, Balor, one of the more interesting characters in the book. I only had one issue with the book, but it was a big one. The way it's structured made things confusing. Each chapter is told from one character's perspective. This is good in that it helps the reader know who is thinking and doing what. The problem was each chapter is so sh Overall, I liked it. The characters and world were very well developed and interesting. Brona, the protagonist, was a very level-headed, sensible person, and her cat, Balor, one of the more interesting characters in the book. I only had one issue with the book, but it was a big one. The way it's structured made things confusing. Each chapter is told from one character's perspective. This is good in that it helps the reader know who is thinking and doing what. The problem was each chapter is so short that the result is fairly rapid shifts in perspective that gets confusing - I started losing track of whose perspective I was reading, especially when life intruded and I had to put the book down for a day or two, then come back to it. Most of the book was in third person, but the chapters from Morven's perspective were in first person and started out nine years before the events in the story. As I went through the book, I thought the first couple of chapters from Morven's POV were her backstory and her subsequent chapters were taking place at the same time as the rest of the story. It's not until near the end of the book that it's made clear, nope, every chapter of hers was taking place nine years before the events in all the other chapters. All of these rapid POV and temporal shifts left me hopelessly confused. By the time I got to chapter 80 I had only the vaguest idea of who was doing what and no idea why. I finished the book and understand the gist of the story, but there was a myriad of little details that I never figured out or resolved. This was a good story with good characters and pacing. It's the organizational aspect that's the flaw. Readers who can keep better track of rapid POV shifts will likely give it a 5-star rating, but for me the organizational issues were significant. I was given a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Cathy

    I received a free copy of this book from the author. I had the opportunity to review or not. Although I found the beginning of this book a bit confusing, I had to check back and forth a few times, it didn’t take long to settle into the flow of the tale. I love a good fantasy story and throw in the Temple Knights and I’m a happy reader. This fantasy contained it all. Magic, murder, creatures, mages, honor, betrayal and more. It was a quick read with lots of action and some wonderfully descriptive I received a free copy of this book from the author. I had the opportunity to review or not. Although I found the beginning of this book a bit confusing, I had to check back and forth a few times, it didn’t take long to settle into the flow of the tale. I love a good fantasy story and throw in the Temple Knights and I’m a happy reader. This fantasy contained it all. Magic, murder, creatures, mages, honor, betrayal and more. It was a quick read with lots of action and some wonderfully descriptive scenery and characters. The characters were interesting and believable each with their own personality and plots. As you delve into the tale the plots, intrigue and animosities become clear and the story more and more interesting. One man has decided he will rule over all, no matter the cost. He pits friend against friend, Guard against Guard, foes against everyone. He believes his great powers will help him succeed in his ambitions. But there is some thing I heard once about the best laid plans… Betrayal has its own cost. And D J Reid plays it beautifully.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Lucretia

    Shadowfest is a gripping dark fantasy, with a unique plot and fabulous world-building. The characters really come to life, with a myriad of motivations, and quirks that make each of them stand out. The cat! Wow, if ever there were an accurate representation of what I imagine a cat to behave like, this is it. Next to Brona, the cat was my absolute favorite. The build to the climax was handled wonderfully, with surprises, and so much tension. Filled with intrigue. I was on the edge of my seat – mor Shadowfest is a gripping dark fantasy, with a unique plot and fabulous world-building. The characters really come to life, with a myriad of motivations, and quirks that make each of them stand out. The cat! Wow, if ever there were an accurate representation of what I imagine a cat to behave like, this is it. Next to Brona, the cat was my absolute favorite. The build to the climax was handled wonderfully, with surprises, and so much tension. Filled with intrigue. I was on the edge of my seat – more accurately my shoulders hunched and I held my kindle far too close to my face. The only niggling complaint I have is the style got in the way of the story flow. That was shame, because otherwise, this is a stunning entry into the dark fantasy/magic genre. Despite that, I still wholeheartedly enjoyed this and recommend it. It you are a fan of fantasy and magic, this is a story you will enjoy. The characters, plot, and creatures are unique and well imagined.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Tristen Kozinski

    It took a while for me to get invested in Shadowfest, despite the intriguing story and strong characters. I think it's because the story I occasionally a little hectic and hard to follow; we are introduced to a swath of characters throughout the book, often with preamble even when they're important to the society which makes their complicated relationships (particularly among the antagonists) hard to follow. Compounding this, are the abrupt scene and time changes with no centering paragraph or n It took a while for me to get invested in Shadowfest, despite the intriguing story and strong characters. I think it's because the story I occasionally a little hectic and hard to follow; we are introduced to a swath of characters throughout the book, often with preamble even when they're important to the society which makes their complicated relationships (particularly among the antagonists) hard to follow. Compounding this, are the abrupt scene and time changes with no centering paragraph or notifier to apprise the reader of the shift. Those are my only complaints though. Once you get to know the main protagonists (Brona and Aurelian) the story rapidly gathers momentum as they confront a variety of perils, betrayals and magical beings before ultimately culminating in an excellent conclusion.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Karlena

    I read a review of this book & agreed wholeheartedly. Florian Armas wrote "... it’s chaotic and disparate, everything coming in short strings of narration hanging between now and then, here and there, present and past..." My thoughts exactly!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Leah Chalmers

    This was an enjoyable and fun read. I read this a while ago, and so cannot remember the details for a review unfortunately.

  30. 5 out of 5

    FenixPVZ

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