A Shadow On The Land by Krystine Kercher

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2013/08/17 by rmstrong1980

ShadowA Shadow on the Land was my first venture into Astarkand and won’t be my last.

The story follows the adventures of Bjorn Horsa, a self-exiled prince in the court of King Olaf of Astarkand, and his men. He was the child of prophecy, the one destined to release the land from the shadow of a vengeful, bloodthirsty elf-god. If only King Olaf would heed the prophecy, think of his two sons—one of whom, according to Voden’s commands, would have to sacrifice his brother to gain the throne—and abdicate, allowing Bjorn to rule and release Voden’s hold on the land of men. However, as part of the prophecy, Bjorn cannot simply kill the king. In fact, no blood must be spilt and Olaf must abdicate.

When Olaf tires of the minstrels singing Bjorn’s praises and refuses to abdicate as he first promised, the prince and his retinue barely escape the castle with their lives and horses. Running throughout the kingdom, hiding in plain sight–and righting wrongs along the way–Bjorn and his men always stay one step ahead of Olaf and his. When they finally meet, the swords come out.

I loved how the author showed Bjorn and his men as equals in all but title. The prince listened to and heeded the advice of his friends and mentors, and they were never shy about giving it. They joked together to lighten the mood of the flight, teasing each other about loves and hair. The story follows well the biblical account of King Saul and David.

The only thing I would have changed had I written the book would have been to have Bjorn struggle with having to mislead so many people he comes in contact with. Whether or not the misleading was necessary to his and his men’s survival–and it was, they were in hostile territory and there was a price on Bjorn’s head–he never struggled much with having to lie to innkeepers and townsfolk. He is a man of God, who follows the Dreamsender’s teachings and leading, but lies on a continual basis. After a while, the prince even began marveling at how easily the stories and new identities came. I would have liked to have seen this explored a little more.

I did find a few typos and grammatical errors in my Kindle copy; however, they are few and far between, don’t distract from the storytelling, and are nothing another read-through wouldn’t fix.

The book is a quick read and it is easy to get lost in the story. I will be reading the second in the series (Kingsride) soon and cannot wait for the third, Eiathan’s Heir.

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