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Book Review: A Shade of Madness

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“Avarin tumbles into madness through the shattered ruin of a centuries-old peace.

As griffin riders clash against airships above and hordes of madmen below, Lynn finds herself surrounded by enemies. Ones that will test the limits of her faith. To defeat them, she must risk everything… including her sanity.

Adrian has lost the Legion, but new magics on foreign shores might be the answer he needs to rebuild his army. His return to the Domain will bring vengeance, and the hope that he will finally prove himself to his father.

Nasha’s curse has taken on a new, terrifying shape. She dreads it could be just what the dead goddess needs to escape from Her prison within the Silent Earth. Will she be strong enough to resist, or will Nasha’s curse give rise to the monster she fears to become?

Madness is spreading and it cares not for the borders of men.”

Title: A Shade of Madness

Series: The Ashes of Avarin #2

Author: Thiago Abdalla

Page Count: 450

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 5.0/5.0

Date Read: January 8th, 2023

I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to read A Shade of Madness prior to it’s scheduled launch later this month (January 24th). I didn’t get through this one as quickly as I anticipated and I just wanted to point this out in case anyone looks close enough to my progresses. This had nothing to do with my interest in the book but simply other factors that prevented me from picking up and continuing as often as I wanted to.
This book literally picks up right where book one left off. I was also lucky with my timing of this as I just recently did a reread of A Touch of Light (audiobook) and read the novella A Prelude to Ashes last month. This world was fresh in my mind for this read. I also want to point out reading the novella which is a prequel to book one seemed very beneficial to me. I seemed to have a better understanding of some of these characters and the world around them with that bit of additional information.
The world building of A Shade of Madness seems to be on par with book one. It might even seem to narrow a bit in scope as the story and our characters begin to grow closer to each other in this world. I’m not sure what Thiago’s plan is for this series beyond this book but I’m guessing there will be a meeting and reveal for several things in the near future.
The character development seemed slightly stronger in book two for me. We have several of our characters carry overed from book one including some strong support. Kadmus has been an interesting addition and I’m interested in seeing where his storyline goes from here. We also have many twists with characters in book two which definitely kept things interesting for me.
The pacing was also on par with book one. I never felt like there was any moments that were simply slogs. The story runs along rather smoothly throughout. There are certainly many ebb and flow moments as scenes are introduced before the action arrives but that’s rather to be expected.
Overall if you enjoyed book one I’m sure you’ll feel the same with book two. I did tell Thiago that I felt like I connected with Lynn’s storyline more in book one and then Nasha here in book two. I didn’t lose any interested in either Adrian or Lynn, I just felt more connected to Nasha’s story in this one. As previously mentioned I also recommend reading A Prelude to Ashes before book two if you haven’t read it yet. I just feel you may have a better understanding of Adrian and the Church by doing so.

World Building 4.5/5
Pacing 5/5
Character Development 5/5

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Chad Barnard

Owner/Operator of The Hiking Reader Blog. Sharing thoughts on books and hiking trails and trying to find ways to continue to incorporate both hobbies together.

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