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Book Review: Shadow Prowler
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The Insomniac   |  
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Shadow ProwlerShadow Prowler
Book 1 of The Chronicles Of Siala Trilogy
Hardcover
By Alexey Pehov
Translated by Andrew Bromfield
Tor Books
Release date: February 16, 2010

The first novel of a new trilogy, Alexey Pehov’s Shadow Prowler, is classic sword and sorcery fiction, practically overflowing with wizards, warriors, thieves, and mythological creatures roaming a rich fantasy landscape. With a certain tongue in cheek humour and the traditional quest story arc, Shadow Prowler carries a lot of appeal for traditional fans who enjoy the high fantasy genre.

Shadow Prowler follows the story of Shadow Harold, a thief given the task of reclaiming a magic Horn to keep the black evil of the Nameless One from consuming the kingdom of Siala. Teamed up with an Elfin Princess, ten members of a legendary warrior troop known as the Wild Hearts, and a goblin jester, they must make their way through an underground labyrinth composed of the bones of the dead to reclaim what’s been stolen from them by demons hoping to unleash their evil master.

The cover touts the novel as “truly unique” and “drawn from the heart of Russian folklore,” but the book fails that promise because of its lack of expansion of the genre. The description of ogres, orcs, demons, giants, elves, gnomes, wizards, warriors, rogues, and other stereotypical fantasy creatures doesn’t add anything that truly ‘unique’ to the genre. Stylistically, the book also lacks flow, and the dialogue is stilted. The novel was originally written in Russian, so it may simply be a poor translation rather than flaws in Pehov’s writing.

Shadow Prowler is the first book in a trilogy, and while readers who aren’t interested in sword and sorcery won’t be turned by the novel, fans of traditional fantasy should definitely pick it up. Despite its lack of originality and the language issues, Shadow Prowler fits nicely into the fantasy section.

Read an excerpt from Shadow Prowler.

RATING: 3.5 out of 5 Dragon-Teeth

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