Book Review – Knight’s Shadow

Knight's Shadow (Greatcoats, #2)Knight’s Shadow by Sebastien de Castell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4.5 stars.

It is going to be so difficult to do justice to this book. I shall try, but I don’t think I can adequately explain my feelings.

I’m going to try an infomercial (also known as a teleshopping ad) format here, not very closely since I’m doing this from memory. Knight’s Shadow RPG infomercial, coming up!

The adventures of Falcio and the Fantastic Four continue in this installment of the Greatcoats. That’s right, Falcio has been upgraded with an all new companion, Dariana! This new model comes with the following unbelievable features:

Bloodthirstiness
Crazed laughter
Dark eyes
An ability to freeze Brasti’s unfreezable parts
A grudge against Falcio
A mysteeeeerioussss past
And snark!

Example DARI

Nehra frowned. “Do you always run headlong into certain death?”
“Sometimes [Falcio] walks,” Dariana said. “Occasionally he shuffles. Once I’m pretty sure I saw him amble into certain death.”

And that’s not all! Watch as Falcio and friends level up by solving a murder mystery in the increasingly irredeemable land of Tristia, when a Duke and his family are murdered. Hunt for clues by tracking footprints, following blood trails and jumping blindly into fights. Rewards in the form of Kest’s growing awesomeness and Brasti’s unbeatable snark!

Example KEST:

“Four moves,” Kest said.
“What?”
“You’re wondering if you could take me. You’d last four moves.”
“Well then,” she said…”Suppose I take you in your sleep?”
“I took that for granted when I said four. Did you want to know how long you’d last if you didn’t take me by surprise?”

Example BRASTI

“No, I’m fairly sure it’s a trap.”
“Then why go in?”
“So I can find out-”
“Because that’s what [Falcio] does,” Brasti interrupted.”He asks himself what the dumbest possible thing to do would be in any given situation and then he does it.”

Explore gripping side missions such as saving the Duke’s kidnapped son from catacombs, saving random children from a madman while on top of a burning building and then, saving the country from a decade of civil war! As you progress, the game will realistically hinder you at every possible turn, beating you senseless and slowly poisoning you with neatha. That’s right, we have only one difficulty setting: IMPOSSIBLE!

But for gamers who don’t want to put too much effort in, we have the deus ex machina feature, where vaguely odds things happen to get you out of trouble. This feature has been so well received by our beta testers that we have included it everywhere!

Graphics have been vastly improved, with new camera angles, an all new map to explore and HD fight scenes. Look at the benefits of running on the Unreal engine, which takes you really close into the action, so close it’s first person:

The man screamed and he turned, his mouth was an enticingly wide opening, so I felt I had no choice but to thrust my other rapier into it.

Not convinced?

[Brasti] jerked his foot up, the bow leapt into the air and in one smooth motion Brasti grabbed the shaft of the bow with his left hand and reached into his quiver with his right, nocking an arrow so quickly it was if he hadn’t moved at all.

But the real upgrade is in the story itself, with all new threads encompassing the lives of commoners, political intrigues on a grand scale, the beauty of friendship, an exploration of grey morality, lessons on humanity and the danger of worshipping a person, and the idea of valour. Gorgeous lines like these are just waiting to be experienced:

About a swordfight: They stood there for a moment, eyes locked on one another, two storytellers each convinced their tale was the truest.

“Because the fights that matter most aren’t won on skill,” I said.
They’re won on sacrifice.

Finally, the most anticipated feature of all: the EIGHT DAYS OF TORTURE SCENE! We have painstakingly replicated the excruciating agony of setting your nerves on fire, then boiling them for the crows and if that’s not enough, ripping your soul out by reliving your loved one’s death!

Disclaimer: DeCastell productions is not responsible for any emotional damage or feels viewers may suffer in the process of playing this game.

Knight’s Shadow: call 911 for defibrillators before you read this. Now at a gajillion black pennies only!

Okay, jokes aside, I really did like this book. It was a bit slow at the start, and I had serious panic thinking it was going to be second-book syndrome, but the story was so gripping toward the end, I couldn’t tear my eyes away, Twists and turns everywhere. The reason why it isn’t a five star is because Falcio’s stubbornness annoyed me and as I said, really nothing happened for a while in the beginning. But the end made everything worth it, even if it was a cliched wuxia movie ending. Sometimes tropes are the way to go.

Recommended 100%.

Bonus: Try and find all the Princess Bride references. That’s right, there are wicked shout outs to the spectacularest movie ever.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers a million times for the ARC!

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