I recently finished The Shadow of What Was Lost which is the first book in The Licanius Trilogy by James Islington. So I thought why not share my thoughts on it and of course we’re going to start with the good. First things first I really enjoyed reading the book as a whole the mysteries, unanswered questions, and loose threads all kept me on the edge of my seat. The whole time I kept thinking to myself “What’s going on?!” “How do they know this?!” and I just knew I will have to read the whole series to have my questions answered. My second favorite part was the world and the magic itself. As a voracious reader of fantasy books, I’m always looking for a new type of world-building with interesting magic. Which is exactly what this book provided. This book definitely kept me compelled and interested the whole time.
Now as you might have guessed I would say I have 1 and a half complaints. The half-complaint part is… Oh my gosh, why are there so so so many names with T, I, and L in it!? I’ve never before needed(not wanted but truly needed) an index or glossary of characters. I kept getting names mixed up! Now truthful that’s not even a real complaint I just wanted to mention it. The one true problem I had with the book was the school of thought the author took on time travel/timeline. I’m not the biggest fan of time travel stories but I’m even less of a fan when they take the “the future is inevitable and you can’t change a thing”. I’m a much bigger fan of multiple-branching timelines that allow for (at least the illusion of) free will and choice. When a story takes the future written-in-stone path especially when it also allows for physical time travel (not just seeing the future) my mind just can’t stop thinking about how that must allow for the possibility of paradoxes more than if the future is ever-changing. And then I also keep thinking “Why bother allowing the characters to see/travel to the future if they can’t do anything about it?”. Basically, this all just boils down to the fact that I much more enjoy the “fate and destiny are what you make it” stance.
But even though I have that one big problem with the book I’m definitely interested in where it’s going and sooner or later I will finish the trilogy so I can get my answers. I would give this book a 6 out of 10.