Shadow of the Wraith by Ross Harrison
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is a very good book and I am very glad that I was able to read it. This book starts out a little slow but as soon as all of the characters are introduced, the action picks up rapidly. That isn't to say that the book does not have action from the beginning but more the frequency increases after the characters are introduced. The characters are very full and vibrant, with rich deep back stories as to how they are all interconnected through Archer in some way, and how he comes to decide on them. The characters also aid in the progression of the plot by playing pivotal roles in the storyline that push it along. There are many twist and turns present in the book and this helps to keep the reader guessing as to who the villain is and what is going to happen next. Be that as it may I did find the ending to be a little bit foreshadowed early on in the novel, but that doesn't mean the ending isn't good, but it is definitely ironic in many ways. Another aspect that makes this novel great is the rich and lush universe that the reader is introduced into, we only get to see a couple of the planets of this universe but those are shown in such a light that you want an entire book written on just the history of each planet. The author weaves the planets', characters', and events' back stories all together seamlessly and in such a way that you do not get bogged down with any one element of the story
Of all the characters that are present in the book, my favorite would have to be Arkuun-Marl. The mix of humor and serious moments give him an aire that has only been seen in the beloved HK-47 protocol droid of the KoToR series. Marl does not have the same beloved homicidal tendencies as HK but I think there are many aspects about Marl that make him my favorite character in the novel. One in particular being that even in the most tense and dangerous situations nothing seems to faze him, or he will crack a joke at the most inopportune moment but still make you laugh.
All in all this is a must read for sci-fi fans who enjoy the massive worlds and galaxies like in Star Wars and Dune. Also readers who enjoy the Dragon Lance novels because of the number and uniqueness of the characters will greatly enjoy this novel.
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