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This is an intricate dark fantasy that s really hard to put down The book beautifully develops the world while blending in action to keep the plot moving It s a very elegantly written fantasy, and the end will leave you begging for the next book Actual rating 4.25 5 Kinech Aklad VahrusenLarin has a problem Call it a magical Tourette syndrome he reacts to stress with uncontrollable, three word outbursts Being a laughingstock is no fun, but things get worse It turns out the words he repeats every time can unleash Haraf, Lord of Demons, who s been imprisoned by Six Legged Gods Larin will have to play, unwillingly, an important role in this conflict.Raised in a four block area of a slum known as a Wormpile by his junkie, warrior priest uncle, Akul, Larin lacks skills to face this kind of adversity He s a bookworm, not a hero Alas, daydreaming and study will have to wait Harnessing his magical powers and choosing the right path is important.Happily, he has allies Who wouldn t feel confident facing the evil gods in the company of a drug addicted uncle, an alcoholic priestess and a haughty wizardress Rodgers plays with traditional fantasy tropes and refreshes them Sure, Larin s journey is full of well known elements monsters, magical powers ready to harness, treason , but it s also unpredictable, and nuanced His possibilities vary between bad and worse each choice he can make carries dark consequences There s no way around it.Rodgers heroes are flawed but believable Making humans relatable is easy though Making strange, ungodly creatures, like Lidathi, understandable is a much bigger achievement And it s done remarkably well We learn about the Created ones through Kemharak s a Lidathi general POV His efforts to understand humans and their emotions made me smile a few times Here s what a Lidathi thinks about humans Both humans and the Created ones had heads, necks, and faces, and both faces held sensor pods on the top and feeding orifices on the bottom Yet the human sensor pods were three colors and used only for vision, with separate pods for hearing on the sides and a strange protuberance in the middle for sensing things Kemharak could only guess at Whereas, Kemharak s four bulbous pods were evenly spaced around his head, each functioning independently for vision or hearing In addition, the human s vision pods never revealed its intent through color, as did his people s It was as if the human creator had been drunk on the fermented fruits of the forest or was new to the act of creation In every physical way, his people were better designed. As most relationships in the book, the relationship between Kemharak and his human prisoner Theralle is done very well It s probably the most intriguing bond in the book Also, the one that leads to a strong cliffhanger.The Empire of Treban feels real there s some serious effort behind the realm s comprehensive history, politics and varied races At times things get dense, but I never felt assaulted with info dumping Magic system is interesting and unique to succeed in magic you need a natural talent, the correct pronunciation of a spell and the right phase of the huge moon, Spellgiver The author s writing style is accessible, crisp, and engaging It propels the book through a wealth of plot twists While there s no purplish prose here, it tends to be strongly descriptive in places As you ve already guessed, I enjoyed this book a lot The sequel is on my kindle I ll read it shortly I encourage you to give this one a try The Lord escapes his prison. Digital arc gently provided by Netgalley and publishers in exchange for an honest reviewFate and free will are no enemies They are two halves of the same circle And if I choose to resist fate You will choose, of your own free will, to follow your fate Man s free will becomes his destinyWhat happen when you are the chosen one , the one intended to bring the end of the world Larin is an orphan who lives with his uncle, an old warrior gone down, in a city populated by gangs of thieves and thugs, and since he was little he has been singled out and ridiculed for his involuntary outbursts during which he shouts a phrase incomprehensible to the great majority For him this is a curse, but for those who understand it is an advocation or rather a promise to the Lord of demons Haraf who was expelled from those lands and who longs to return using his designated servant Larin.This is a solid epic fantasy, similar to others in the genre I had some problems in getting into the subject between so much god and name change, but my concentration has not been the best these days The power for magic comes from the Moon and it is called Spellgiver by the locals.Interesting and diferent is the lack of elves, dwarves, orcs and alike from anothers tolkien ish epic fantasy books, so we have here, instead, another native species one with six appendices , claws and pods, that were pushed aside by the humans wizards shocking, I know The Lidathi, or Created Ones explained by KemharakSo the Day of Rising celebrates The day the gods brought us into their lairs and gave us speech Today, the seconds and thirds become like the gods, working the creator s magic before releasing the Jehibulleth Just as we were once released to work the metals from the earth and bring them to the gods cities The forest was different then, full of singing vines, Henila mounds, and many other plants and creatures which exist no You humans have changed everything Kemharak didn t know why he was telling the human this he felt some unexplainable need for it to understand their past Theralle moved its head up and down It is what I always thought The gods created your people for work, not for pain It means there are some gods who care about what you can produce than what misery you can cause Or it means the original gods have become insane over time, Kemharak said He was very glad Manek could not understandIn the other hand, Larin is an irritating protagonist, he only complains and complains throughout the story Poor me, I do not have magic Poor me, I can not leave my protected sector Poor me, I can not have friends Poor me, my uncle does not understand me Ug It get worst with teen years, and the rising anger So much anger The story tells us about a war between deities, where humans and Lidathi are pawns These gods are in another dimension and are brought to this by the prayers devotions spells of their magical priests It seems that every certain amount of years there is a new attack with strong consequences view spoiler The fact that the gods are beings of light in another dimension that have gone mad by sensory deprivation and yearns to feel again points to other similar ideas that have been seen in other stories or fandoms I think this about Larin feeling some empathy for this, it is well done, and that maybe the end of the prison is therefore somewhat confusing in whether it is good or bad Sure, that depending on who hide spoiler Note This book is part of the SPFBO 4 competition, and its score has been graded on a different set of rules than the usual This score might change over time as our team discusses which selections will move on to future rounds.Steve Rodgers City of Shards, book one in the Spellgiver series, is a rewarding read On the surface, the book is a coming of age tale that centers on a chosen slum dwelling orphan trying to survive in a harsh city controlled by a creeping religious sect and a gang of petty thugs Dig a bit deeper, and you ll discover a rich land full of detailed history, a struggle between gods new and old, an exiled eldritch race trying to reclaim their homeland, and a vast empire of secrets, betrayals, and mysteries that date back to the Creation of the world itself.Fans of worldbuilding will rejoice upon opening the book Readers are immediately greeted with a four page Chronos, detailing the history of this world dating back nearly 28,000 years Dozens of important dates and events are listed, and as the story progressed, I realized that this entire history was important in unraveling some of the mysteries and motivations of its various rulers and races The book then treats us to two maps one of the City of Aldive aka the City of Shards, where most of the book takes place , and another map of the Empire of Tanbar at large I found myself referencing these maps quite a bit while Rodgers displays ample skill describing the characters settings and environments, I found these maps extremely helpful in connecting some of the various locales that are referenced As stated above, the further you allow yourself to be immersed in this world, the you will get out of it.As the first chapter opens, we are graced with lyrics from a bard s song that is pertinent to the chapter s events Every chapter in the book is preceded by some quote, lyric, or passage that greatly enhances the worldbuilding experience Thus far, before the narrative has a chance to start, the reader has been taught lessons in history, geography, and culture This careful attention to detail does not relent for the entirety of the story It was a lot to absorb at first, but I admire Rodgers decision to spend the first few chapters developing the setting without pushing the plot forward too quickly Rodgers writes with a sharp wit, crafting both humorous and scathing analogies while introducing several mysteries that piqued my interest early on At times, Rodgers introduces the reader to in depth histories before immediately subverting them, so it s important to absorb this early information to gain a true understanding of world at large.I must emphasize again that this is a very detailed world, and it is plain to see how much time the author spent developing its various eccentricities It is a world where the location of the moon the titular Spellgiver determines the strength of spells that mages can access While the moon is at its Apex stage, the spell strength is strongest, but its position also can prevent access to certain areas of the continent There are multiple sets of gods, including an ancient and immortal race known as the Carvers that brought magic to the world There is an evil Eldegod named Morphat that thrives on pain and human sacrifice that is somehow gaining in popularity across the human cities and beyond Another god, Haraf of the of Demons, has been banished to a prison dimension and driven insane by its solitude He seeks vengeance against the humans that imprisoned him There s a Lovecraftian race of indigenous, six armed lizard like beings that have been driven by war to live in a northern frozen tundra, led by a commander of uncommon intelligence who vies to reclaim their southern homeland back from the humans who drove them away Fans of Phil Tucker s Chronicles of the Black Gate series might draw a few parallels between Kemharak and Tharok And at the center of it all is our main character Larin, a troubled youth battling loneliness and depression, who occasionally explodes with a Tourette s like outburst that may end up being the key to humanity s salvation or downfall.At its heart, this is a coming of age story that centers on Larin trying to survive his affliction in a thug controlled ghetto of the City of Shards There are some familiar beats in the story Larin is a chosen one hero who comes from nothing to play a key role in the fate of the world Yet there are plenty of interesting twists that separate this story from others of its kind What if the only two choices Larin has is to decide between humanity s enslavement to cult of horror and repression, or to face an insane and powerful being who is hell bent vengeance and destruction There are several other notable aspects to the book that I admired Rodgers is skilled at crafting mysteries and revealing them at a generous pace, which felt gratifying and prevented the book from getting too dark I also enjoyed how Rodgers not only built this diverse world, but attempts to explain its origins, histories, birthing of magic, creation of races, and vast environmental changes over the course of millennia and it s all tied into the central plot of the saga Even though there is substantial information to absorb and review, none of it feels extraneous, and it all has its place in furthering the story and its repercussions across the world It s a lot to cover, but somehow it all works very well Side note chapter 12 is one of the most interesting and unique chapters I ve read this year Not just because of the blood clowns, but they certainly helped the cause Yes, there are blood clowns If I had been undecided at whether I was enjoying this story or not, there was no longer any question after I finished this chapter.Although City of Shards is the first SPFBO 4 book I decided to review, I have a strong sense that it will be in discussion for our team s finalist entry Although I have many books I ve committed to read and review before the end of this year, I decided to put all of those aside and immediately purchase and read the next book in the series That is probably the best endorsement I can give City of Shards it made throw away my reading schedule because I wanted to find out what happens next And that is a rare feat indeed Regardless of its fate in the contest, this is a book that should be shared and discussed, and I m eager to continue exploring Rodgers catalog further.Scores 7.5 10 I was given an ARC by Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.We are introduced to Larin a young boy living in the worst part of town with his uncle who has a severe drug addiction but yet manages to be one the most awesome fighters the world has ever seen Larin suffers violent outburst in which he yells the same three words and this seems to be a great source of entertainment for the neighborhood s thugs and bullies Larin has few friends and spends most his time reading in the temple s library Though his uncle Akul tries to protect him from the local thug Oarl and his gang Larin still ends up being the victim of many beatings As the story progresses we get to meet characters such as Larin s friend Candro, his love interest Onie and an almost always drunk warrior priestess Trana.We also get to meet the emperor of Tanbar, Maldovin and his council of dukes Maldovin seems to be a royal pain in the ass but ends being a quite likeable character.As the story develops we also get to meet the leader of the oncoming invasion Kemharak and his commanders who aren t human at all or even likeable when we first meet them.I love the fact that all characters are well written.I can t say much without giving away spoilers.The world Larin lives in is very interesting with all kinds of religions, creatures and magic The author is an excellent worldbuilder so that s a huge plus for me The creatures are also quite interesting some seem to be like insects and others like lizzards There are some typical fantasy tropes when it comes to the grumpy uncle,orphan boy destined to save the world with a gang of friends but it didn t bother me at all The rich history and creatures made this book a very enjoyable read And I was quite happy to see the second book is already out. ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review.City of Shards is a fantasy book that I wanted to love a new world, misunderstood magic, and mysterious pasts I am in the minority, but I could not get into this book I spent about 3 weeks struggling with the book to get to 25% but just did not ever become engaged I cannot pinpoint a reason for this the writing is good and the premise is interesting, but I never connected with the story Larin is an orphan that lives with his drug addicted uncle with a mysterious past that rules a four block area of the Wormpile outside of this safe zone gangs rule the streets Larin has a condition or curse where he yells out these mysterious words, and to protect him his uncle tries to hide him from everyone else Much of the 25% that I read, Larin tries to understand and overcome this curse and have some semblance of a normal life The world he lives in has a complex political structure and back history of religion, the latter of which was particularly interesting to me dragons dragon worship The world is exposed to the reader slowly, and is really meant to be a character driven tale Much of the first quarter of the book is highlighting Larin s life growing up in relation to this affliction, and the overall worldbuilding is developed slowly around that This is a slow paced book, but that in and of itself isn t the reason for my apathy I did wind up putting the book down to read something else, and after almost two weeks I just don t want to pick it up Life is too short for me to read something that I am not engaged in, but just because this book wasn t for me doesn t mean that it won t be for you if you enjoy high fantasy narratives with complex characters and backstory.Blog Twitter I received an ARC copy of this book from NetGalleyI saw this book on NetGalley and decided at first to skip it because I m just so picky about high fantasy Skip to a few weeks later and it was recommended to me by a friend who was absolutely raving about it It s amazing Six stars So I figured I might as well give it a shot Apparently I m very much in the minority here, but I just could not get into it.There s nothing technically wrong with this book and I wish I could give it 3 stars because it s honestly not a bad book, but my eyes kept un focusing as I tried to get through it and as a result I ended up skimming a lot of it The writing is good from a technical standpoint so don t worry about that, but I was just really bored by the world and the characters.Honestly I think it kind of went downhill right from the start because it opens with a timeline spanning several pages and several thousand years so I was immediately like oh god what did I get myself into After promptly skipping that I know, but honestly who can retain information from a timeline the first third of the book is dedicated to following Larin as he grows from a child into a teenager I know most people won t mind this but I hate books that have huge time skips like that Also I never really found Larin interesting at all, so it was hard for me to be drawn into the book since it was so heavily character driven at first.After that the plot picks up with whole high fantasy meets Cthulhu thing, which sounds really cool but I just could not get into it all I m sure this will be a great series for a lot of people, but I need some truly outstanding characters and world building to get immersed in high fantasy and this book just wasn t doing it for me. Date March 2018Publisher JKSISBN 9780998361611Genre FantasyRating 4.8 5Publisher s Description The Wormpile district is the official canker on the capital s bottom, a place where the people boil under the sway of a monstrous god There, 16 year old Larin suffers from a magical outbursts, shouting nonsense words into decaying alleyways Protected from the gangs by his drug addicted warrior uncle Akul, Larin s only friends are an outcast thief and an alcoholic priestess looking for excuses not to arrest him.Review Wanna get lost for awhile in a really well written novel with great characters and spectacular world building Look no further than theCity of Shards , book one in the Spellgiver series.This story is told from Larin s point of view, and the author does a great job rendering the world through this perspective The supporting characters really deliver and the magic has limitations that ground the story line I am really looking forward toIn the Claws of the IndigenGET THIS City of Shards Spellgiver Book 1 by Steve Rodgers is a book I requested from NetGalley and the review is voluntary This is such an epic saga about an orphan boy, his life, society and their strange religions, and who and what the purpose of this kid s life is to be Characters are so incredibly interesting, the fantasy hooked me right away, and the world building is crazy good `READ EPUB ↠ City of Shards (Spellgiver #1) ☞ In The Wormpile District, Gangs Rule The Streets, Unwashed Urchins Assail Each Other With Minor Magic, And The People Boil Under The Sway Of A Monstrous God Deep Within Those Decaying Alleyways, The Boy Larin Shouts His Tourette Like Outbursts At Random, Explosions That Have Turned Him Into A Pariah Throughout The Neighborhood And While He S Protected From The Gangs By His Drug Addicted Uncle Akul A Warrior With A Mysterious Past And The Emotional Range Of Granite None Of That Will Restore His Social Life But Soon, Larin Finds He Has Bigger Problems For The Source Of His Outbursts Is The Malevolent Being Haraf, Lord Of Demons, Enemy To The Six Legged Gods Now That Priests Of The Six Legged Gods Have Begun Creeping Through The Wormpile, Masking Their Terrifying Agenda With Calls For Social Justice, It S Only A Matter Of Time Before Things Spiral Out Of Control As Larin And His Uncle Find Themselves Surrounded By Enemies, Their Only Hope Is To Join Forces With A Perpetually Drunk Warrior Priestess And A High Born Wizardress, Who Must Hold Her Nose To Work With The Street Rabble She Despises And Larin Will Either Follow His Master Haraf, Or Watch His City Plunge Into A Far Insidious Darkness One So Great, It Will Turn Mankind S Soul To Ash