Foreword Reviews

Revelations of Chaos

Rise of the Shadow Soul

Clarion Rating: 3 out of 5

Fury’s is an elaborate fantasy adventure with depth, spirit, and extraordinary heroes.

In a land of magic and illusion that is inhabited by warring clans of men and beasts, an ancient legend of light and darkness unfolds. Rise of the Shadow Soul, the first installment in S. F. Fury’s Revelations of Chaos series, is intricate high fantasy. It unlocks secrets of the past that will shape the future.

In the midst of battle during a raging storm, Zaramagrii is born with the mark of the Shadow Soul on her skin. Ephritori, a king’s daughter, is violently forced out of hiding, and the ambitious Priestess Sahrya plots to become the queen of all Thaldeia. As the three struggle to accept their destinies, their journeys collide in a sweeping saga of death, destruction, betrayal, and hope.

Set in the world of Zholryn, the land of Thaldeia is made up of enough kingdoms to rival Game of Thrones, with knights and jousting, guilds, castles and keeps, multiple kings and plots to overthrow them, and even a Black Pox, creating a decidedly medieval backdrop. The inhabitants of Zholryn are as colorful and unique as they are vast: “Man-folk, Aylsh, Black Clan, Kharaghou, Thederye or Half-folk, Aunlorey or Windwalkers, Hulding, Faery, and more” are joined by shapeshifters, pixies, and ogres, just to name a few.

Some insight is offered through various appendixes that trace royal lines back centuries, identifying the Black Clans. Additional glossaries defining the book’s abundance of original terminology might have been useful, possibly helping with, for example, attempting to visualize “a cross between an Akhru and a mountain joutuun.”

The story is told from a variety of perspectives, including those of pivotal characters and those of characters who appear only briefly. The plot meanders through subplots, backstories, and legends, as well as a chronicle of Thaldeia’s past. All contribute to building a world rich in history, cultures, languages, and lore.

Action is slow to build, with bouts of intense combat and fighting becoming more frequent as the story progresses. Themes of light and darkness, good and evil, and the nature and balance of each are explored along with other weighty topics, including creation, religion, and destiny, giving the novel a thoughtful, philosophical element.

Although there is no shortage of intriguing male characters, from the Bastard Prophet to the wolf king to the master assassin, it is the women in the story whose strength and characterizations carry the tale. Key among them is Zaramagrii, whose emergence as the Volkura Drakna, or Shadow Soul, is shrouded in complex visions and lore. Descriptions paint her as a “corrupt” being forged of light and darkness, creating “death and chaos” everywhere she roams; and while Zara is a fierce fighter with growing mystical powers and a need for vengeance, she is also fair and just. Will she save the land or doom it?

Rise of the Shadow Soul is an elaborate fantasy adventure with depth, spirit, and extraordinary heroes, villains, and creatures. It sets the stage for more to come in the series.

Reviewed by Pallas Gates McCorquodale

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The author of this book provided free copies of the book and paid a small fee to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. Foreword Reviews and Clarion Reviews make no guarantee that the author will receive a positive review. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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