Shadow of the Soul Blade

Fiction - Fantasy - Epic
339 Pages
Reviewed on 09/02/2023
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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Shadow of the Soul Blade is a work of fiction in the dark fantasy, action, and adventure subgenres, and it forms part of the Darkthorne Chronicles series. It is best suited to mature teens and adult readers owing to the presence of graphic fantasy violence. In this gritty and immersive epic fantasy work penned by author Jay Roland, we find ourselves embroiled in a magical and mysterious plot in the world of Ashana. A party of adventurers with varied and contrasting skills band together despite their personality clashes to conquer the dark threats that would otherwise bring Ashana to its knees.

Author Jay Roland is all about the atmosphere in this thematically rich and powerfully engaging dark fantasy world. I really appreciated the commitment to world-building that has gone into the storytelling, giving the piece a firm internal logic, magic system, and geographical mapping for the quest to unfold. As a Dungeons and Dragons player for many years, I felt right at home with the party of adventurers but also found a lot of pleasant surprises in Roland’s original interpretation of the different types of heroes in the group. Kumori was an especially enigmatic figure with plenty of unexpected tricks that elevated the traditional rogue into something even more playful and deadly. The pacing of the work was also a big bonus for an epic as it cuts the action neatly into episodic moments with some great mini-denouements before the party hits the next threat, which makes it so easy to read and pick up again. Overall, Shadow of the Soul Blade is a highly recommended read for fans of dark fantasy adventure everywhere, not to be missed.

Rabia Tanveer

Shadow of the Soul Blade is the first novel in the Darkthorne Chronicles series by Jay Roland. An epic fantasy novel with plenty of action and adventure, the story is set in the treacherous world of Ashana, where everything is possible. Four characters from very different walks of life and cultures had the future of Ashana in their hands. Xander (mage), Reinhardt (swordsman), Kumori (a rogue), and Bastian (a feral warrior) all had a job to do, and if they succeeded, they would save Ashana and themselves. Their quest was not easy, but the reward was bigger than any of them anticipated. Would they prevail or would the perilous journey overwhelm them?

Shadow of the Soul Blade is the perfect example of what a magical adventure novel should be. It is fast-paced, has relatable protagonists, fabulous character development, and a storyline that I understood. I was hooked from the moment Bastian was introduced. The first chapter was raw, full of action, and the air of mystery around Bastian was fantastic. From there on, the story was full of twists and turns that I least expected. Just when I thought I had things under control and knew what would happen next, Jay Roland surprised me with something new. I loved the way that he introduced characters and ensured each was memorable. Bastian was my favorite, but Xander came very close. I was blown away by the world-building, the intricate details, the strange creatures, and even stranger mysteries. The story was engaging, the narrative was beautiful, and the action was intense. What more could you ask for?

Luwi Nyakansaila

Welcome to Ashana, a treacherous magical world filled with mythical creatures. In one moment, Bastian, a feral furry creature, loses his father and the Spirit Stone, a powerful relic that connects his tribe to their ancestors. Bastian embarks on a mission to retrieve the relic but lands in prison due to a misunderstanding. Here, he meets Kumori, a rogue with thieving tendencies, Xander, a powerful mage, and his cousin Reinhardt, a mischievous swordsman. The four unlikely friends escape to clear their names, but when they compare notes, they realize something big is happening in Ashana. Someone is murdering prominent people and gathering powerful artifacts. Bastian and his friends join forces to stop whoever is doing this and discover why they are collecting these powerful items. Get a copy of Shadow of the Soul Blade by Jay Roland and enjoy this action-packed adventure.

I loved reading Shadow of the Soul Blade because it has incredible characters and a unique and creative plot. The story contains gruesome scenes and comedic moments that balance perfectly. Xander and Reinhardt’s banter and Bastian’s dining etiquette made me laugh out loud. The main characters had a natural chemistry, and I witnessed their brotherhood, mutual respect, and loyalty develop throughout the plot. Jay Roland introduces readers to this new world with a unique mythology, currencies, traditions, religions, languages, and inhabitants. The author gives detailed information about Ashana and definitions whenever something new is introduced into the story. I loved that some aspects of his new world, like Xander and Reinhardt's version of rock paper scissors, were familiar. The book also contains a detailed map of Ashana showing its kingdoms and geographical features. This is a great story, and I highly recommend it to anyone who loves reading dark fantasy adventures. It is a must-read to add to your book collection.