A Dark Fantasy Adventure

Young Adult - Fantasy - Epic
258 Pages
Reviewed on 01/24/2018
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Author Biography

D J Reid lives by the sea in the beautiful city of Edinburgh, Scotland. She enjoys walking on the shore and through the haunted streets of the old city. She loves books in every genre, but especially fantasy, psychological thrillers and ghost stories and has no desire to be delivered from ghoulies and ghosties, long-leggedy beasties and things that go bump in the night. She also loves history, mythology, the countryside and animals and several cats have owned her.

Her novel Shadowfest is a fantasy adventure set in an imagined ancient Celtic world. Morven the Mage and the world of “Shadowfest” also appear in “Tor Donnach”, a short story in “The Rider” anthology, published by Crimson Cloak.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Lesley Jones for Readers' Favorite

Shadowfest is a dark, dramatic tale of duplicity, cunning and treachery with a backdrop of mystical folklore. A true roller coaster battle between good and evil, truth and cunning. D.J. Reid builds the suspense from the outset: ‘She had just brewed up a fresh batch of poisons when they rapped at the door.’ The story is split in two parts, present day and nine years previously. The present day tale covers the investigation into the murder of a temple guard. The prime suspect is an old apothecary named Brona. The other tale concerns Brona's granddaughter, Morven, a feisty young girl who is a fearless warrior, a true survivor. Shadowfest is just nine days away, the time of year when everything can change, but who will win - good or evil?

Shadowfest is a non-stop journey of twists and turns which draw you into the pages from the start. D.J. Reid is a master at building three-dimensional characters and taking you on a journey of suspense. I liked the short chapters and the fact that the story was told from each character's perspective. It is the first fantasy novel I have read and I didn’t think I would enjoy it. I was wrong; Shadowfest certainly had me on the edge of my seat until the nail biting finish. The ending, I must say, is one of the best I have read and certainly not expected. If you are an avid fan of legend and folklore, this is a book you must read. I will certainly be reading more of Reid’s books.

Romuald Dzemo

Shadowfest by D.J. Reid is an epic fantasy with a sophisticated plot and cunning twists — nothing is what it seems, powerful people seeking help where no one expected, and the tension mounting quickly into a dizzying crescendo as the Holy City moves towards the most important moment of her cycle: the Night of the Spirits. A temple guard in the Holy City has been murdered and everyone suspects the apothecary, Brona. It’s nine days before the Night of the Spirits and, to prove her innocence, she goes out to hunt the murderer. The powerful investigator, Aurelian, is equally determined to rid the city of murderers and mages, but does he know exactly what he is up against? Could it be a coincidence that nine years earlier, on the same date, a young mage, Morven, was cast out of her own city? Betrayal, intrigue, and magic are brilliantly blended together in a tale that will keep the reader on the edge of their seat from the very beginning to the satisfying end.

D.J. Reid is one of those rare authors who succeed in making the reader feel like part of their literary tapestry, building a very strong connection between readers and characters and the world in which the action takes place, thanks to her storytelling skills and her gift for exciting prose. Her characters are wonderful and it is interesting how they evolve within the dynamics of the story and the conflict. Each character carries a world of dreams with them, and each character faces great stakes piled up against them. I particularly loved the villain of the story and the way he is crafted; Cassian, who uses dark sorcery to summon evil. His machinations fuel the conflict and create the kind of anxiety in readers that make the story even more compelling. Shadowfest is intelligently imagined and cunningly plotted, a well-written epic fantasy that plunges the reader into a strangely familiar world.

K.J. Simmill

An old woman was seen fleeing the scene following the murder of a temple guard, and soon fingers are pointing towards Brona, the old apothecary. There is a great divide between those who can wield magic, and those who cannot, and the murder has caused great unrest, especially given the approach of Shadowfest. The timing of this murder seems a little suspect, and whispers of the return of a long dead killer echo through the silent corridors. It has been a long time since evil forces breached the wall, but when the view between worlds is at its thinnest anything can happen, especially if it is all in the design of a being seeking their own darkest desires. Join the adventure in D.J. Reid's Shadowfest, and see if agendas can be set aside in order to prevent the worst possible outcome.

Shadowfest is written in alternating first person and third person perspectives, focusing on the characters central to the plot. Clear headings make it easy to follow whose perspective you are reading and, with subtle differences in style between each one, you really start to get a feel for the individual personalities of the characters. As a tale of magic and betrayal, with some good attention to culture, world building, and magical application, D.J. Reid crafts a book that will appeal to fantasy fans. There is some beautiful, descriptive scene setting writing in places that really gives you a feel for what is occurring and the environment. The steady pace gains momentum and, in a story with dark forces, prejudices, suspicion and dire happenings afoot, this serves to draw the reader deeper into the finely woven tale.