The Last Seer King

Book two of the Shadow Sword series

Fiction - Fantasy - Epic
611 Pages
Reviewed on 07/12/2019
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Author Biography

S.J. Hartland is an Australian journalist, and former fencer, who calls the Darling Downs, Queensland, home.
She loves anything medieval and has spent too many holidays exploring remote castles all over the world.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Ruffina Oserio for Readers' Favorite

The Last Seer King is book two in the Shadow Sword series by S.J. Hartland, a well-plotted and wonderfully written epic fantasy with characters and worlds that transport readers. In a realm that is fast heading towards annihilation, heroes and brave warriors fight to restore the realm to its former glory. There is only one way for Roaran to beat the tyrant and it’s very painful, but will he tread the path he swore he never would and find redemption in doing what is right? Once a dangerous man and a slaver, Dannon is heeding a new call, one that compels him to change his old ways and embrace a new path. Val Arques is a powerful warrior, but he is in chains and all he yearns for is to find Kaell, but he only has one small opportunity to escape. Can he succeed?

A tale filled with action, dark magic, and powerful heroes fighting deadly enemies, The Last Seer King is replete with suspense and told in a style that is atmospheric, in prose that is delightful, and with characters that are real and compelling. What grabbed my attention as I opened the book was the author’s prose. It is filled with vivid descriptions and strong imagery. For instance, the description of Kaell caught up between the twilight zone of death and wakefulness is appealing to the senses: “But familiar sensations poured into him. Groping hands that pulled him towards wakefulness. The aroma of candlewax. The sight of dawn’s pink flush beyond a window. Cloth rubbing his skin. Even the weight of his head on a downy pillow.” The beauty of the language is one of the elements that set this narrative apart, both highly descriptive and insightful with poetic lines like “the silence sank into him, a beast of a thing that pawed his neck with unease as the clanging, pealing iron and the screams of men ebbed away.”

S.J. Hartland has a strong gift for plot and the shifts in points of view create suspense that gets the reader racing through the pages, always looking forward to what happens to the characters. The subplots are used to reinforce the suspense and sustain the reader’s interest in the story. This is a series I’d love to watch on screen. It is delightful and utterly gripping, with strong plot points and elaborately developed characters.

K.C. Finn

The Last Seer King is a work of epic fantasy fiction penned by author S. J. Hartland and is the second book in the Shadow Sword series. Written for mature audiences due to some violent and sexual content, the story continues the dark fantasy tale where an ensemble cast of powerful heroes are all awakening to their fates and destinies. Roaran seeks redemption for his past, but like anything, it comes with a price and he now has the power to save his realm if he is willing to face the dark secrets of times gone by. Alongside Roaran, a warlord, an escaped slave, and a powerful prophecy bring together an epic cast for a brand new adventure.

There is so much going on in this truly epic dark fantasy that it’s hard to know where to start. I loved Kaell’s story of growth and strength as the darkness builds all around him, and the attention to detail that author S. J. Hartland puts into all the characters is really something special to read. Though it is a hefty volume, the different strands of storyline keep everything fresh as we move between them, until they begin to converge and culminate with powerful consequences. Fans of nation-sweeping fantasy epics like Game of Thrones are certain to adore this style of narration, and the visceral descriptive work and strong atmospheric language only serve to enhance every moment of the fantasy experience. Overall, The Last Seer King is a superb second novel in a powerful, emotive and truly magical series; not to be missed.

Rabia Tanveer

In a world filled with lies, deceit, and traps, four men are trying to break free from the shackles binding them and learn to live once again. While one man is trying to find redemption, the other man is getting ready to be sold off to the highest bidder. On one hand, Dannon is trying hard to work something out and believe in something that might never be while on the other, we have Kaell, a man whose trials are neverending. All four of them have a path to walk and that path is intermingled by destiny. Will they realize what they have to do on time and in time? Will they be able to fight against time and forces far more powerful than they ever anticipated?

The Last Seer King is Book Two of the Shadow Sword Series by S.J. Hartland. Although I have not read the first novel in the series, I had no issues in catching up with the characters and understanding what was happening. It took me some time, but as I read on, I understood better and was soon invested in the story and the characters. This epic fantasy has so many layers and facets that I thought I would have a hard time concentrating, but it wasn’t something I had to worry about. The author handled everything, kept the pace and the momentum, and ensured that the reader had the best reading experience. Kaell is a very good character because he understands his strengths and weakness, but my favorite character has to be Roaran. Roaran wanted redemption and he was ready to do anything to get it. He was well-rounded, determined to learn to be better and accepting of his fate. I loved him and I thoroughly enjoyed this action-packed adventure.

Ray Simmons

The Last Seer King is an epic of dark magic combined with good old-fashioned sword and sorcery by S.J. Hartland. It is a deep novel of treachery, betrayal, and complex feudal relationships. I loved it. In fact, it reminded me very much of Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin. The Last Seer is the second book in a series called The Shadow Sword Series. I recommend you read the first one because it is very good and there is a lot going on. I really like this kind of tale when the writing is good, and S.J. Hartland is one of the best out there. There are a lot of characters and the plot lines are complex, but the author guides you through it all with the skill of a master.

The writing is the first thing that comes to mind when I think of the attributes of The Last King Seer because it steers you through the complexity. But characters and setting must be mentioned too. There are several characters in The Last Seer King who could easily be the star of their very own epic saga, which makes them terrific co-stars for this tale. As mentioned earlier, the plot is very complex. Everyone has an agenda and that agenda doesn’t necessarily line up with that of their Lord or brother, or the needs of the kingdom. I liked that. This story is a fast read because of the writing and so much going on in the lives of these awesome characters. S.J. Hartland is a master storyteller and The Last Seer King is a masterpiece.

Romuald Dzemo

The Last Seer King is Book Two in the Shadow Sword series by S.J. Hartland and a novel written for fans of epic fantasy. There is a lot to love in this narrative. First, the prose is impeccably good, punctuated by vivid descriptions of exotic landscapes and locales the likes of which readers seek in fantasy movies. Then there is a cast of compelling characters, a legendary king seeking his way back to a kingdom that belongs to him, a captured warrior seeking freedom and reunion with a soul with whom he shares a common purpose, and many others. The setting is a well-imagined universe filled with magic and dark forces that threaten the very fabric of life.

This is a novel with characters that are well-developed, each of them unique, each of them fighting for a cause, and their conflicting desires are pitted against each other. S.J. Hartland combines intrigue and magic with the deft art of storytelling to create a narrative that is suspenseful and action-packed. Characters like Roaran the warlord, and slaver Dannon, the infatigable warrior Val Arques, and many others are memorable. Readers can easily connect with them, feel drawn in by their humanity and be enticed by the adventures into which life has thrust them. I enjoyed the points of view as these come out through each character. The Last Seer King is filled with magic, wonderful elements of setting and unforgettable characters. A fascinating read, indeed!