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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
The Seventh Shadow by Keelan Powell is the first book in the Pathwalkers series. After being betrayed by his family, Arathos suffers the loss of his throne and his life, only to awaken in the desert where he meets a cloaked man named Nightshade who gives him a choice. He can stay out of the chaos to come or he can save old friends from Zeus's growing paranoia. As Arathos learns about his new abilities, he makes his first strike by breaking into Rhea's prison. While he works against Zeus, Arathos meets Nekroth, who is on his way to earth with the goal to save the world by first destroying it, and is willing to take out anyone who stands in his way. In order to stop these rising powers from destroying everything he cares about, Arathos turns to old friends and surprising allies.
Keelan Powell pulls together a variety of mythologies including Greek, Egyptian, and Norse in an action-packed adventure. Told from a variety of perspectives, The Seventh Shadow is a story of bravery and a hero's fight to save the world. Powell has an interesting contrast of heroes with Arathos and Nekroth, as Arathos believes a hero is one who fights not for themselves but for others, while Nekroth doesn't care who he hurts in his attempt to create his version of a perfect world. Several of the characters are famous names that will be immediately recognized, but Powell gives every character their due. The characters have traces of their well-known traits from the myths, but each has a twist on their personalities that factor into their dynamics. Even the minor characters have plenty of heart and their own quirks, which give them shining moments that stay with you. Each character stands out from the rest with subtle differences, from Thaegn who grieves the loss of his pet pig, to Davos who has a tendency to ramble, to the fairytale-like presence of Aurey, with many other characters to enjoy.
Powell includes jokes and winks at particular myths that are often humorous, including the enjoyable dynamic between the different gods, which are at times playful with a family feeling, seen especially through the banter of Hephaestus, Apollo, and Artemis. The scenes of violence and war are never graphic and are described in a way that's similar to the tone and style of myths. Perfect for lovers of mythology, The Seventh Shadow is a hero's journey full of adventure and heart, breathing new life in old myths.