Bane and Shadow by Jon Skovron

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Bane and Shadow by Jon Skovron

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Category: Fantasy
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Olivia Tierney
Reviewed by Olivia Tierney
Summary: An exciting and action-packed sequel with more pirate adventures, battles and politics. With even darker elements than the first novel, Bane and Shadow is a thrilling read in which our favourite characters begin to find out who they truly are.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 512 Date: February 2017
Publisher: Orbit
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0356507156

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I am beyond redemption

Bane and Shadow picks up a year after the final events of the first installment in the Empire of Storms series, which I highly recommend reading if you haven't already. Following the great characters we met in the previous novel, Bane and Shadow has even more action with brilliant battles, nail-biting tension and a new darkness to the story.

Having been taken by the biomancers, Red has been taught military strategy, the history of the Empire as well as combat to become the biomancer's deadly assassin. Securely kept in the Palace, Red is thrown into the nobles' society, impatiently waiting for the day he can use his newly developed skills to fight back against those who have imprisoned him. But, as Red becomes more and more involved in politics he begins to learn that the Empire's fate is on a knife's edge and that perhaps the biomancers have much more control over him than he realised.

Half way across the Empire, Hope, under the name Dire Bane, continues to embark on mission after mission terrorising Imperial ships, in order to rid the Empire of the Council of Biomancy. Travelling to the most distant parts of the empire, Hope alongside Brigga Lin and Nettles will uncover the full extent of the biomancers' power and desperation. And after seeing their most horrifying experiments, Hope will put her own plans in motion to raise an army and destroy the Biomancers' plans once and for all.

Meanwhile, the emergence of a new leader following the power vacuum in Paradise Circle threatens the unity of New Laven, and a Demon haunts the dark streets leaving gruesome killings in its wake…

After reading Jon Skovron's previous novel, I couldn't wait to get my hands on the sequel, and after reading Bane and Shadow, I can't wait to read the next book in the series!

The plot and the characters' stories are ridiculously entertaining with twists and turns adding more and more elements, including spies and underground networks, to the story as the book progresses. With Red's imprisonment at the Palace, there's also the exploration of politics amongst the nobility as well as internationally with the introduction of relations between the Empire and Aukbantor – the nation across the sea that the biomancers believe war with is inevitable.

The main difference between the first novel and the sequel is without a doubt its darkness. It's terrifying and disturbing in parts but it's so much more interesting and exciting as a result. This change in dynamic really sets Bane and Shadow apart from the first book in the series and was one of the book's best features. Not only was there gore in the described deaths and torture, there was darkness within the characters themselves, which added a whole new depth to the novel. Not to mention the biomancer experiments, which were chilling and added yet more fuel to our heros' desires of revolution.

The characters are once again fantastic and intelligent with individual story arcs allowing the side characters as well as the title characters to become leaders. Jon Skovron brilliantly develops both Hope and Red as well as Nettles, Brigga Lin and the other members of the crew. The growth and maturity of all these characters is the perfect in setting up the story for the future and is great to read.

The dialogue is just as funny and quick-witted as Hope and Red and I loved how the battle scenes were written, jumping from one narrative to another which superbly built tension, and the reader feels right in the middle of the action throughout.

Another phenomenal read, Jon Skovron's sequel is riveting and I would highly recommend this series to everyone!

Thank you very much to Orbit for providing a copy to review!

In terms of further reading, The Hundred-Thousand Kingdoms (Inheritance Trilogy) by N K Jemisin is a brilliantly written fantasy novel with sorcery, swords and political intrigue. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo is also an outstanding fantasy novel, with a clever heist plot and superb characters. Both are ridiculously good and highly recommended!

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Buy Bane and Shadow by Jon Skovron at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Bane and Shadow by Jon Skovron at


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