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Monday, May 18, 2015

Book Review: The Shadow of Elysium (Shadow Campaigns) by Django Wexler

The Shadow of Elysium (Shadow Campaigns)
by Django Wexler
Print Length: 71 pages
Publisher: InterMix (May 19, 2015)
Penguin Group (USA) LLC
From the author of The Price of Valor, The Shadow Throne, and The Thousand Names comes a new novella set in the world of the Shadow Campaigns—"a world of dust and bayonets and muskets...and magic."*

The wagons travel north across the mountains, carrying cargo of great value: Hamveltai glass and porcelain; Deslandai jewelry in heavy iron strongboxes; fine cloth from the cities of the Old Coast. And Abraham.

Bound and tied, guarded day and night, Abraham has been stolen from his village, from the arms of the man he loved. He is being sent to the fortress-city of Elysium to serve a dark and ancient order, the Priests of the Black. They have discovered the secret he kept all his life: that inside him dwells a demon which allows him to heal...and to kill.

But Abraham is not alone. A young woman named Alex, similarly possessed, rides with him. And as a bond grows between them, they begin to wonder if they can turn the demons that have damned them into their salvation.

This is a novella that follows on from the events of The Penitent Damned.

I remember when Django Wexler hit the shelves with The Thousand Names debut...I mean how can you forget that name, and the cover is pure awesome. But I was on the fence about reading it since I'm not a big military-ish genre fan. BUT! (isn't there always?) I got a chance to try a taste of Django and the world he created in the novella The Shadow of Elysium. Turns out I've been missing out on some excellent writing and a unique magic mythos.

In The Shadow Campaigns world, demons find human hosts and give that person a specific magical power. I get the feeling the host can use the magical ability for good or evil, depending on the character of the person. Once the host dies the demon can leave to find another victim. There are demon hunters who find the hosts and imprison them at Elysium, making sure they live a very long life and preventing the demon from escaping for as long as possible.

The Shadow of Elysium is the story of Abraham. A young man with a demon that gives him the power to kill and heal. The story starts with him in a cage, along with a young woman, on the way to Elysium. Told from Abraham's POV, we learn about the events of his life that led up to his capture through expertly used flashbacks. What you get is a compelling story that makes me want to find out more about the world Wexler has created.

I highly recommend this novella to any fantasy fan looking for a new author to enjoy.

4.5 "demon" Sheep


About the Author:
Django Wexler graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh with degrees in creative writing and computer science, and worked for the university in artificial intelligence research. Eventually he migrated to Microsoft in Seattle, where he now lives with two cats and a teetering mountain of books. When not planning Shadow Campaigns, he wrangles computers, paints tiny soldiers, and plays games of all sorts.

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