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Of Shadow and Sea

The Elder Empire: Shadow, Book 1
Narrated by: Emily Woo Zeller
Series: The Elder Empire: Shadow, Book 1, The Elder Empire, Book 1
Length: 12 hrs and 2 mins
5 out of 5 stars (5 ratings)

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Summary

The Consultant’s Guild has served the Aurelian Empire for over 1,000 years, working in the darkness to hunt dissension and eliminate traitors.

Now, the Emperor is dead.

For Shera, an assassin in the employ of the Consultants, the Emperor’s death is the beginning of a nightmare. Powerful forces hunt the Heart of Nakothi, a cursed artifact that can raise a second Emperor...and corrupt him in the process.

But some desire power at any cost.

The Guild of Navigators, an infamous collection of swindlers and pirates, has been paid a fortune to secure the Heart. Their only lord is greed, their only loyalty to gold, and they would sell the Empire’s freedom for the promise of a quick coin.

In the shadows, a woman works to set the world free.

On the seas, a man seeks to raise a lunatic to lord over mankind.

Will you walk the shadows here with Shera? Or will you explore the seas with Calder, in the parallel novel Of Sea and Shadow?

©2014 Hidden Gnome Publishing (P)2019 Audible, Inc.

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Profile Image for J. Samuels
  • J. Samuels
  • 01-03-20

Excellent book, excellent performance

I love Will Wights ability to create a world and scenes and have you immersed in them. detailed enough, but not annoyingly so.

Emily Woo Zeller.... thank you Will for choosing my other favorite narrator! I love Travis & Emily.... and the fact that you have both! Emily brings the characters to life. She makes you wish you could meet and know the characters personally.

The story is told in present day and in the past. giving you a well rounded idea of who the characters are. all of them. not just the protagonist.

i wish Will would write a story from the perspective of Maya and Lucan. or a book with chapters dedicated to each. just like in the cradle series he created characters that you root for and want to learn everything about them. Karian is also a favorite.

I'm looking forward to book "two", and have already started the parallel book read by Travis!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Larry Buckmaster
  • 25-02-20

Fantastically Written and Read Story

I have loved all of Will Wight’s books. Hearing them has been even better. Then with Emily Woo Zeller added to the team...WOW...just WOW!!!!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Lonnie-The GreatNorthernTroll-Moore
  • 19-02-20

My new found favorite author strikes again...

Will Wight turned into my favorite new author of 2019. That's when I found, and fell in love with, his "Cradle" series, and I binged the whole thing in way less than a month! So as I wait for the next book, Will Wight offered up a sale on another series, and it's being released this year by Audible, with 2 of my favorite narrator's. Following is a segment of the intro to Of Shadow and Sea:
"Welcome, Reader. Right now, you’re reading the first book in the Elder Empire series. But it’s not the ONLY first book! Of Shadow and Sea was written in parallel with Of Sea and Shadow, which tells a related story in the same world. These first two books were written as a pair, and their stories intertwine in a way that we think you’ll enjoy. We invite you, when you’re through with this book, to check out Of Sea and Shadow. Until then… Welcome to the Elder Empire."

Of Shadow and Sea tells us of Shera's troubled life. From a very young age she had been trained to kill, and she learned those lessons well. She had few friends, and eventually she worked for the Emperor himself, as he honed her to be his "blade"! Now the Emperor is dead and Shera absolutely has to stop the plunder of a powerful artifact (the Heart of Nakothi) as it simply cannot fall into any one person's hands. At any and all costs, it must be destroyed, and that will be no easy task!
You're going need to grab this book to find out how that works out!
Now... onto Of Sea and Shadow to get the story from Shera's nemeses !!!

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Erik
  • 18-02-20

Good first entry in the series

I am a huge fan of Will Wight’s Cradle series, and I enjoyed his House of Blades books. This is the first of the two “first books” that I read, and I just started of Sea and Shadow.

The book has some really cool and interesting world elements, namely the idea of Intent. I want to see how this concept can be explored further. The beginning of the book sort of just drops you into a world that is already moving - which honestly made it a little bit difficult to immerse myself in the story and characters, as opposed to the way that the slowly growing or unfolding world of Wight’s other series introductions pulled me in immediately.

The narration was really the most difficult part for me. The sort of whispering voice of the narrator throughout the book made it difficult to listen to, and definitely difficult to convey anything other than a “sneaking around in the dark” feeling. It really doesn’t match whenever there is situations of some levity with the characters, or definitely during action sequences, and was the weakest part of the experience for me. Just due to the narration in my mind I kept envisioning that everything was happening at night in the dark!

Overall I still enjoyed though. Will Wight is just so talented and I can’t wait to hear how the story will sound from the narration of Travis Baldree, who I really enjoy!

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  • Sailfish
  • 13-02-20

A sociopath with friends on the side

I enjoyed both Will Wight's story and the excellent narration performance of Emily Woo Zeller. Of particular note, Ms Zeller was able to pull off a good impersonation of male characters' timbre, something I've found difficult for many female narrators.

The story itself reminds me a bit of Mark Lawrence's Red Sister, Books of the Ancestor series but maybe even a bit darker in tone. Shera, as written, is a very interesting character. Ostensibly, she shows all the outward signs of being a psychopath when dispensing with her enemies but internally she is written as a more complex person than that, one who knows they lack the appearance of empathy but, by her actions, prefers not to kill her targets. Similar to Red Sister, she has bonded with two other companions and the author has written them such that they all have their own strengths and while Shera is the obvious MC, the other two are like her left and right arms when they encounter over-whelming odds.

The end of the novel suggests two paths the listener can take, continuing on with Shera's journey or moving to a parallel journey that focuses on Calden Marten's, her antagonist in this book. As of this writing, the audiobook version of her continued journey is not yet available so early listeners like myself will have to follow Calden Marten's path which, is not a bad thing; especially considering it is performed by one of my top-tier narrators, Travis Baldree.

As an aside, the last we left the Cradle series, there were allusions made that they were in a multiverse but with little details of what these these other realms consisted of. It does beg the question of whether the Elder Empire is a tangential realm to Cradle or completely unrelated. And since we're on the subject, what about the Cradle series?

1 person found this helpful

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  • John
  • 12-02-20

Not my cup of tea.

The way the book skips from past to present every chapter makes the story feel disjointed.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 27-03-20

Greta story, decent reading

Great story. I prefer Shera’s story to Calders. The narrator does an admirable job, but stumbles on preforming the male characters. I’m sure it would raise the price, but the better option would have been to have Travis do the men’s voices for both story lines while Emily did the female. Then whichever path you listen to, the voices remain the same.

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  • Bryan S Guzman
  • 21-03-20

lot of potential

So there isn't anything wrong with this story percent I just really didn't like the constant flipping back-and-forth between past and present That always felt a little disjointed Otherwise I quite like it

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  • Matthew
  • 21-02-20

Some good, some bad

I understand the author wanted to make each set of books standalone but that's not how it turned out. This is a review of both first books Shadow and Sea, Sea and Shadow.

These two books were supposed to be complete standalones. Did either one feel like a standalone? For me, NO. Not even close.

I struggled to finish Shadow and Sea. I don't feel it was the writing or the worldbuilding, but the construction. The narrative is driven by events unfolding in the 'present day' and the world and context is revealed and fleshed out by jumping to events in the main characters past. This is a common writing technique that usually works quite well.

The problem with these books however is neither book is complete; jumping from current day to past events doesn't fill the voids that you can feel are missing. It's never fully satisfying, or even a little satisfying, I struggled to finish Shadow and Sea (Zeller) and was glad when it ended.

When certain events come to a head in Shadow and Sea (Zeller) there are quite obviously huge pieces of context missing from the scenes. I can tell the author really tried hard to make each book standalone (Will is a fantastic writer), but that effort really wasn't enough.

I almost didn't get Sea and Shadow (Baldree), but I'm glad I did. It's the heart and soul that's missing from Shadow and Sea, but it's a bittersweet feeling. I had to buy two different, incomplete, sets of puzzle pieces to complete one amazing picture.

I can't say I'm looking forward to the next set, I'd say I feel ambivalent. They'll probably go on the wishlist but only if I don't have anything else to read.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 18-02-20

Slightly less dark Warhammer

This book as well as it's sister novel (I get what he's going for with two separate books but, really, they should just be one book) are pretty decent. If you like Eldritch horror I'd give it a read. Solid characters and story, but nothing really special. Good world building and society, I like the approach to eldritch powers. Overall it's good but not amazing.
My one major issue is the draw from Warhammer lore (God-Emperor and reskinned chaos gods with minor variations)