Book Review: Of Sea and Shadow (The Elder Empire: Sea, #1) by Will Wight

Book Review: Of Sea and Shadow (The Elder Empire: Sea, #1) by Will Wight

Cover illustration by: Micah Epstein

Of Sea and Shadow by Will Wight

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: The Elder Empire: Sea (Book #1 of 3)

Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy

Pages: 428 pages (Kindle edition)

Published: 30th December 2014 by Hidden Gnome Publishing (Indie)


This pirate fantasy was almost as good as its parallel novel.

“The successful man visualizes success rather than failure,”

Having just finished reading and reviewing Of Shadow and Sea two days ago, I will inform you first now that this Of Sea and Shadow review will focus mainly on what I found superior or inferior comparatively. That means I won’t be repeating what I’ve talked about in detail on my review Of Shadow and Sea again here. Please do note that my experience of reading this novel was indeed affected because I’ve read Of Shadow and Sea before; if I’ve read Of Sea and Shadow first instead, there’s a good chance that I would enjoy it more.

“The wise man is not blinded by gold, but only a fool turns it down.”

Calder Marten is a Reader, a person who can read and manipulate the Intent of objects; they’re individuals who could see visions of the past, goals for the future, and many more aspects contained in an object. If you’ve read The Founders series by Robert Jackson Bennett, a Reader’s ability is more or less similar to the magic system in that series: Scriving. The main conflict of the story of Calder’s novel is pretty much the same as Shera’s story, it revolves around the Heart of Nakothi, except that this time, obviously, the story is told from Calder’s POV. I was seriously afraid that reading Shera’s book would ruin my enjoyment of Calder’s story, and although it’s true some events lose their impacts because I knew how they would unfold already, there were still more than plenty of new content to immerse myself in. For example, in Shera’s first book, we get to see the details of being a Gardener in the Consultant’s Guild and also their role in the Empire; there’s almost none of that here. Instead, we learn about more about the Elders, the Guilds—especially Blackwatch and Navigator’s Guild—and also more details into Reader’s ability. Similar to Shera’s, though, Wight fleshed out Calder’s character using two timelines: the past and present day. The chapters on Calder’s past were most likely the most enjoyable aspect of the book for me. Not only they’re uncharted territories, but the injustice and some harsh events he encountered in his past were also gripping.

“When men govern according to their own petty concerns, rather than for the good of all mankind, then war becomes an inevitability.”

I’ve been asked several times which one would be better to read first, and whether both are necessary to read. My answers to those would be to choose whichever you want to start your adventure with, but make sure to eventually read both. As I said before, there’s still a lot to learn even if you’ve read the parallel novel. Details from both books combined made this parallel series one big fantasy novel of assassin versus pirates with great characters, actions, and world-building. Of Sea and Shadow was almost as good as its counterpart, and it’s highly probable if I’ve read this one first, I might have enjoyed this one more. I definitely look forward to continuing Shera and Calder’s journey again.

“Anger is a cruel thief,” Sadesthenes said. “It gives one the illusion of focus while stealing away the real thing.”


You can order the book from: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Book Depository (Free shipping)

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