This is one of the most, if not the most, unique book I’ve read this year. I could say that this story is about children of evil Gods who are hunted by evil people because they are born Shadowless. The people who hunt them are attempting to appease the Gods pre-emptively, based on some bad past experience with protecting one of the Shadowless. Why? Because when these Gods create children, some of their power gets lost and given to the child, rendering them temporarily weaker than they’d like to be. However, as the child grows, the power grows and the God can reabsorb that power and become more powerful than before. The absorption concept is contingent on releasing the energy the child has, which is done through the killing of their offspring. Everyone lives in terror of the Gods, until a chosen one is born to change the future.
I could say… there, that’s the story. But it’s not. Not actually. The story is about 100 times more complicated.
I have to admit to waffling a bit on whether it was a four star book or a five, but I will explain that. See, the problem is that I really wanted this book to be 10 books. Instead, it’s one incredibly dense volume. Yet, I almost feel like this book is a sampler, in a way. A tiny taste of this world that Randall McNally has crafted, and a big part of me really wishes that he’d taken each one of these interesting characters, and woven it into a really long, in-depth jaunt through this gigantic world. Then finally, some many books later, have them all meet up toward a final goal. When I’m of that mindset, it’s a 4. When I remind myself that he could still break it all up into a ton of books just for this tiny piece of the story, leaving loads that could come after or before, I’m back at a 5 again.
This is like randomly picking up the Silmarillion and getting introduced to a world in which you are left wanting so much more from it all because you sampled several small stories. I will take a moment to mention that I don’t make Tolkien comparisons often.
I loved so much about the world, and in it found so much darkness and devastation, that it makes you feel like you’re stepping into a moment in time in which everything is at it’s very lowest, and you are only able to go up from there. Which is good, because it creates a concept of hope for a better future for the people of that world. Particularly, for the Shadowless.