I was afraid I’d be missing something by reading this story when I haven’t yet read ‘The Shadow Throne’ (I’m going to!), but no, you can jump right in here!
One of the characters is also featured in this free short – but again, you don’t have to have read it first: http://io9.com/the-coolest-fantasy-story-youll-read-this-week-514117561
‘The Shadow of Elysium’ introduces us to a young man, Abraham. He’s an ordinary villager – well, except that he has a demon inside him, which gives him the power to heal… or to kill. His father has always taught him to hide this power and never to speak of it, let alone use it. He obeys, and never tells even his most special friend, a young priest. But when it comes down to a life or death situation, will he able to resist doing all he can to aid his loved ones?
This is classic fantasy, familiar in some ways – but wonderful characters and relationships place this story well above the pack. Django Wexler seems to be getting better and better as a writer with every new item from him that I read.
My only quibble – the story ends in a way that makes it feel like more of an introductory chapter to a longer novel, rather than a completed story unto itself. I expect to hear what happens to these characters next, in the future!
Many thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read. As always, my opinion is solely my own.