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Shadowless is a fantasy book by a Northern Irish author Randall McNally. I am glad I finally got around to reading this title and even more glad I FINALLY managed to finish it. The book is quite a tome, yes, but it was my personal schedule that didn’t allow me to actually read it as fast as I wanted to! An, man oh man, did I want to read it faster!

Shadowless, whilst it could work 100% as a standalone; it, at the same time, is a perfect first book to start off a series.

Shadowless are the offspring of evil gods; part mortal, part god. They are born out of rape and chased with the intent to kill their whole lives – lives that they live for centuries- because not having a shadow which equals having a sort of a superpower makes them essentially an abomination for the human kind and the priests. If that wasn’t grim enough, the gods themselves, their fathers, are after them because of the power that the Shadowless carry within them. The older the Shadowless get, the more their power grows and with their death, the power will be sent back to the god, or distributed in between their father and other shadowless siblings. Thinking of it- the gods essentially ‘feed’ on their children’s spirits, in a way!

This book is unreal! Yes, it takes the age-old man versus god fight, the part-man/part-god idea and turns it up a notch by adding some really unique elements by ‘superpowers’ and a revolution that has been stewing for centuries on a basis of a prophecy. Oh! It also has a dragon! 😉 I very much liked that dragon and I hope to read more about the dragon in the future!

Going back to the ‘unreal’ part- you see, there are quite a number of gods each with their own specific ‘area’ of, shall we say, expertise. So, you might have a God of Death, a God of Violence, or a god of various natural elements. And the offspring receive their father’s specific area. An example: a Shadowless who is able to breathe both on land and whilst walking the bottom of the ocean. Or, a Shadowless who can read thoughts, or a Shadowless who can manipulate rocks, or metal… you get the gist. The Shadowless are also easily referenced back to who their father is by the colour of their eyes. Each has their own unique set of colours. So, it’s the small, thought out detail that I really enjoyed here.

But… I am still not explaining my statement of ‘unreal’ … There are many Shadowless and the book is structured so that even though there is the main thread with a certain direction from A to B, or from beginning to end, each Shadowless has their very own chapter. I mean, the imagination in this book knows no boundaries. The chapters are long enough to place each Shadowless into a unique setting and allow the reader to really get to know them.

There may be an argument that there are too many characters and throughout the book we do not really revisit them to keep them fresh in the mind, but I do not stand by this argument. I actually liked that this book was different this way- it was like receiving a book of many stories within it, all working towards the same goal. This also, in my mind, works out pretty well… Shadowless, whilst it could work 100% as a standalone; it, at the same time, is a perfect first book to start off a series.

The world building and the writing are strong- a joy to read, really! So, if fantasy, gods and a bit of plotting for a revolution is your thing, I would highly recommend this book. It’s full of adventure! It’s also grim and gory and even sad. But the individual character exploration, the main plot, the variety of unique settings and well-placed twists made for a smooth reading experience!

This review was written by Liz Scanlon and featured in Cover to Cover.


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