Series or Stand Alone: The White Shadow Saga, book one
Release Date: September 2009
Publisher: Fanda Books
Author Site: http://www.apstephens.com/
My Rating: 3.75/5
Source: Received from author for review
Synopsis [from goodreads.com]:
The era of peace among the elves, men, and dwarves comes to an end when one of Londor's twin moons disappears from the heavens. Without the moon's balancing effect, evil forces grow bold, and warfare, sickness, and chaos threaten life itself. Hearing the prayers of desperation that ride on the violent winds, the ancient wizard Randor Miithra, servant to the elf-gods, takes it upon himself to mend the world he has sworn to protect. The task will not be an easy one, though, for the wizard, too, has begun to feel the effects of the world's imbalance. As Randor struggles to maintain some semblance of his powers, he meets a secretive band of colorful characters from all walks of life, drawn together by a common goal: to find the stolen moon, whatever the cost. It does not take Randor and his motley company long to see that someone or something does not want the moon returned to the heavens. The road is perilous...the stakes have never been greater...will they find victory...or will they only find their deaths?
I'm not big with epic fantasy or quest type novels, not yet at least. I don't have any books like that under my belt that I can recall so I didn't really have any past experiences to base my thoughts on THE STOLEN MOON OF LONDOR. But I believe this book is a solid debut from an author that has a very promising future in my opinion.
There were a lot of things I liked about the novel. First thing being there was enough action in it to keep so many different types of readers satisfied. Sword fighting, paranormal creature-battles, magic-wielding, army-size battles, etc are abundant throughout the chapters. Some scenes definitely grabbed my attention and didn't let me go until the characters had a chance to breathe!
I also really enjoyed the creative world of Londor itself. Londor is a huge world inhabited by dwarfs, wizards, elves, and humans that is basically at the mercy of all those who battle on her lands. I was in awe of the inspiration that had to have hit the author to come up with some of the names, word usage, character background, and map-layout (which is partly included in the novel). As I was reading I kept thinking, "Where did A.P. Stephens come up with this stuff." Authors who can create entire new worlds for their readers deserve a great deal of respect and admiration and this author created a world I haven't been inside of before.
The writing style was overall pretty easy to follow. Although I did have a tough time getting into the story at the beginning. The number of characters and the abundance of "background" information didn't shock me since THE STOLEN MOON OF LONDOR is the first book in a planned series. However, I found myself not being able to connect with any of the characters really. All of the characters, villains included, have their strong points and their weaknesses. Strong points being the contrast between some of the characters. Some were extremely easy to both dislike and like personality wise. No two characters are alike, which is nice to have. The weaknesses vary from not enough information given by the author, to poor development overall. Either way, I am definitely looking forward to Londor's characters coming alive more in the next installment.
I think fantasy fans will enjoy this whether they are hardcore epic fantasy readers or not. THE STOLEN MOON OF LONDOR has a unique plot that I have yet to see around and it definitely makes me want more of the world and the characters in it. And yes, a moon is "stolen" or missing...I just have to know what happened to it!