Shadows of Illyria: Phantoms of War by JM VanZuiden (Book Review)

Shadows of Illyria: Phantoms of War

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  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Source: Review Copy
  • Format: Ebook
  • Pages: 505
  • Publisher: Aarden Press
  • Publication Date:  December 2018
  • My Rating: 4 stars

Goodreads Blurb

Shadows of Illyria is a ground-breaking new series which departs from traditional fantasy fiction with the use of gritty realism in the portrayal of war, mythical creatures, and even magic. Written by a combat veteran of the Iraq War, author JM VanZuiden seamlessly weaves the realities of war into a fantasy tapestry. This unique perspective creates a fresh approach to the genre that is both epic in its scope and dark in its nature. 

Join Captain Aldric Herboren as he struggles to survive through an Orcish invasion whilst battling his inner demons. Are his dreams a grim reminder of a haunting past or something far more sinister? 

Beware the Phantoms of War. 

My Thoughts

Shadows of Illyria: Phantoms of War by JM VanZuiden begins with an emotional and insightful prologue on wars and their repercussions.

I was a little surprised to discover that the book is written in second person narrative. For me, it didn’t make the story flow well, but I got used to it. The writing style otherwise was very good.

We are introduced to Sergeant Aldric who notices some orcs and keeps on having some heartbreaking flashbacks. He finds an injured girl
A’yala, who is an elf. As Aldric helps her to heal, she becomes his companion.

As the book progresses, we learn about this fantastical world and history. The book is full of invasions and battles. With mythical creatures and magic, this book is a complete package. I liked that the author tried to show realities of war through a fantasy work.

Aldric and A’yala’s romance was incredibly sweet. Not a lot of books nowadays show a slow-burn romance.

This book is a very adventurous and exciting high fantasy novel. My interest waned at times but overall, it is a great start to a series.


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