Synopsis according to GoodReads:
"Raised by his protective mother in the sunny clime of the south, Gavril Andar knows nothing of his father—or the ominous legacy that awaits him. But his innocence is about to be shattered. The man who ruled the wintry kingdom of Azhkendir, a man infused with the burning blood of the dragon-warrior known as Drakhaoul, has been murdered by his enemies. It is his fiery, chameleonlike blood that pulses through Gavril’s veins. The news is Gavril’s first taste of death—but it will not be his last. For blood is the liquid that seals his fate.
Expected by clan warriors from the north to avenge his father’s murder—and still his unquiet ghost—Gavril is kidnapped. He soon learns that becoming Drakhaon means not only ascending to the throne of Azhkendir but changing, in subtle ways at first, into a being of extraordinary power and might. A being that must be replenished with the blood of innocentsin order to survive. Ensconced in Kastel Drakhaon with no means of escape from the icebound kingdom, and carefully watched by neighboring rulers waiting to move against him, the untested Gavril must fight to retain his human heart and soul in the face of impending war—and the dark instincts that threaten to overpower him."
Lord of Snow and Shadows is an epic story. And I mean that in the traditional sense: there's a cast of characters that's fairly large, it spans several countries, and it involves a lot of political intrigue and boundary disputes as well as a basic coming-of-age/coming-into-power story for TWO primary characters. I was not prepared for all of that, so it took me some time to get through.
If you like epics, I recommend it. I had the ARC version, so hopefully it's been cleaned up a bit in publication. My primary frustration with it was that I didn't feel very invested in any of the characters. We were juggling so many, it was difficult to get attached or intimate with just one.
Aside from that, it was complex, had a few nice twists, had characters I wanted to bash into a wall (Astasia, for one), and took influence from some elements of European history. The imagery was where it shines the most, making you feel the cold, desolate northern country in your bones.
And while it doesn't end on a cliffhanger, per se, there are plenty of unanswered questions to drive you to book two (and probably book three, as well).
Labels: action, book review, dragons, epic, fantasy, lord of snow and shadows, political intrigue, sarah ash, wraiths