These books read as one story and only make sense if they are read in order.
The first book in the series and the debut for the author. I was blown away with the writing, story, complexity of the world she created, number of characters she created and their development. I inhaled the book and the subsequent two books in the series. It looks like there will be more and I cannot wait.
Fajardo’s writing is superb, complex, detailed and it flows beautifully. The story is interesting, complex, consistent, contains many characters, based on original idea and follows several situations in a parallel manner. The characters are consistent, well developed and sometimes contain layers of complexity. They are numerous: K aka Kajhoul, Jaron, Tyran, Jarod aka The Enforcer, Maya, Mikel, Citera, Dirik and some side characters. All of these characters are developed into detail and followed through the stories.
In this book we get introduced to the country of Vanteria and the harsh life of people in the town of Vicaris. Vanteria is ruled by three Shadows, cruel to no end. The situation in Vicaris is not good and it is not getting better. People are divided into races and classes, some living slightly better than others. Due to fate or combination of coincidental events, our main characters unwillingly end up on the same side and working towards the same goal. Their relationships are complicated and not without problems, and I cannot say all their problems get resolved by the end of this or the subsequent books.
I could not stop reading to see what happens next. All three books read like one continuous piece of work. Prologue of each book adds to the information we encounter later and to the layers of complexity of the story and the characters. I honestly do not have a clear idea where the series is going and this thrills me. It is a rare occasion that I meet a book, or a series, or an author this good. All I have is praise.
In the second book, our characters continue with their struggles, but unlike the first book, this book is slightly more relaxed. It is like a short break from struggles for some of the characters. Towards the end, things intensify again, and some of the characters face almost impossible challenges. The story develops, characters become more complex, and the world expands beyond Vanteria and into the haunted woods and the Oasis.
The third book continues with the same intensity the second book finished, and it reaches the culmination of events towards the end. However, it leaves us with the feeling that things are only starting now, and there is this anticipation of the next book. Almost all of our characters are together now, and their interactions become even more interesting. The break from struggles is long over and new challenges begin. The world expands well beyond Vanteria and Oasis into other countries and races. All in all, amazing books, and one of the best series I have ever read. I honestly cannot wait for the next book or books. I am hoping for plurality.
K.R. Fajardo’s Shadow Chronicles series is situated in the Council’s seven country territory and it consist of three books until now: K: The Awakening, Linked, and Forsaken, and the books should be read in exactly this order. The events in the first book occur mostly in Vanteria, second mostly in Oasis and the third book shifts between events in Lanoria and Oasis. Stalking Fate is sort of the fourth book and the events occur mostly in Zerdanda with a short visit to Lanoria. The reason I am stating this is because the first three books follow the same timeline, while the events in this book occur during the White Queen trial in Lanoria, which is second half of the third book, Forsaken. Unlike the other three books, this book can be read as standalone, but it is so much better read together with the other three. And although this book does not feature any of the characters from the previous three books, it contributes greatly to the world building and understanding of the Council’s territories.
The main characters here are Senka, a Night Stalker and Duncan, a bear shifter. Their particular paranormal traits are quite significant in this world as all “races” are strictly segregated in their own territories, and do not mix often. Senka and Duncan come from one of the tribes of Wanderars.
Vanteria is ruled by the Shadows, sort of vampires, and is inhabited mostly by humans and enslaved vampires. Lanoria is the land of elementals and is ruled by Lord Mallok, the Elemental King. Zerdanda is the land of shifters and is ruled by Lady Kirsten, the Queen. Oasis is sort of ruled by Kajhoul, the White Queen who is not really accepted by the Council. We briefly meet the council in Forsaken, but their countries are not explored yet. There are various tribes of Wanderers, which accept all races and do not ask questions about past or origin. The Wanderers are mostly not bothered by the rulers of the territory where they settle, as they strike some kind of a deal or another. The races are not allowed into territories other than their own. Humans are present here and there, especially in Vanteria.
It is obvious that world of such detail and magnitude cannot be divulged in one book, and not even four, so the author’s approach to reveal the world little by little is both ingenious and infuriating. It is infuriating because I immediately want more, but it is ingenious because it is addictive and there is always something left unsaid and it pulls you in and keeps you glued to the story. With unsaid I don’t mean incomplete, far from it. Once the author starts peeling the layers of the particular location, country or a character, she goes deep into details, develops the entity in question and before she is done, she moves onto another. In the first three books, the author created a rich, well developed, detailed world with complex characters. She followed several stories, numerous characters and locations in parallel and did not miss one necessary detail. This book is somewhat different from the previous three in the sense that the author follows only two characters, and they are separated very briefly. This did not take away from the richness of the world building, quite the contrary, it seems that the author paid more attention to bring Zerdanda closer and make all the necessary links with Lanoria in order to situate her story and the characters firmly into the Council’s seven country territory.
The characters are amazing. Both Senka and Duncan are former mercenaries and highly trained killers, who hang their weapons in desire to live a quiet life and contribute to the society they live in. And they did for a while, until Senka’s sister got abducted. Most of the book focuses on the rescue mission, which creates a great opportunity for the development of the relationship between Senka and Duncan, that said, the book also delves into the past of both of the characters and their need for redemption.
The author’s writing is superb, she provides some of the best characters ever developed and her world is unparalleled in its magnitude and complexity. I hope this adventure continues as it is incredibly exciting to explore.
The fifth and final book in the series has been announced but the release date has not been published yet.