The Lush Loves Legends (of the Dragonrealm)

Recently, my editor decided to stop by my day job with a bit of a surprise: a review copy of a book that had not yet been published. That book is Richard A. Knaak’s Legends of the Dragonrealm: Shade and, at the time of my typing this, the novel is still yet to have been printed. While I don’t have the finished copy, let’s just say I’m ready to buy the finished one. This is my kind of book and, after doing my digging, I LOVE what the artist has done for its cover.

This novel makes Mr. Knaak’s 18th in the Dragonrealm series, featuring previous origins publications and PDF releases. It’s another jewel in the crown for a new king of fantasy, having authored a good number of books for Blizzard’s World of Warcraft and Diablo worlds, three works in the Age of Conan series, the Dragonlance series, as well as five non-series novels.

I’ll admit, again, to being a slacker- I’ve not read any of the rest of the Legends of the Dragonrealm books. The nice thing? I didn’t need to. Shade is a novel that stands well on its own and builds a world from the unknown to detail before the reader has finished. It takes talent to build a world like the Dragonrealm, and Mr. Knaak is in no short supply. Between the Hell Plains, the tunnels of the dwarves, the Crystal Dragon’s lair, and the pocket dimension, there’s nothing left to be desired aside from a vacation!

Now, to the meat of things…

The book is focused, primarily, on the questing of the sorcerer who bears the name given to him: Shade. However, in spite of the titling, it is so much more. You follow more than just Shade and get to see the world from multiple facets. I loved that it had multiple points of view without losing focus to the central storyline, and the twists kept thing interesting enough you weren’t positive of how things were going to end. Without offering up any spoilers, let’s just say I didn’t exactly know how the last few chapters were going to unfold until I was reading them…and I love it when an author can do that! I’m always curious enough to stick to the end to see who is ACTUALLY pulling those puppet strings.

My absolute favorite part, though, HAD to be the names. Mr. Knaak not only creates impeccable characters, he finishes them with perfect fantasy names that don’t leave the reader scratching their head. Shade contained what is probably my new favorite character name: Valea Bedlam. How amazing is that name? Immediately it evokes an image without using a single ‘y’ like so many authors have fallen back on like a crutch.

The release date has been moved back from August 14th to September 18th but is already available for preorder on Amazon and like retailers. It’s to be released in paperback and in eBook format, so get on it!

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