cover image Shadow’s Son

Shadow’s Son

Jon Sprunk, Pyr, $16 paper (280p) ISBN 9781616142018

Sprunk’s debut novel, filled with the clichés and conventions of heroic fantasy, is amateur in its originality. Caim is an assassin with a tragic and slightly mysterious background. Othir is Caim’s adopted city, a city populated entirely by villains and victims. Betrayed by his colleagues, Caim is left with Josephine, the daughter of the man who was to be Caim’s next victim, as an unwilling ally against hosts of conniving religious fanatics, conspirators, and evil rival assassins. Sprunk’s prose is leaden and riddled with lumps of tedious exposition, his characters are prototypes of the genre, and even his setting is the usual sort of degenerate, decaying imperial city—with no attempt to distinguish his version of this established trope. The result is a journey through a tired plot, with nothing particular to reward the reader for the time invested. (June)