Title: A Dance of Cloaks (Shadowdance #1)
Author: David Dalglish
Publisher: Orbit Books
Release Date: August 16, 2010
Acquired: ARC from Netgalley.com
Read Dates: Nov. 3-18, 2013
Thren Felhorn is the greatest assassin of his time. Marshalling the thieves’ guilds under his control, he declares war against the Trifect, an allegiance of wealthy and powerful nobles.
Aaron Felhorn has been groomed since birth to be Thren’s heir. Sent to kill the daughter of a priest, Aaron instead risks his own life to protect her from the wrath of his guild. In doing so, he glimpses a world beyond poison, daggers, and the iron control of his father.
Guilds twist and turn, trading allegiances for survival. The Trifect weakens, its reputation broken, its money dwindling. The players take sides as the war nears its end, and Thren puts in motion a plan to execute hundreds.
Only Aaron can stop the massacre and protect those he loves…
Assassin or protector; every choice has its consequences.
First, there were too many characters. I couldn’t keep the thief guild and Trifect members straight. There were so many people to remember I had to keep going back and forth to figure out who they were. It reminded me of George R. R. Martin’s world building, however in his books all of the characters are relevant. There were several that could have been eliminated completely from A Dance of Cloaks. Second, the author was juggling too many plots at one time. If he had decreased the number of plots and focused more on the central characters’ stories, I think it would have been much more engaging. Lastly, it was slow. I can’t list one specific area where I felt it was dragging, but it seemed to take forever to get anywhere. I was really looking forward to it being over so I could move on to a new book. That is never a good sign.
I thoroughly enjoyed Aaron’s story. The struggle of son against father as Aaron tried to assert his independence from Thren was interesting. Aaron’s way of dealing with his liberation was also quite intriguing. I also really enjoyed the story of the Faceless and Alyssa Gemcroft. Unfortunately, those are about the only things I enjoyed about the book.
A Dance of Cloaks just missed the mark. I have read several high fantasy series and this one just didn’t seem to be of the same caliber as the really good ones. I couldn’t connect with any of the characters and I didn’t feel drawn into any of the storylines. I don’t think I’ll be reading any others in the Shadowdance series.
I’d like to give a shout out to Netgalley, Orbit Books & David Dalglish for giving me the opportunity to read and review this ARC.