Author: James Cardona & Issa Cardona
Pages: 155
Published: February 24, 2014
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Rating: 4/5

Under the Shadow of Darkness is book one in the Apprentice Series. Bel has recently graduated from a specialized school as a magician’s apprentice. As an apprentice to the great Nes’egrinon, Bel has been given the opportunity of a lifetime, if he can survive long enough to finish his training that is. The only two apprentices that Nes’egrinon has had in the past have both died and as Bel continues to interact with Nes’egrinon, the mystery surrounding him grows. 

After a terrifying interaction with the ghoul-kind while tending to horses, Bel begins an epic journey along with his master, a fellow apprentice that has always tormented him, Kerlith, and Kerlith’s master Muolithnon in order to uncover the origins of the appearance of the ghoul-kind and save life as they know it. 

I was given this book in e-book format from the author for review and am very happy that I had the chance to read it. This was a brilliant start to what will hopefully continue to be a fun and adventure filled series. Definitely unlike any other YA fantasy that I have read recently, Under the Shadow of Darkness had one of the best plot lines that I’ve encountered so far this year. 

My only issue with the story was the dialogue. While appropriately corny at times, I felt that the dialogue of one character in particular (Nes’egrinon) went a little overboard when trying to make him appear quirky. As a well known and powerful archmage, I was hoping that Nes’egrinon’s dialogue would have been more intimidating. While some of what he had to say definitely took me out of the moment when reading this story, it was not enough to detract from the plot altogether. I feel comfortable giving this book a solid 4/5 and am very excited to see what will come next from these two great authors. 

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