The Shepherd of Fire by Matt Moss

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I received a free physical copy of this in exchange for an honest review! I had already read and liked the first one in this series when I read it last year, and it made it as a semi-finalist in SPFBO. Like all second reviews, this one will be briefer than a first in the series.


Plot:

The Dark Society has taken almost everything Arkin held dear and he’s on a path for revenge. There are several positions in the Church which have been taken over by the Dark Society, leaving key positions in government being controlled and corrupted causing chaos. A new religion has been founded, and it’s at odds with the old Church, the dark society has thrown their weight behind the new religion, instituting their own High Priest, Victor, and it’s causing an upheaval. Victor is determined to become one of the most powerful soul tappers ever to live and wants to become like a god.

There’s a rebellion forming within the capital city trying to take down the new High Priest that’s creating so much discontent with the people.

Meanwhile, Lucian is trying to win back his love, Sarie, from Victor. Sarie has been lied to over and over again, Victor stole her child, Arkin and hid his existence from her for a long time until the secret was spilled. Lucian has also lied to her about many things, and her son could be his undoing. He wants to win back his old love but has to kill her child to secure the relationship.

Final Score: 11/15


Characters:

Arkin is a recurring character from the last book, over the course of the first book he’s bitter about the losses he’s had to endure, and he’s filled with the need to find those responsible and kill them. The past traumas have left him with a loss of faith, he’s beginning to question his own beliefs about the existence of god and it’s a big turning point from who he was in the first book. He has a love interest that follows from the first book, Lyla, and this is one of those romances that doesn’t bother me, it’s there but it’s not a huge part of the story.

Torin is part of Arkin’s grouping and is a member of the Order, he’s also gone through incredible loss and has sort of shut down. He’s done trying to fight what he feels to be a losing battle and has stayed put instead of moving on to find vengeance.

Lucian is a greyer character, he’s done some terrible things, but if circumstances were different he could probably be a decent person.  He’s in love with Sarie, who he thought was dead but later discovered was still alive, and being hidden away by his boss, all the while his boss had lied to him about her being alive.

Sarie is also the mother of Arkin, but he believes her to be dead. She’s in love with Victor despite everything he does, she’s attracted to his power and always has been. It’s been hinted at that she wasn’t faithful to Arkins father, and probably had a relationship with Victor while she was involved with Arkins dad.

Victor is the mastermind behind all of the mayhem going on, all of the killing, all of the corruption and assassinations. He’s not grey, he’s just evil and power obsessed, no matter how much he takes he always wants more. He wants to be remembered as a god.

Final Score: 12/15


World Building:

The world building in this series is really easy to just fall into, the names are all familiar (King George, Kingsport) so you’re not trying to remember 9 letter names that you’re completely unfamiliar with.

Soul tapping is how people connect with their magic, being able to tap into the powers of the stones. The stones can give any number of powers, incredible speed, healing powers, making fire rain from the sky etc.

Soul Takers are eternal beings that feed on the souls of the living. Souls can go to Heaven, Hell, or “The Third Place”, which is when one of the soul takers steals a soul and incorporates it into their body. They have been around for thousands of years plaguing mankind.

The old Church and the new Religion are at war with one another, the Dark Society bolstering the Religion over the Church.

Final Score: 11/15


Writing/Tone:

Tension is the best way I can describe the tone of this book, and anger. The main characters have gone through a lot and they are hell bent on getting even.

There were a few punctuation errors like misplaced or missing quotation marks, but nothing that would take away from my enjoyment of it.

Final Score: 10.75/15


Pacing:

The pacing is helped along by how natural and familiar the world building is in this book, you’re not stumbling over unfamiliar names and trying to remember who is who and what’s what with a bunch of names that all sound the same but aren’t familiar.

There’s no meandering in the plot, but there is a bit of repetition and repeating info from the first book. I honestly kind of needed that since I’ve read a lot of books since the first book in this series. However, if you read these back to back you may find yourself skimming over certain paragraphs.

Final Score: 12/15


Originality:

Although I do see a lot of worlds that are similar to Earth, as well as training/coming of age stories – the magic system sets this one apart.

Final Score: 10/15


Personal Enjoyment:

I like how the characters run the gambit from valiant and noble to grey to evil, it gives a nice well-rounded feel to the characters and definitely helps them stand apart from one another.

Final Score: 7.8/10


Audience:

For People who like:

  • Villian POV’s
  • shorter novels
  • multi pov
  • lots of action
  • vengeance stories
  • super powerful MC’s

Final Score: 74.55/100 (3.72/5 stars on GR)

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