Book Review: A Shroud of Night and Tears by Lucas Bale
Before I get to my review, I have to say that I feel terrible that it took me so long to finish. I started the book in April, about a week before finals at school. After reading textbooks and class notes for hours, I didn't really want to read anything else, so this kind of fell by the wayside. Then in May we had to scramble to find a rental house before our apartment contract got renewed. We did find one, so then we moved, and then I had to get my butt in gear and do some more edits of Secrets of PEACE so I could release that next month. It's been a little hectic, and I definitely haven't been reading as much as I should be, but that's my fault and is in no way a reflection of the quality or engagement-level of this book. The book is incredible.
When I read the first two installments of this series, The Heretic and Defiance, I immediately fell in love. The story and characters were fantastic, and I knew I had stumbled across something epic. To my delight, things only became more epic in this third installment. A Shroud of Night and Tears is brilliantly crafted, with countless twists and turns I didn’t see coming, but which still made perfect sense after the fact. The story is filled with betrayal and double-crossing, which are some of my very favorite things in stories - especially when you don’t see it coming. The plot becomes increasingly more complex and intriguing as different storylines are expertly woven together so that there is never a dull moment.
Shroud starts off by introducing us to another new set of characters and storyline, though it becomes evident early on that this will tie into events from the previous books pretty quickly. We soon see the return of Natasha, Weaver, Shepherd, and other familiar characters as they are all forced to work together, whether they like it or not. The stakes are raised for all of them, and it’s interesting to see how each of them deals with the situation differently. After finishing the book last night, I was trying to think of who my favorite character in the series is, and I honestly can’t pick one. I love Gant’s devotion to protecting his people at all costs. I love the contrast in Natasha’s character; she’s had a hard life and is obviously damaged as a result, but she still has a softer, caring side. I love Shepherd’s stubbornness and automatic resistance to everything and everyone. I love watching Weaver’s inner transformation, which we saw a lot of in Defiance and continues here. All of the characters feel so real and are fantastically written.
And speaking of the writing, I’m still just kind of in awe of how good the writing is. The descriptions provide a clear picture of everything that’s happening and everything the characters are feeling, and the pacing is spot-on. I’ve read a lot of great books by indie authors in the last few years, but Lucas Bale is easily one of the best. I will eagerly look forward to anything else he writes, and I’m already excited to see what’s next for this series.