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He cherishes the memory of his mother, and what he will come to learn of her at the Order will confound him. His father, too, has motives that Vaelin will come to understand. But one truth overpowers all the rest: Vaelin Al Sorna is destined for a future he has yet to comprehend.

A future that will alter not only the realm, but the world. The framing device follows the Hope-Killer , as Vaelin is known, who is an adult prisoner of war of the southern nation , being transported to a duel at the behest of his captors. A duel to the death everyone believes he will lose. He is being transported alongside a historian who begins to chronicle his life story. Vaelin is unceremoniously dumped by his father on the steps of the Sixth Order when he is ten and his beloved mother has just died of an illness. He endures some of the most brutal training in warfare imaginable to become a warrior monk.

He must survive seven years and seven deadly tests that weed out the weak and the morally unfit to become a full Brother.

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Even as a novice, he survives assassination attempts, foils the attempt to murder one of the leaders of another order , falls in love with a Sister in the healing order , befriends a heretic with magical powers , and fights a crime lord with less pleasant magical powers. These trials forge Vaelin and the novices in his group into true brothers-in-arms. Eventually, he falls under the sway of the brilliant but ruthless King , who schemes to pass on a stable and economically secure realm to his well meaning but seemingly ineffectual heir.

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Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. A Westing Game invocation is no small matter. And as luck would have it I had a copy of Laura Ruby's very book on my shelf. I was not without reason.

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They are inevitably going to be dashed Imagine New York City in the early 19th century. Imagine what would have happened if it had been home to two genius twins. Twins who remade the city in their image and created a code in its very streets. Find the code and a treasure is yours. Simple, right? Only no one ever solved it. Now it is modern day and two different twins and a friend in their beloved building have discovered that a greedy real estate developer has bought their home and is mere months away from kicking them out.

All seems lost until a mysterious letter arrives. It appears that while the Morningstar twins of long ago did create a cipher for the city to solve, there may have been more than one line of clues to follow. Using their brains, their feet, and more than a little bravery, the three kids set out to solve the mystery and save their building.

Yet as they do they come to an unnerving realization. Laura Ruby, the author, does not live in New York City. I knew this going into the book. For example, I once read an otherwise admirable middle grade mystery serious where three of the scenes in the book took place in alleyways in Museum Mile. And one could argue that since Ms. One could argue that, and one would be wrong. Accurate to the city? Snafus are of the tiny variety. And reading this book I was both floored and suddenly hit with a wave of nostalgia.

After all, it may involve mechanical cleaning caterpillars but this New York also finds the notion of peas in guacamole a crime against mankind. As is right. Interestingly, this alternate world does retain a fair number of pop culture references. I appreciated this. For whatever reason it drives me batty when authors make up fake names for video games or comic book characters.

There is the occasional made up thing. Angry Bots instead of Angry Birds, for example. Still, all told for the most part the book keeps you grounded in reality. No one ever praises jokes enough. Be serious all you want but a good joke can be worth its weight in gold. Laura Ruby puts a wide array of them in this book. One of the cipherists met in the book is named Omar Khayyam. Of course making it funny is all well and good, and you could have a whole novel built on the excitement of the premise alone. As a result, I took note of a lot of really insightful lines peppered throughout the chapters.

There are two ways to go about it. The Agatha Christie model is the hardest to pull off. You give your readers all the facts, lay them out plain and clear, and let them solve the mystery alongside you. When done well this engages the reader and makes them complicit in the solution. Instant audience identification! Then you have The Chasing Vermeer method. It was, however, a book where the mystery and solution was based entirely on coincidences. Early on we learn that as you solve the cipher it solves you.

Yet for all that, you get the feeling that Ms. Ruby is playing pretty fair with you. Kids will feel pleased to figure out that a mechanical moth is responsible for the partial blackout in town. They may realize what the twins are doing running around keeping track of the position of one star or another in their building. As a result this book is sort of a combination of the best elements of The Agatha Christie and Chasing Vermeer methods put together. Creating alternate Americas is not a job for the lazy. In author Wrede wanted to write a story of an alternate U. Sticky racial politics gone, right?

Since the brouhaha that erupted from those choices other authors have tread more carefully. Matthew Kirby in The Lost Kingdom incorporated American Indians into much of his plot even as he reduced female protagonists to mere fainting females. And here, Laura Ruby could have ignored Native Americans entirely. Or, she could have kept their history identical to that of the real America.

Instead, Ruby makes the choice to give them different outcomes. It reminds me of the old Harvey Birdman show where Black Lightning is complaining to Aquaman about his name. In both cases you have kids encountering old technology with a secret locked inside, just waiting to be revealed. You also have cases where the villain is almost just as much circumstances as it is a big bad guy. Not this time around. I suspect as the years go by and these books continue to be published we will find ourselves hoping against hope for him to be defeated in a particularly satisfying manner.

Greatest Objection to This Book: No libraries. I shall expect this problem to be rectified in future installments. Ditto trips to Staten Island, Queens, and the poor much ignored Bronx. I have a dream that someday someone will set a mystery or fantasy in the Bronx and at long last that borough shall have its due. It is one thing to want to write a scavenger hunt.

It another thing to set that hunt in a world so like and unalike our own. It glows from within. The Shadow Cipher glows. The city today is just like the city in this book. Ruby as their current publicist. A graceful paean to the best of Manhattan, and a shocking, gripping, nail-biting, intriguing mystery for fans of codes, ciphers, puzzles, and treasure. For ages View all 7 comments. Aug 09, Ashley Nuckles rated it really liked it. This was so so so so so good! The pacing overall was pretty slow, but the story was so interesting that I didn't have any problems with it!

Shadow House

So so SO pumped. View 2 comments. This book was a pretty fun adventure. I loved that Laura Ruby put in a lot of little facts about New York with a combination of fantasy and made up stuff also. It made for a good read with three very likeable three main characters.

View all 3 comments. May 22, rachel rated it it was ok Shelves: 2-star , rep-poc. The Shadow Cipher was just… meh. I went into this expecting the National Treasure -like puzzle hunt the synopsis promised - which is one of my all-time favourite tropes, just FYI - but I was completely underwhelmed. It did not tap into its potential. At all! The plot left me desperately wanting more… but not in a good way.

The puzzles and ciphers were not nearly as exciting as I would have hoped. The story lacked urgency, drive, something to really pull me into the story and never want to leave. I think this may have been because the world-building was so vague. I was confused what time period this story was meant to be set in? Obviously, it is some sort of alternate New York but how futuristic was it? There was new technology but some of it was more magical than machinery. I desperately wanted more details about all of this and I found the story was not captivating enough to distract me searching for these details.

If I was more inclined, I could have put this book down and never picked it up again. I wanted to be that engaged. Another massive problem for me was that the characters were so mild. It was not that they were unlikable, they were just… nothing special. They did not stand out. Does that even make sense? I guess I am trying to say that they did not make an impression on me in the slightest; even as I was reading, I kept forgetting whose perspective I was reading from. They did not have clear, distinctive voices. I felt very distant from them. The effortless diversity was also nice one of the MCs was Cuban.

I was a little confused if Tess was meant to have anxiety or not, though. I guess I would have liked it to be a little clearer? Go her for defying gender and age stereotypes and completely owning it! The Shadow Cipher was underwhelming. It had a fantastic premise but I felt that the world was not as developed as it could've been. The plot had its moment but ultimately failed to capture that urgency that a puzzle hunt needs to engage its reader.

Maybe I have just read too many good ones now that I have raised the bar too high? Either way, I wish I had loved this one more than I did.

Review copy provided by the publisher for an honest review. Mar 02, Amy Bruestle rated it it was amazing Shelves: audiobooks. I had never even heard of this book before, but I won the sequel through a giveaway and wanted to read this one first to better understand the one that I won. And I am glad that I did! I actually really enjoyed reading this! Even though it is a young adult book, which I typically stay away from, it was a nice and appreciated change of pace from my normal reading! The characters really came to life in this!

I listened to the audiobook version because it was all I had access I had never even heard of this book before, but I won the sequel through a giveaway and wanted to read this one first to better understand the one that I won. I listened to the audiobook version because it was all I had access to at the time.

The narrator was wonderful and really brought out the personality in each character! I'm not the sort of person who refers to books at "tales" or calls myself or other authors a "storyteller. You're a writer. We're writers. Authors or writers. Except for Laura Ruby. Nope, she's a storyteller. This is a wonderful story, unlike anything you've seen before, and she's telling it to you. Would you be able to feed yourself? Find clean water? Safe shelter?

Heal your wounds? But when Earth is seized by an ancient race wielding incredib How well would you fare if the apocalypse fell upon you? But when Earth is seized by an ancient race wielding incredibly advanced tech, who transport the entire planet to a new location with twin suns, he finds himself fighting to survive in real life.

Creatures out of myth and legend are sent to do the killing. Dragons, titans, alien creatures big and small, all with a hunger for human flesh. Humans who survive the first year will be rewarded. After seeing his family killed in the first week, Allistor leads a small group of survivors in their struggle to stay alive. Not satisfied with simple survival, he strives to make himself and his people stronger.

The new 'magic' RPG system that now governs the planet is something he can work with, and teach others to exploit. Thrust into a leadership position, and with vengeance in his heart, Allistor aims to establish a stronghold, then take the fight to the monsters who seek to enslave his people. Get A Copy. Kindle Edition , pages. More Details Other Editions 1. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Shadow Sun Survival , please sign up.

When is book 2 coming out? I can hardly wait, I cried when I finished this one because it was sooooo good and I wanted to keep going See 1 question about Shadow Sun Survival…. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. Sort order. Mar 10, GaiusPrimus rated it really liked it Shelves: litrpg , sci-fi , urban , post-apocalypse. Willmarth his it out of the park I'm really enjoying Dave's writing. Everything exists for the story, with nothing superfluous and great character development. I also love this latest trend of apocalyptic storytelling that we seem to find ourselves under.

I just wish I had found this with more books already existing as the wait will be excruciating. Mar 13, Kriegen rated it really liked it. Very fun read I really enjoy gamelit where the game elements are merged into real life and this story definitely fits the bill. Looking forward to the next in the series. Mar 21, James rated it really liked it. Interesting story. Ok the book was good and the action was well written and it had a unique twist on the old Norse mythology.

Overall I enjoyed it. Mar 06, Tory rated it it was amazing. This is the first book I've ever read by author Dave Willmarth and honestly I don't think I can do it any justice with a review. The book itself is fantastic both in quality and quantity being longer than most books in the genre making it just satisfying enough to know I can wait for the second book patiently rather than the usual small meal.

The world building being set up is fantastic while similar to a few other books in the genre it has it's own twists claiming it as it's own and running awa This is the first book I've ever read by author Dave Willmarth and honestly I don't think I can do it any justice with a review. The world building being set up is fantastic while similar to a few other books in the genre it has it's own twists claiming it as it's own and running away with it.

The characters while not entirely fleshed out yet are fleshed out more than enough to make them interesting and to give different audiences different characters they can relate to while enjoying the story.

Shadow Book 1 | CJ Fallon

The story itself and the pacing between combat, skill grind, base building, and exploration is well done too with chapters feeling like they stop at the perfect place to take a break or continue reading without interrupting your immersion. There are just enough references to classic fiction, games, and other works in the same genre as this one to make them enjoyable instead of in your face or overwhelming. I am sure I didn't get all of the references but they must be done in such a way that the reader doesn't feel like he is missing the joke.

As stated above I don't think I could write a review that does this book justice and I know not everyone will enjoy it but If the description of this book hit's any of you're niche interests I highly recommend this book and eagerly await the next. On a personal note about this book, I read a lot sometimes over a hundred books a year, and have for most of my life with most of my interest in and out of books ending up in genres that my father got me interested in.

He died 8 years ago and out of all of the books I have read since then this is the first book that made me stop and say "I wish my father was alive to read this. May 02, Arrcraft rated it really liked it Shelves: litrpg. First off, this is a very enjoyable read. It throws you right into the action. I would call this halfway between crunchy and creamy if you understand the terms.

It does have hard stats like a crunchy litrpg would, but it hardly references them, it definitely does not explain them or their benefit, and it is mostly ignored. I rated this 4 stars and I will definitely continue to read the next books that release about it. However, there are definitely some problems with the series. Guns - There is First off, this is a very enjoyable read. Guns - There is no skill associated with shooting or damage from guns.

One Shadow on the Wall

A level 0 with a shotgun does the same damage as a level 10 with a shotgun. Most books get rid of the gun problem with having them magically stop working with the new world physics, or at least they have to be repaired. OP abilities that don't get used. In the book, the MC gets an OP ability called view spoiler [Barrier that allows him to shield damage.

After complaining about taking damage all book, you would think that the first thing he does is always have it on him at all times. No, he uses it twice in the entire book, and one of the times was on another person, and once when it wasn't even needed. May 15, Edwin McRae rated it liked it. A mixed bag for me. Both the base and character building is solid and enjoyable. But the story gets 2 stars from me. It struggles to get to grips with the grim realities of a genuine apocalypse.

I realize that gameplay elements are being applied to Earth, but our world starts to feel like a game world after a while in this book. And the MC ends up being in charge pur A mixed bag for me. And the MC ends up being in charge purely because of his gamer experience. There's a retired marine with small business experience in the cast. Surely you'd want to put him in charge of your post-apocalyptic settlement and help him learn the RPG UI rather than put your life in the hands of a gamer college student with little real life experience?

All in all, an average of 3 stars. Competently written and plenty to like if you enjoy a 'light romp' apocalypse rather than edgy survival like Mad Max or The Road. Apr 02, Joshua rated it liked it. Good but guns The book has a really good story, the main character is well developed, all around an enjoyable read But guns. Despite levels, stats, skills, etc, basically everything is I or we shot it. A couple exceptions which are almost exclusively stuns, and then shoot it. If gun powder stopped working and they had to actually CRAFT the guns with new materials that had different stat requirements I feel like it would be one one of the best gameLit, apoc, litrpgs, etc.

But Good but guns The book has a really good story, the main character is well developed, all around an enjoyable read But it seems like all the stats skills and spells are just fluff for "I shot it" and my levels mean nothing. I still recommend the book and will continue reading the series as it's an enthralling story, I just wish there were more than guns. Apr 02, Tortuga Verde rated it really liked it. Liked the start, but little frustrated by second half This is the second apocalyptic litrpg I read.

Prior was Equalize. I like this one better. At least initially, the character works for his wins.

So easy. So fast. So Target.