What an excellent beginning Shadewright is to the Shadewright Cycle. I liked it enough to buy book two of the serial (Shadowslave). Shadewright is also my introduction to the writing of Dean McMillin.
I suspected I was reading steampunk as I got a ways into the novel. Machines that enabled lightning magic turned up. I could be wrong.
I loved McMillin’s writing. It has all the elements I like. Most of all it flows. I love it when that happens. Somehow the author manages to get through to me and we have fun together.
In the world of Phantist there are shadewrights (Phantist is one), arcwrights (Arick is one), flowmen, and bloodwrights.
Shadewrights manipulate shadows. Arcwrights manipulate the electricity in the air. Bloodwrights are flowmen who are able to affect the very nature of living species. Flowmen heal and kill with their power. There are probably other types of Wrights, but these were the only ones that were in Shadewright.
Phantist is a shadewright who is born an orphan. There are plenty of those in the world. He is a greyskin – which means that his skin, hair and eyes are grey. Greyskins are sensitive to light, but have an inborn ability to manipulate shadow (some better than others). Since Phantist is our protaganist, he is bound to end up being good at shadowmastering.
On his journey to fulfill his destiny Phantist is thrown into life-threatening situations. The action is well-written. Dean keeps his writing tight and does not fall for the temptation to embroider into infinity. I imagine he has had to edit quite a bit to get this feeling accross to me.
The people Phantist meets on his journey vary from helpers and goodies to side-kicks and baddies. Most of them are a bit insane but insane in an interesting way. Crazy is good.
I liked the world of the Shadewright. I hope I enjoy Shadowslave as much.
Dean Chalmers: Power of Shadow (Earth, Blood & Shadow I)