Book thoughts: The Shadow Master by Craig Cormick

the shadow master coverThe Shadow Master
Author: Craig Cormick
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Angry Robot
Available now
Note: this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley


In a land riven with plague, inside the infamous Walled City, two families vie for control: the Medicis with their genius inventor Leonardo; the Lorraines with Galileo, the most brilliant alchemist of his generation.
And when two star-crossed lovers, one from either house, threaten the status quo, a third, shadowy power – one that forever seems a step ahead of all of the familial warring – plots and schemes, and bides its time, ready for the moment to attack…
A story of alternative history, love and conflict, madness and magic!
Assassination; ancient, impossible machines; torture and infamy – just another typical day in paradise.

My thoughts:
This book has an interesting premise: it’s a Romeo and Juliet retelling, but the Romeo and Juliet characters are not the main characters. It also has an interesting “what if:” what if Galileo and Leonardo da Vinci, arguably two of the most brilliant people who’ve ever lived, lived in the same time period…and were rivals?
I know, right? It’s a really interesting premise. The book is a fantasy, but has an historical feel to it — the families here are not the Capulets and the Montagues but are instead the Medicis and the Lorraines. It still has a medieval Italian feel to it, in keeping with the Romeo and Juliet story.
I thought I would like it. Unfortunately, I didn’t.
Ultimately, I just couldn’t get into it. Perhaps it was the author’s writing style — there’s nothing wrong or bad about it; it’s just not a style that I can get into.
So, unfortunately, I don’t have a full review for you, because I had to DNF the book. I tried for months to read it, and I kept picking it up, only to put it back down. In the end I had to concede that this book just wasn’t for me.
That being said, I still urge you to give it a try. It may not have worked for me, but it may work for you.

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