Dewi, Dewi, Dewi. The King of Secrets (that’s why his hair is so big), He Who Privately Works On Stories and Drops Them Like Creative Bombs. I finally finished Dewi Hargreaves’s debut, The Shield Road, and it did not disappoint! My TBR is all over the place but when I saw a couple friends on Twitter talking about this book, I thought, now is the perfect time to FINALLY read it. It took longer than I thought due to a lot of personal things I’ll post later, but I finished it and I’m absolutely kicking myself for having taken this long to do so.
Keepers and Bladekin, witches and sprakes. This fantasy follows a few characters along a path called The Shield Road. This story is fast-paced with quick-witted dialogue, so if you’re looking for fantasy but might not have time for epics, this is the one you want.
One of the factors that plays a big role in whether or not I will DNF a book is the language being used. I find a lot of stories have great concepts (or seductive blurbs) but simple or repetitive language, which ends up deterring me from wanting to read further.
The Shield Road uses descriptors that make it feel like you’ve just been dropped into the world and get to be a fly on the wall. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times, but I’m a sucker for descriptions.
One of my favorite characters in this book is Talfrin, a Bladekin whose whole deal is to not get sucked into politics due to his code. Guess what happens? Well, I’ll let you read it to find out, but I can appreciate his unwillingness to stray from his code even if it means being locked up (in a matter of speaking). I love a character who stands firm in their convictions.
Another element I loved about this was the fire spirits, or fire wraiths. As we know, I’m an Aries and I love my sun sign element. If the first chapter hadn’t hooked me, the fire wraiths would have. It’s not really something I see in the fantasy books I’ve read – outside of Howl’s Moving Castle, which is in its own category.
The way the first several chapters give you a taste of different parts of this world that are progressively weaved into each other made me want more; more of this world Dewi constructed, more of these characters (and specifically Talfrin, his origins), more fantastical creatures I hadn’t previously heard of, like the sprakes.
All of this to say it’s only 137 pages on Kindle! If you’re into quick reads that feel like whole ass adventurous series, check it out here, available on Kindle and paperback. It’s well worth it! For more updates on Dewi’s bookish endeavors, follow him on Twitter.