Wednesday 30 March 2022

BOOK REVIEW: Age of Shadows (Song of Echoes #2) by R.E. Palmer

Age of Shadows
Series: Song of Echoes, Book 2)
Author: R.E. Palmer
Genre: Fantasy / Adventure
Publication Date: 24th December 2021

Book Description:
As Elodi strives to defend her realm against a new enemy threatening the north, Toryn discovers the dark secret that plunged Hope into despair, destined to live under a shadow of her own making.

But as both struggle in the face of overwhelming forces, the Archon demands all who can bear arms, rally to his cause.

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We're back for another whirlwind fantasy adventure with Toryn and Elodi as they do everything they can to protect their realm from dark forces. This sequel unveils the mystery surrounding the backgrounds of both our hero and heroine as they attempt to warn the Archon of the impending danger heading their way. With so much at stake and so many questions of allegiance, Toryn and Elodi have to determine who they can put their trust in as it turns out their foe might be a lot closer than they anticipated.

A lot of secrets are revealed in this book that sets Toryn and Elodi on paths that could crush their spirit and their faith in believing they can defeat the dark forces that has threatened to overpower the Five Realms. Things certainly are not what they appear to be. Having lost so much already and with the evil forces suppressing all the good left in their world, it will take a miracle for them to rid the Evil One from their world for good.


A lot of questions that were raised in the first book are answered in this sequel, which helped greatly in building these characters and making them more fully formed. I liked the mention of past characters that were much loved from the previous book but who didn't make it past the last battle. Though they were out of sight, they were not out of mind.

I also liked the ensemble of new characters that were introduced. Though some were underdeveloped, their presence was refreshing. Loved Eryn and her bickering band of sisters. I loved how they teased Toryn. There were some really enjoyable moments that put a smile on my face. For instance, the event where Toryn pretends he's asleep while listening to the girls throwing compliments his way, only to realise they knew he was awake the whole time and was just boosting his ego. The love/hate relationship that formed between Toryn and the sisters was a joy to experience. There are some great portrayal of powerful female role models in this book from Elodi and Eryn to the mysterious and unusual Hope, whose story arc in this was well portrayed. At times, you are left wondering if you can truly trust her as she often disappears and reappears, not knowing who she is or who her companions are. I loved the big reveal about her past and her background. She is quite the formidable character indeed. Toryn chose a fitting name for her, Hope, as she often did inspire hope in him when he most needed it.

Toryn went through quite the ordeal in this book. After surviving the catastrophe of the previous book, he had to evade various attempts on his life, coming very close to death on almost all occasions, and yet he still managed to have the spirit to keep on fighting. His likability factor from book one has soared. The unveiling of his lineage and power was exciting. Learning about his parents made things a lot clearer and helped to understand his character better.

Elodi too went on a journey of discovery in this book as her powers also started to unveil itself bit by bit. She's a powerful force to have as an ally. Though she doesn't quite feel like the leader her father was, she did well in sitting in his seat and defending Calerdorn. Even when it appeared all hope was lost after the event that took place at Calerdorn, she still stuck by her people and kept fighting to defend the realms.

In the previous book, I felt as though I should pick a favourite between Toryn and Elodi, and while I did connect more to Toryn's character in this book as I did in the previous book, I didn't feel the need to pick sides in this one. Although the two characters were apart, on their separate journeys, throughout the whole book, it felt as though they were connected, a symbiotic relationship of sorts, where two individuals with the same goal telepathically form a bond that draws them closer and closer together until finally they meet in the middle. In this book it almost felt as though one couldn't exist without the other, yet they were always apart. In the previous book, they felt so far apart, but in this one, though they journeyed separately, it was as though they were together emotionally, and I really liked how that was portrayed through their mutual goal to defeat the Evil One.

Some epic battles in this one that I will not be forgetting. Some of the descriptions were very vivid. I can still see Toryn hanging from that rope even now and him being sucked into another realm by the Nym. It was very visual indeed, and I loved it.


The secret of the characters identities and their lineage may have taken a little too long to unveil, especially when some of the hints made it obvious before the truth came out. It wasn't disappointing when the secrets came out, but it wasn't always a surprise. There were some really great unpredictable reveals that I didn't see coming, which was great to experience, the situation with the Archon comes to mind right away (specifically regarding identity, not so much the nature of the character), but the hints did make it a little too easy to unveil others, so it took away some of the mystery, which was a great part of the excitement of these journeys.

Eryn and her sisters were very likeable, but I thought their characterisation was too similar. It was hard to distinguish between them as they appeared so much alike in disposition. It would have been nice to have seen some variation as I did find them to be likeable and entertaining.

I had anticipated more scenes with the Archon considering how often he was mentioned in this book. Given the fact that neither Toryn nor Elodi were one hundred percent sold on the trustworthiness of his character, I anticipated more scenes with him to better establish his allegiance and his character. It felt as though I wasn't afforded the opportunity to judge him on his actions and interactions with the significant characters. His portrayal was always through the perception of another. I did get a semblance of his personality when he disrespected Elodi by asserting his authority in her realm, but as he wasn't present, his presence wasn't felt. I found myself eager to know more about him towards the end of the book.


Another solid story from Palmer. It had adventure, magic, mystery and a good balance between plot-driven and character-driven storytelling. The ambience of this book was very much similar to the Lord of the Rings from the setting to the characters and their missions. Fans of Epic Fantasy will love this book and enjoy the thrilling journey it takes them on.


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