The Shadows of Grace by David Dalglish is the fourth book in the Half-Orcs series. I’m glad to see that the author got back on track with this book. With Death of Promises, the book was just way to action oriented for my liking. It was just battle after battle with fireballs and lightning strikes thrown every where. In other words, I felt the balance was a bit off. Here though, I feel that the author graciously redeems himself. Of course, I’m writing this review after the series has completed so I doubt the author took anything I had to say under consideration but I just can’t help thinking that other readers told him of the similar issues I’ve had. Things are much more well rounded in The Shadows of Grace and the story telling element is pushed back to the front. However, you’ve still got crazy battle scenes mixed in here and there as well as it should be. That’s what drew me in to this series and to the author in general in the first place. Well, what can I say? If you’ve been with this series up to this point, then you already should know what the deal is!
Picking up where the last book left off, all hell has been unleashed upon the world and demons have been coming forth from other worlds to conquer and sow chaos. As far as characters go, I’m glad to see a little more emotion out of Qurruh. You can feel his guilt and shame because you keep believing that there is a sliver of hope for redemption for the half-orc. He isn’t completely turned to the dark side but his actions isn’t helping him either. All he does is for love for his soon to be born child with Tessana. What I am most happy about is the author also putting more effort into Haern. In the last book, he really felt like an afterthought and was pretty much only relevant once the fighting got started. Here, we see a more emotional side of him and while he isn’t the main focal point, his actions in the book still plays a factor in the overall story. Hurruq will always be Hurruq. Nothing’s changed there. Where his brother is the darkness, he has seen the light and tries to find redemption although that is harder than it seems at times.
What I like most about this book is the overall story. A lot of things happen yet you don’t feel lost for one bit. Well okay, I lied a bit there. I did wish that the author explained a bit more in detail just why the heck the war is being fought! I get that the Gods have warred against each other and that one of them has imprisoned the other but again, it would have been great if the author spent more time going over some of these details. In fact, I really don’t remember him writing anything at all about this. We have an opened portal, demons are coming through, Velixar is the bad guy but yet there seems to be other priests that challenges him and the whole nine yards and yet I didn’t really remember the bigger overall picture. All I remembered was that it had something to do with Celestia and Karak. Also, the bit about the whole Melorak thing was kinda weird. We had Preston and something happened to him which turned him to Melorak and then you had the fake Melorak and then you had some other priests claiming the same thing. Anyways, it was kind of weird.
Overall, events here really do set a good stage for the final book in the series and I can’t wait to read it. Will the half-orc brothers find redemption? What will happen to Tessana and Qurruh? Is Velixar even the real baddie here or is someone or something more sinister at play? I’m sure all of these will be answered in A Sliver of Redemption. The title of the fifth book does kind of give things away but I’m sure the author will make it worth our time!