Augur of Shadows: A Worthy Debut
Augur of Shadows, Jacob Rundle’s debut novel, tells the story of three young adults: Henri, Simeon, and Etlina. The three face a task of monumental, apocalyptic proportions, and Rundle successfully establishes those stakes throughout Augur. By the end, you’ll feel entrenched in the spiritual journey of these three heroes, rooting for them as they discover fantastical powers beyond anything you can imagine.
As a debut author, Rundle’s bringing a lot to the table. This story sets the stage for a much larger narrative, and I’m intrigued to see where he takes future tales. He’s also not afraid to take risks; Augur of Shadows pulls no punches as it relentlessly barrels toward its end game.
I will emphasize, however, that Rundle has a lot of room to improve the writing of his stories. A little too often, the emotions and intentions of characters were plainly stated in the text, leaving little room for the imagination to infer such feeling through the actions of the characters. However, this writing style may also be more symptomatic of young adult urban fantasy, a genre I read less than others.
The three principle characters are sufficiently unique and diverse characters; Rundle does a great job of bringing LGBT voices into an urban fantasy setting, and injecting underrepresented folklore throughout his worldbuilding. However, I sometimes felt like the characters succeeded in their tasks a little too easily; few roadblocks or consequences (other than the very end of the story) seemed to strike these characters as they resolved the increasingly complex plot.
I look forward to watching Jacob Rundle’s career. Not only did he tell an epic tale, he told it in only 203 pages. Well done.
Writing: 6/10. The writing was the weakest part of this tale; it leaves plenty of room for Rundle to improve, which is a good thing!
Character: 7/10. A diverse cast, though their personas are slightly marred by few personal consequences for many actions taken throughout the tale.
Setting: 7/10. The setting of New York City felt inconsistent in certain moments, based on my personal experience visiting the city. However, the story takes readers to a variety of exotic locales that will stimulate anyone’s imagination!
Plot: 8/10. The stakes of the tale are immense, yet I often didn’t feel as if the characters truly felt these immense stakes. However, this drastically changes during the conclusion of the tale, preparing readers for the next stages of this series.
Overall: 7/10. I’ve decided to lean toward three stars instead of four, though I preface that decision primarily on personal taste. While urban fantasy isn’t the genre I particularly read, I do encourage other readers of the genre to dive into Rundle’s Augur of Shadows, especially if you’re looking to support the debut of an indie author.
You can purchase Augur of Shadows on Amazon today!