I picked up Grayshade on release day because I love the things that the Ed Greenwood Group is doing with shared worlds and bringing together hundreds of creatives to create story settings with limitless possibilities.
Grayshade is the second book released under the StormTalons setting and the first of the Gray Assassin Trilogy.
Reading this book was both a joy and a miss-fit for my tastes. Following along as I read let me stay within the StormTalon story world and help create a broader picture of the setting that these writers are creating. The story itself though just did not resonate with me.
Grayshade itself is a story about what in fantasy is called the assassin with a conscience. As the story description goes, we follow our protagonist through a complete mission where the first seedlings that something is amiss in the organization are first planted. From there, the road is slippery and followed my several situations which make the life of Grayshade worse at every turn.
The things that make this fall flat for me is that it is in First Person narrative. I’m not a big fan of First Person because to me it removes a lot of tension. In every story with this type of narration, I never feel like anything is going to happen to the character. How could it? They are telling me the story, aren’t they? This leaves the author’s job on make me care about all those around the character which I know nothing will happen to because the only danger/tension lays with them. With Grayshade I just never connected with any of the characters.
Second, comes from my taste in fantasy. I’m a big “Grim-Dark” fan where things tend to get bloody and violent pretty quickly. There is violence in this book, but for an assassin book, it seems pretty low key. I read StormTalons book #1 from Ed Greenwood and found a tale full of grit and fantastical magic used for all types of violence. Not so much with this story. The protagonist is relatively non-violent though it gives tidbits of back story that lets you know he is capable of incredible feats of violence. Too bad it didn’t happen on the pages I was reading.
Grayshade, looking at it as an addition to StormTalons, fits in nicely. Gives some more information on the way religions and city states work within the world. As a book for my taste, it just didn’t work.