Shadow of the Exile by Mitchell Hogan

I stumbled across some of Hogan’s other books not too long ago and enjoyed them, so when I was offered an ARC of Shadow of the Exile I jumped on it.

The book kicks off with the main character, a demon named Tarrik Nal-Valim, is ripped from his exile by a sorcerer who seeks to enslave him, Ren. Naturally, Tarrik isn’t a massive fan of being enslaved, and thus, a reluctant protagonist is born. Tarrik is a character I enjoyed reading about; he is constantly changing throughout the book, and trying to work out what’s happening and how can return to his exile. He doesn’t like people and he isn’t afraid to let them know.

Shadow of the Exile was a really interesting story. It’s steeped in intrigue and mystery. It was very conflicting for me because I wasn’t entirely sure which characters I should be rooting for until around the 70% mark. Tarrik and Ren spend most of the story together but their partnership doesn’t work in any conventional sense. Most of the time they’re opposed to each other and it’s difficult to know which one you’re meant to be rooting for, who’s good, who’s bad, and what the end game is.

Ren was another fascinating character because she’s unwilling to share her motivations with someone she doesn’t trust, like the demon she’s forcing to work with her. Her backstory is revealed at a much slower pace, and while she isn’t entirely sympathetic at the beginning of the book, she did grow on me over the course of the narrative.

Overall, Shadow of the Exile was an enjoyable book, and I would recommend it to people who like:

  • Darker Fantasy
  • Cool Magic
  • Reluctant Protagonists
  • Character growth
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