Read Greatshadow by James Maxey Online

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Greatshadow is the primal dragon of fire, an elemental evil whose malign intelligence spies upon mankind through every candle flame, waiting to devour any careless victim he can claim. The Church of the Book has assembled a team of twelve battle-hardened adventurers to slay the dragon once and for all. But tensions run high between the leaders of the team who view the missGreatshadow is the primal dragon of fire, an elemental evil whose malign intelligence spies upon mankind through every candle flame, waiting to devour any careless victim he can claim. The Church of the Book has assembled a team of twelve battle-hardened adventurers to slay the dragon once and for all. But tensions run high between the leaders of the team who view the mission as a holy duty and the super-powered mercenaries who add power to their ranks, who view the mission primarily as a chance to claim Greatshadow's vast treasure trove. If the warriors fail to slay the beast, will they doom mankind to death by fire?...

Title : Greatshadow
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781907992728
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 416 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Greatshadow Reviews

  • Petra
    2019-04-13 06:10

    This was my first ever dragon book, it is also the first book in a four-part series called The Dragon Apocalypse. But it works perfectly fine as a standalone. Told in first-person, the narrator isn't the protagonist, making this quite an original way of relaying the story. Stagger, the narrator, actually dies right at the start of the story. Following his long-term companion around in ghost-format, Stagger tells the story of Infidel, a super strong female mercenary, and his secret love interest. I really enjoyed Stagger's perspective. He was funny and endearing although he had basically been a drunk and a scoundrel most of his life.The plot itself is a fairly typical action-adventure quest featuring a group of incompatible rogues setting off to slay a powerful dragon, Greatshadow, the dragon of fire. As I'm generally not a huge fan of fantasy epics, I appreciated that this was fast-paced action and entertainment rather than loads of dry world building. Characters were introduced with sufficient history and they, as well as the setting, were described thoroughly enough to make it easy to imagine the island, the dragons, the immortals, the orcs etc. The rather mixed bunch of characters surrounding Infidel were all likeable and fun despite the expected tension within their group. I really enjoyed the "romantic" elements of Infidel's story as well although some of it was getting very close to being cheesy. Still, the arc about Stagger and Infidel's relationship, which neither of them had honestly and fully appreciated until Stagger wasn't alive anymore, was an interesting addition to all the sword wielding action. Overall, this was humorous, close to silly at times, but a lot more entertaining and fun than I had expected from my very first dragon fantasy book.Being honest here, I wouldn't have sat down to read this in book-format. It's just not my thing. But listening to this was phenomenal and so much fun. Jake Urry brought the characters to life in a spectacular fashion. His dragon voices were scary, his portrayal of The Three Goons was wonderful, in particular No Face. I like how Jake makes female characters sound believable and not like cartoon-type characters. There was a large cast of characters involved, but it was always clear who was talking due to Jake Urry's differentiation and tones.

  • Ranting Dragon
    2019-03-28 06:57

    Greatshadow is the newest offering from James Maxey, best known for Nobody Gets the Girl and The Dragon Age Trilogy. It’s the first installment in The Dragon Apocalypse, with book two, Hush, scheduled for June of 2012.Our protagonist is Infidel, a magically overpowered woman working as a mercenary and occasional thief. She has super strength and is impervious to most damage. When her closest friend dies, she decides to take one last big job so she can retire in style. Her best chance is to join a team of heroes heading out to kill the primal dragon of fire, known as Greatshadow. His horde is legendary, and it’ll take everything Infidel and her companions have to get it.Pure and unabashed sword and sorceryOn the surface, this is a tale about stereotypical heroes straight out of 1980s fantasy pulps. You’ve got a group of inhumanely talented people, some of whom have never really been challenged in their adult lives. I’d expect a book like this to be rather dull and emotionally uninteresting. Where’s the challenge, after all? However, Maxey does a fantastic job with this. First, the book is told from the point of view of Infidel’s dead companion Stagger. He’s a relatively average guy, for a ghost, and is a far more relatable as a narrator than Infidel would have been. Additionally, for all their super powers, this is a group of deeply flawed people. The paladin archetype is a fanatic who can’t see the forest for the trees. The strong man isn’t as dumb as you might think, but his deformities (which cause a speech impediment) limit his ability to interact with the other characters. I could go on, but I think you get the idea. For all their powers, they aren’t gods.The other thing that saves this book is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously. Infidel is the type of girl you don’t touch in a bar. She might take exception, rip off the arm that’s groping her, and beat the offender with his own severed limb. There’s a part of me that appreciates the dark humor in that image. On the other hand, this isn’t an innately humorous book. It’s more what would happen if you had a group of people role playing these twelve characters: stupid, crazy stuff. Every once in awhile I’d read something that would make me giggle, and then I’d move on to the rest of the action feeling reinvigorated.Not terribly predictableOkay, so it’s a sword and sorcery book. You have a group of heroes, they go out to slay the dragon, some of them die. After all, what would be the fun if they all walked away without a scratch? What made this fun for me were the twists and turns Maxey took to get there. Dead didn’t mean dead, right from chapter one when Stagger dies only to haunt his knife for the rest of the book. I was entertained to see just how some of these characters died and how some of them managed to survive. And with so many characters there for different reasons, whose ultimate goal is going to the one that is fulfilled?This book also has a secondary plot line (which you could argue may actually be the main plot line), which is the relationship between Infidel and Stagger. They both have a lot of thinking to do on what their relationship was, and what it could have been. This is made more complicated by Stagger struggling to come to grips with the fact that he’s a ghost, and his inability to affect anything in the physical realm. It’s Stagger’s growth as a character that really fleshes this book out, and keeps it from becoming just another sword and sorcery tale of dragons and heroes.Why you should read this book?Two words: it’s fun. In fact, I think this is the most fun book I’ve read in months. It plays with archetypes, it’s intense with just a bit of silly, and there’s a nice romantic arc. In short: win. Lots of win. Can it be June so I can read the next book now?

  • AudioBookReviewer
    2019-04-11 06:05

    My original Greatshadow audiobook review and many others can be found at Audiobook Reviewer.Stagger and Infidel are bounty hunters searching for highly prized dragon bones.  While chased by pygmies, Stagger accidentally stabs and kills himself with his bone knife,  and is transformed into a ghost tied to his knife, he must go where it goes.  Infidel, the beautiful warrior with impenetrable skin and unnatural strength, mourns his death, not knowing Stagger is still following her.  She joins a strange band of magical warriors and priests to slay the elemental dragon, Greatshadow, to free the world of his control of fire.This is an extremely complex story with imaginative characters and demons.  Maxey paints a richly detailed world of magic and adventure: impenetrable armor that only exists as long as long as 300 monks pray for its existence, a deceiver who can change reality by convincing others of his lies, a mercenary who can change into an animal from the tattoos on his body, an ice priestess who can freeze anything with a touch and many, many more.  The story’s originality and fresh ideas alone are worth the visit, but it is the richly developed characters that will keep the listener enjoying the ride.The plot is far too complex to describe here.  Each character has his or her own reason for searching out the elemental dragon, Greatshodow.  One wants to kill it for king and country, others just for the money, another as an enslaved magician and Infidel to bury her grief.  It is an epic adventure that will satisfy fantasy lovers.Jake Urry performs the story magnificently.  He brings the story to life with his exceptional voice and character portrayals.  A beautiful dance of narrator and story and a pleasure to listen to.Greatshadow is a thoroughly entertaining action adventure fantasy.  It even throws a bit of philosophy into the mix about when messing with nature is going too far.  It is book one in the series, but stands alone as a complete novel.  You’ll definitely want to listen to book two when it is available.  If you enjoy fantasy at its best, this is a must listen.  Highly recommended.Audiobook was provided for review by the narrator.

  • Bob Milne
    2019-04-11 12:02

    Greatshadow, the first book of The Dragon Apocalypse by James Maxey, reminds me in so may ways of the TSR quest-driven novels I cut my fantasy teeth on so many years ago. More specifically, it reminds of Forgotten Realms adventures by the likes of R.A. Salvatore, Ed Greenwood, Troy Denning, and Douglas Niles. Before anybody takes that the wrong way, let me assure you that's absolutely not a criticism or a complaint - I have fond memories of those adventures, and Maxey rekindled that same kind of wide-eyed enjoyment.The writing is fresh, the characters intriguing, the action frantic, and the story line deeper than you might originally suspect. I must admit, it took a while to get used to having a ghost narrate the novel, but there's purpose to Stagger's narrative role that goes far beyond mere novelty. He's a coward and a scoundrel, a greedy, drunken adventurer with questionable ethics, but one who is loyal and sincere where it counts. I definitely warmed up to him over the course of the novel, and I quite liked the way Maxey gave his story closure towards the end.Infidel, his magically endowed, super powered partner in crime seemed a little thin at first. She reminded me too much of the characters at the heart of the Runelords saga, a series where the novelty wore thin long before the final pages of the first book. Fortunately, Maxey has an entertaining backstory for her that is slowly unveiled over the course of the novel, slowly adding layers of humanity to her impervious exterior. Of course, it helps that she's entirely aware of her role as a sex-object within the genre, something she takes great joy in subverting. There's a scene where Infidel explains to Aurora, high priestess and frost giantess extraordinaire, just how deep her superhuman strength runs, and why she could never doom a man to the throes of orgasm, that will leave you laughing and crossing your legs at the same time.Where Maxey breaks away from the style of those Forgotten Realms adventures of 20+ years ago and cements his place alongside his genre contemporaries is in his sheer unpredictability. This is one of those novels where nobody is safe, where good and evil are not absolutes, and where truth and lies are simply a matter of perspective. For such a small band of adventurers, a lot of main characters die along the way, and not all of them in the grand, heroic fashion you might expect. There's an element of realism here - or, as much as there can be within a swords & sorcery tale - that acknowledges the fact that things don't always work out simply because we want them to.One final note on this book, I thoroughly enjoyed Maxey's take on religion. The Church of the Book is an interesting concept, both a satiric parody of organized religion and an almost logical mythological construct. The idea of a Book that contains the complete story of the universe, but which cannot be read except by the arrival of long-anticipated Omega Reader, is brilliant in its absurdity. Similarly, the duelling magics of Father Ver and the Deceiver is both ridiculous and inspired, with the magical outcome of their respective 'truths' and 'lies' dependant solely upon the belief of those around them.It's been a long time since I've had the pleasure of enjoying a good, old-fashioned, straight-up quest adventure, complete with magical artifacts, inhuman races, and truly epic dragons. He amused me, entertained me, and amazed me on several occasions. Much to Maxey's credit, he maintained both my interest and my smiles the whole way through, more than ensuring I'll be back to discover what happens with Hush.Originally reviewed at Beauty in Ruins

  • Donna
    2019-03-28 13:20

    Between the set-up information and the slightly clipped prose style, it took me some time to get into this book. I totally loved the middle third, about high-powered heroes making their way through a hostile landscape while dealing with the tensions among their group. The ending wrapped things up very neatly, but felt a bit overcomplicated to me.I liked the heroine, Infidel, though I wish she'd been a little less objectified. All of the secondary characters were really interesting, and I wanted to spend more time with some of them. There were some great abilities on display in the group, and I liked the organizational and political details of the various factions.I do have to say that I didn't care for Stagger much. Don't get me wrong, the idea of a dead, alcoholic narrator is freaking fantastic, and Stagger fills the role well when his mind is on the job. Unfortunately, he behaves in a creepy, proprietary way towards Infidel, including invisibly sitting in on private conversations and intimate moments. His stalking and spying didn't exactly make me sympathetic towards his romantic intentions. It was even enough to make me feel bad for poor, shiny Tower. That guy was a total goof, but he seemed like he'd been messed up by the same system that Infidel barely escaped. And at least he was straightforward.Despite my issues with the squick-factor of Stagger's characterization, I really liked the adventure parts of the story. I'll probably try something else from the author in hopes that I'll like a different protagonist better.(Yet again, I really wish we could do half stars. This one was better than many of my other three-star reads, but I can't quite bring myself up to a four.)I won this book as a Goodreads giveaway.

  • BookLoversLife
    2019-03-28 05:00

    Whilst being chased through the jungle by pygmies, Stagger and Infidel have no choice but to jump off a cliff into the water. Unfortunately Stagger accidentally stabs and kills himself with his knife. He then becomes bound to the knife and has to go where it goes. Infidel, is distraught but gathers up his knife and flees. She needs a job so joins a quest to slay the mighty Greatshadow, but the gang of unlikely accomplices have there work cut out for them trying to slay an elemental Dragon. I have to say that I did not expect to love this as much as I did!! The author has created a very vivid and intrinsic world and one I absolutely adored! There is so much happening within the pages that it was impossible to put down. The world the author created was extremely well crafted and pleasantly unique. Character wise, we have a wide variety of them but each was well written and developed. We have a warrior whom is nearly indestructible, a priest who can sense lies and other untruths, he is also powerful in his own right, we have a deceiver who can make you believe anything, a man who can bring armor into being just by opening a book and more, plus we have dragons!!! It was amazing to read about them all.The plot was fast paced and so entertaining. The quest they set out on is impossible because everyone who has tried has failed, plus, how can you defeat the Dragon of fire? I also loved how the story was told!! It was told via Staggers POV, even though he is a ghost!! It was a refreshing way for it to be told and I thoroughly enjoyed Stagger!In all, an intriguing, exciting and adventurous tale and I'm so glad it seems to be a series. I want to know more about the world and characters!! Jake Urry surpassed himself with his narration here. Every book I've listened to that he has narrated has been a 5 star narration, but this one was even better. The sheer amount of tones and voices he had was phenomenal! He was goofy and silly when needed (the goons) and tense and serious when called for. His voice for the dragons were amazing and he nailed the performance of the whole book. Amazing narration!!!I was voluntarily provided this audiobook for free from the author, narrator, or publisher. This in no way affected nor influenced my thoughts.

  • David
    2019-04-04 10:01

    I really enjoyed this one. On the surface, it's a classic fantasy romp, with an inventive cast of characters, each of which has a special skill of some kind, on a quest to slay a dragon. Even just at this level, the book is great fun, and really well told, with a lot of good action and clever turns. The magical system of the world, however, provides philosophical depth to an otherwise light-hearted romp. Members of different religions and sects see the world differently, and can thus perform different magic. Often their beliefs conflict with each other, however, leading to situations where the one who believes the strongest, or can convince others, gets to determine what is real. It's a world where any belief really can be true, suggesting that its reality consists entirely of a shared delusion, which those of strong mind can alter. Some thought-provoking background that made this fun adventure story richer.

  • Theresa (TBC) (TT&B)
    2019-03-31 12:05

    AudioNot my usual genre but I enjoyed this. Fantasy & always moving story. Jake Urry as always did a great job narrating and keeping the story flowing with life.

  • Mieneke
    2019-04-20 09:11

    The first in a new series by James Maxey, Greatshadow managed to be both a very original book and a rather familiar one. Let's start with the original part. The book had a very original take on the narration. While the protagonist is Infidel, she is not the narrator; no, that place is beholden to Stagger, her erstwhile – and currently very dead – partner. This approach is one I hadn't seen before and one that's very effective in keeping us appraised of happenings Infidel couldn't have known about. Told in first person with Stagger referring to himself as I, Greatshadow is actually mostly a third person story as Stagger relates Infidel's story. I really enjoyed the way the book was narrated and Stagger is a very funny point of view.Now for the rather familiar part: the characters surrounding Infidel. The cast of people along with Infidel on her quest is very cool and I really liked them, but if you squint hard enough at them you can just assign them their relevant D&D classes and you have a relatively traditional adventuring party. However, this only occurred to me after finishing the book, so it might just be nitpicking. My favourite members of Infidel's group were the Three Goons, Relic and Aurora. The Three Goons were just really funny and interesting, Relic rather creepily mysterious and Aurora is just a wonderful character, whose background as a high priestess to the primal dragon Hush was very interesting and also key to the story.Infidel is completely kick ass. She's an intriguing juxtaposition; despite being physically mostly invulnerable, she's still very human and emotionally breakable. Her back story is awesome and very well done, we slowly learn more about where she comes from and how she acquired her magical protections. I loved how she only realised how she felt about Stagger after she lost him and hits herself over the head for it. So yes, there is a sort of romance in the book, but definitely not of the traditional kind. Infidel also showed growth during the novel, going from a rather barbaric artefact looter to wanting a more 'normal' life. I'm curious where Maxey will take this in the next book.While the basic plot of the book is rather linear – a group of people get together and go off to slay the dragon – it's the side plots and the characters' motivation that make the story captivating. The world building, while relatively limited – we're on an island – is interesting. We get enough glimpses of the world off island to not feel too isolated, but Maxey mainly focuses on the Isle of Fire itself. We do meet some interesting races and learn some excellent dragon lore. This book mainly focused on Greatshadow, the primal dragon of fire, but in the next book we'll meet Hush, Rott and Glorious and I imagine we'll meet others in the third book, Witchbreaker. I can't wait to learn about other parts of this world and more dragon lore in the coming books.Greatshadow was a fabulous read, which kept me turning pages and just finishing one more chapter before doing whatever I was supposed to do. Besides, any story that can legitimately clothe its main character in a chain mail bikini and make it functional can only be genius! If you like straight up adventure novels, kick ass heroines and dragons – lots of dragons – then you can't miss Greatshadow. I know I'm already impatient for the second book in the series called Hush, planned for release in July. Greatshadow is out from Solaris Books this week.This book was sent to me for review by the publisher.

  • Luc Reid
    2019-03-31 11:51

    Sword and sorcery superheroesNarrated by the ghost of a deceased drunkard, Greatshadow shows off the strengths I've come to expect in James Maxey's writing: it gushes with cool ideas brought to life; it moves at speed through unexpected and intriguing plot turns; and it features sympathetic characters who are larger than life and twice as flawed.Some of the phenomena in this book rank with the most fascinating I've seen in any story anywhere: a chamber constructed of false matter, invulnerable armor made of the unceasing prayers of an abbey full of monks, a ghost tied to the knife that accidentally killed him, a priest who makes things true by saying they are, and much else.My main complaint about this book is its setting, which sometimes seems to be assembled from fragments of a variety of centuries. I never quite get my footing in Maxey's world beyond the things he describes directly. I also wince at the "pygmy" tribes, who are treated collectively and with far less care than Maxey seems to show for his taller characters. Even in a section where their lifestyle is championed, it's a human of full-height who makes the argument.Yet these complaints don't prevent the story from being engrossing and meaningful. Frankly, I'm bringing them up mainly because I didn't want you to think that I enjoyed Greatshadow as much as I did due to not viewing it with a critical eye: on the contrary, Maxey's novel defies any effort on my part to dismiss or forget it by pushing characters I like and sometimes pity into a meat grinder of marvels.

  • Mo
    2019-04-21 05:58

    This is the best book I've read in a while. Perhaps because I was hungry for some good old fashioned sword and sorcery, perhaps because this book does sword and sorcery in a unique way. The characters are drawn perfectly for my tastes, without too much told or too much left out. The unique narrative perspective is well done. I personally enjoyed the religious undertones (and overtones), from the Zen-like grandfather to the overbearing, ridiculous religious zealots. Maxey is deft with the religious characterization and while I found myself thinking more deeply about the Tao I don't think Christian readers will peer too far into the text and emerge on the other side with a bitter taste.Don't let the cover art (in my opinion, the art is awful and not a good reflection of the book in any way), the mention of dragons, or anything else dissuade you from reading this. If you are a sword and sorcery or fantasy reader this book is honestly not to be missed. This is my first novel by this author and I have four more of his books now at the top of my stack.

  • Thimbleberry
    2019-04-23 13:07

    I was lucky enough to receive a copy of this from a giveaway at The Ranting Dragon for their June book club. I say 'lucky' both in winning the drawing, and because I might not have read it otherwise. I won't tell you how long my backlog of books-to-read is, but since this was sitting on top of the pile I was able to actually get to it :)While this isn't a book that will change you world, is was vastly entertaining. Take your usual cast of quest characters in a world with some interesting non-human folks and dragons, add a dash of 'Warbreaker' by Brandon Sanderson, and sprinkle liberally with humor on par with A. L. Martinez. Enjoy!

  • Scott
    2019-04-20 11:19

    If you like fantasy, dragons, and a band of rogues with a mission, I think you will enjoy reading or listening to “Greatshadow” which is the first book in “The Dragon Apocalypse” series. The book is written by James Maxey and the audiobook edition is skillfully performed by Jake Urry. Take pieces of “Lord of the Rings”, “NeverEnding Story”, “The Da Vinci Code”, and “Ocean’s Eleven” and you get a small taste of what you can expect in Greatshadow. Strap on your seatbelt as this is an action-packed fantasy tale that takes a well-warn idea and makes it new, exciting, and interesting. The physical book comes in at about 360 pages and the Audible audiobook is nearly thirteen and a half hours long. The story is complex, the characters are fragile, the task is impossible, and the consequences are the lives of our band of adventurers; potentially the entire world. One thing that sets this book apart from many others is that although it is a series, the book can be read and enjoyed as a stand-alone work. I’m not sure if that will be the case for future books or not. The story is not only about defeating a grand and powerful dragon. It is also a battle for not only treasure, but truth as well. If this sounds interesting, I recommend you pick up a copy and dive into this majestic adventure. What’s stopping you, the book has dragons in it!Although there were times I was briefly lost when the story shifted from one plot line to another, it was easy to pick back up and get on track. In many ways, the story’s complexity made it feel larger and more substantial, but I highly recommend setting aside time to read and enjoy it. It requires focus; this is not a book you can listen to while performing tasks requiring your attention. I enjoyed the author’s use of aptronym when naming his characters. In some ways, such usage reminded me of “Pilgrim’s Progress”; for those familiar with the book you will understand what I mean. The book’s character names often fit or reflected their overall personalities. I appreciated the detailed writing and storytelling style giving me a better view into this new and rather strange fantasy world. Even though the book was packed with action, such as with the opening scene, the author did not fail to include some deeper and important aspects that brought the characters to life. There were scenes that included both deep emotional aspect and even some light (at times crude) humor. I felt the book was well balanced by keeping me on a rollercoaster ride emotionally. In a day and age where nearly every main story characters are invincible, like super heroes, this book’s characters were more life-like because each was flawed and needed to depend on the other characters strengths to survive. It was like the relationships of Gilligan’s Island placed in a fantasy world.The book had a few of the standard fantasy tropes one would expect, but it also included some new and unique creatures, powers, and magic systems. I liked the concept of the Wardolls giving the story a bit of a futuristic or steampunk feel at times. Many of the main characters had rather strong backstories so you could better empathies when they struggled. The band of characters are quite a unique as most of them would often be repelled by each other if not for the central goal of hunting the dragon. What surprised me most about the book was the perspective from which it was told. I do not want to give any spoilers, but needless to say I was caught off guard, but once I got used to it, I enjoyed it quite a bit. As intense as the story was, the author provided relief through the use of humor, many times when it was needed. I had to laugh out loud when one of the characters favorite foods is monkey and their favorite color is black. The author pulls from details shared at different times and surprises the reader with them much later in the book. I liked the many surprises. Jake Urry has a deep and rich narrating voice which adds to the weighty and heavy feel of the book. The multiple characters were all well and uniquely voiced along with their many different accents. Although there were a few slight volume inconsistencies, they were only noticeable if you listened very closely. There were no observable audio artifacts while I listened. Even though he does not have a large number of narrations released on Audible (at the time of this review), I have already enjoyed a few of his other works and he has quite a diverse category of genres he voices. For parents or younger readers, this book contains some crass and childish humor, light use of vulgar language, along with some adult subject matter of a sexual nature. At times, there are references or dialogue around specific bodily parts and a scene describing passionate romantic love which may be a bit more intense for younger readers. If you are at all offended by any of these, I would recommend to not read this book.In summary, the book was overall enjoyable yet at times quite complex with some time travel, flashbacks, etc. that could have you feeling lost or confused. Stick with it and you will find a tale that is full of twists and turns, intrigue, and strong relationships. If you can get past a few of the language issues pointed out above, I would recommend picking up this book. Although it is a series, remember it can be read as a stand-along novel. What would it hurt by dipping your toes into this first book of what is to become a much bigger story?Disclaimer: I was voluntarily provided this review copy audiobook at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator.

  • Elena Alvarez Dosil
    2019-04-11 13:05

    Greatshadow, who dwells in the Isle of Fire, is one of the called primal dragons. His power is the power of fire, which he can use to spy on men, control them, and even kill them. The Church of the Book has decided to send a mission to slay Greatshadow, and has enlisted twelve member on this quest, but their backgrounds are so diverse, that tensions grow amongst the group.Even though I like fantasy, I am quite picky with this genre, and I found that many fantasy books do not fulfill my needs. When I came across this book though, I knew I was against something different, something special, and later I discovered that it was just not due to the story, but also because of how it was told. The book is told from the point of view of Stagger, a bounty hunter which is always seen in the company of Infidel, an indestructible and super strong woman, who doubles as Stagger's friend and bodyguard. The curious thing is that Stagger dies on the first chapter of the book, but he continues to be the narrator of the story in the form of a ghost.There quite some characters (just the company is formed by twelve members). A tip for this is writing down the names and main characteristics so not to get lost. The characters are varied and interesting, and their relationships create a dynamic driving the story forward. The most developed characters are Stagger and Infidel, and we will discover new things about them along the story, like peeling layers upon layers. There is adventure, action in this book, but also humor, love, and mystery. Listening the story from the point of view of a dead man was sometimes heartbreaking. A good sign of how well developed the characters are and how well the book is written.The most amazing thing of this book is the world building. The events happen on the Isle of Fire. I am not sure what is beyond this Isle, since only the Silver City was mentioned, and it was not clear to me if it was on it. I especially liked the description of Common Ground, a village made out of docks and ships on a bay. This part totally made me think of 'The Secret of Monkey Island', and it left me wanting for more. I would also like to learn more about the Vanished Kingdom and how evolved their society was.Again, with this kind of book I would appreciate having a map on hand. I ignore whether the printed and the ebook versions have one. It is a pity that audiobooks get ignored regarding this. Since audiobook distributors do not include a map, I think it would be a great idea for the authors to include this on their website.The main story arc is complete, but the book ends on a kind of a cliffhanger and opens a door to new adventures. Nevertheless the end gave me a feeling of closure in a way that I was not annoyed by the cliffhanger. I was mystified by the Black Swan, and I suspect that we will hear a lot more from her in future books.One of the reasons for the success of this book is Jake Urry's great narration. His deep voice and interpretation skills trapped me from the start in a way that I could not let go. I finished this 13-hour book in just two days, so this shows how this book got me hooked. Each character had a unique voice and style, which helped in bringing them to life. I was surprised at first at hearing a British narrator for an American book, but after some minutes through the story I realized that Urry had the perfect voice and skills for this book. No one else would have been the same. The audio production was spotless. I have to mention that in the first chapter, when Stagger is still alive, there are some sound effects not present in the rest of the book. I wonder if this was intentioned. They were okay but I am happy that Urry did not use them for the rest of the book since I found them a bit distracting. I think they add an extra dimension to the story, but since this is not often used in audiobooks, it mainly distracts me from the story. And adds more "interferences" to the background noise outside (sometimes I listen to audiobooks while walking on the street or taking the metro).It was a very enjoyable listen, and I am looking forward to the sequels and other audiobooks narrated by Jake Urry. I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Jake Urry. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

  • Melissa Hayden
    2019-04-16 04:51

    *I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.4.5 starsA cool addition in listening to the audiobook for me, we get small sound effects! There's a noise that matches the waterfall, lightly in the background to give us the feel of the story with the narration. I enjoyed the sly or laid back, knowing voice of the clientele at Black Swan that he used. Very fitting of the characters! I found I really enjoyed Jake as the narrator for this book. He felt to bring life to the words and characters as he spoke. When listening to audiobooks, sometimes a wonderful thing happens - you don't even know you are listening. Yep, it happened here. Jake told the story with what felt to be the characters personalities and lived in their emotions. This brings a book to a whole fourth dimension that's enjoyable for us.We start off with seeing Stagger and Infidel in their full character as they escape a lava pygmy temple. How they escape says a lot about their personalities and friendship. Also gives us a action start to bring us into the world with them. I totally loved it. I was sold on the daring characters from the opening.Infidel is one brutal woman! I love it! She's magically strong and seems to have no fear with her strength as she does withstand some heavy events and keeps on going. Infidel comes to a realization early in the book and grows from it as we move through events. Infidel feels to have been a person in need of healing, and didn't realize it until she lost one person dear to her. Wonderful writing for Infidel and her growth.I very much enjoyed the story from the beginning. It's told from Stagger's view of things happening. I was pleasantly surprised at how well everything fits as we watch and experience with him. We interact with many different beings from Ogre to dwarf and magic inclined people. And of course, dragons. Very interesting world.The story plot has an overall slower pace like traditional fantasy. But it's what happens in those moments that are amazing. Even though the plot is slower, the story is far from it. We get to see the world and know the characters through adventure and danger. There is magic and different beings present that we get to meet through actions. I even found I got to smile and chuckle at this story. When you meet Reeker and get to witness what he can do, you'll be smiling too. lol.I found it interesting how the characters on the journey to kill Greatshadow have their lives intertwined with this adventure. We learn a great deal about them and face dangers as we journey, and I didn't realize that we were still working to get to the dragon. I didn't feel as though the book needed to skip ahead or anything. I truly enjoyed the story from the view point we got it.

  • Leserling /Belana
    2019-04-03 09:07

    Jake Urry does it again!My first book narrated by Jake Urry was a psychological thriller, and his way of narrating really got to me. I then listened to his performances of an occult thriller series; so when I found out that he was the narrator of Greatshadow, and fantasy being my favourite genre, I absolutely ‚had‘ to listen to it.Now, the brain is a funny organ: when starting Greatshadow, at first I couldn’t help picturing Harlan Ulrich, the main protagonist from the occult thriller series. I hasten to add, that this is none of Jake Urry’s fault, his narration was immaculate, as I’ve come to expect from him. So, I had some serious talking to myself, and after a while, Ulrich faded, and Stagger and Infidel came to the fore.I thoroughly enjoyed the narration, the various characters and voices. The good thing is: I enjoyed the book as much as I enjoyed the narration!Being an avid reader/listener of fantasy stories, I sometimes wonder what new stuff authors can still come up with, cause it seems I should have read it all by now.Far from it! On the foreground, this is a book about mankind’s fight against the evil dragon, but there is so much more to it.The world building is excellent, and the world is populated by very strong and different characters and fascinating races. The narrator’s perspective is a bit of a funny one, because he is dead. Yes, you read that right. And he isn’t the sort of ghost I would have expected, either, because he can still feel like a living being — only he can no longer act like one, which causes him a lot of frustration.Then there’s Infidel, an invincible woman who doesn’t let anyone push her around.There are mercenaries with various special abilities, there’s the knight in shining armour (and he isn’t as boring as I expected him to be,either). And of course there’s a representative of the church who claims to hold the one and only truth, and there’s his (and the church’s) antagonist, some sort of Antichrist. And then there’s the mysterious — well, sort of wise man,or wizard — who knows it all.Theses are only the main characters, but the sidekicks are just as fascinating and memorable. I hope in a sequel we’ll get to know more about the Black Swan, for instance.All these characters make for a hell of a mix in their common goal to slay Greatshadow, the most powerful dragon on earth, not least because their motivations for the mission are so very different.The story is full of surprises, and it is funny in parts, too. The mix of action and reflection, disputes and building of friendships makes for great entertainment, and I highly recommend it.I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Jake Urry. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

  • M.E. Garber
    2019-04-15 07:51

    I'm glad I made it past the opening, which seemed very slow and static, with the protagonist watching everything and doing nothing--it almost killed my interest. BUT...I give the author credit for trying something very hard and taking a huge risk with this opening, because while Stagger is the POV we're in, the protagonist of the story is really Infidel, his female companion. The story starts as little more than a D&D type escapade, but eventually digs deeply into morality, theology, love, second chances, and more--all while keeping up a happy patter between the questing characters, and moving them along in their quest to kill the dragon. I really loved the interplay between the goons, and the goons and Aurora, and the fact that Aurora and Infidel, along with the Black Swan, are all very powerful women in their own rights. Still, there was much "male gazing" about (Stagger was a bit moony, IMO), and I didn't find that Stagger actually had much of a character arc. While it was nice to see him letting the more capable Infidel handle things, he did this straight through, from the start to the finish. Now, maybe there's more to come in Book 2, but Book 1 seemed a final product, so his change didn't seem substantial enough to satisfy me.All that said, this was a fun book. Lots of jokes and ribald fun. Serious adventure fans will love this one! I want to give the story 3.5 stars, just for the character interplay (especially between Reeker and Menagerie), but I'm stuck with only whole stars.

  • Bradley Spoon
    2019-03-29 08:54

    This is not the typical book I would listen to. But since I was given a code for this book by the narrator, I decided to listen to it and give it an honest review. I thought the writing was clear, concise, and imaginative. I did find myself bored in most chapters, but I was satisfied with the ending and the fact that I grew somewhat attached to the characters by the end of this 15-something hour long audiobook. As for the narration, Jake Urry was the ONLY reason I continued listening. His voice was magical in itself. This was the first time I listen to his narration and I must say...wowza! He really took me on a pleasant journey. The way he read different character's lines and how his deep (and super attractive) voice just carried the tone of the novel so effortlessly....I was truly amazed at his work on this fantasy novel. Would I listen to this book again or listen to the next in the series? No, I'm afraid not. BUT, I'm not a diehard fantasy fan. I like popular fantasy. But diehard fantasy fans are going to LOVE this book and probably think it's the next best thing to that other popular and nerdy fantasy book series... ✌🏼

  • Terri A. Wilson
    2019-04-12 05:14

    **This review is in regards to the audio**Complicated plot lines always intrigue me because it challenges my brain to remember everything. And when done right, it’s awesome. The story line for this book was done right. It was an intense action pack story about dragons and warriors. Right now, I’m on a dragon kick, so this book came along at the right time. The author’s world building is well-developed and it was easy to see the story unfold as if I was watching a movie. I think listening to the story helped with that because the narrator gave the story and even more intense level. I enjoyed the characters and the narrator did an outstanding job making each one of them unique. I was not expecting some of the twists this author wrote since my first impression was this book was going to lean heavily on testosterone. The female lead was just as strong and I am always very impressed when a male narrator does a great job with a female character. Overall the marriage of this story and the audiobook worked well and I still think about it even though it’s been weeks since I finished it. Books like this continue to challenge my writing ability and inspire me to be a better writer.

  • Melanie Lewis
    2019-04-05 04:53

    What a book! Mr Maxey has the most wonderful imagination. The characters, Infidel, Stagger, Aurora are so brilliant, each one is so carefully thought out and brilliantly drawn. I loved The Goons. There is absolutely everything in this story; fantasy, romance, love, hate, betrayal, dysfunctional family relationships, the whole range of writing genres. As if the genius writing is not enough, the book's level is raised to an even higher stratosphere due to the narration by Jake Urry. How he manages to make all the voices of all the different players and keep them separated in his head is beyond me. He even makes No Face's speech consistently incomprehensible, (you'll understand why this is important when you listen to the book!). This is a work of art, written by a master author and narrated by a master actor and most definitely should be listened to by all. It will take you to places you'd never even dreamed of! 5 stars simply don't seem enough!

  • Alan
    2019-04-23 12:02

    In my search for new books at great prices. I found the Dragon Apocalypse collection on Kindle - 4 books at £0.99 what could go wrong? This is the first of the books - I separate them into individual books, because I don't like reading four books yet only getting one marked off on good reads, plus of course each book should be reviewed individually. So, What do I think of this book? Excellent, fast moving and a fantastic fantasy.The characters are really enjoyable. Infidel our heroine, Stagger who narrates this story, Relic, The Black Swan, Menagerie etc, all enjoyable characters. As an Atheist I also love how this book (like many great Sci Fi books) takes many elements of religion and shows them for what they are. (i.e fantasy).Anyway, a very enjoyable and fast moving book of a quest. And I'm already deep into book two - Hush.

  • PunkRockLibrarian
    2019-04-19 08:00

    I received this #Audible #audiobook in exchange for an honest review via #LibraryThing.TBH, the first 30 minutes or so of the book, I was not sold...in fact, I almost DNFed this one. I am glad I didn't.This was a very entertaining read...it reminded me a little bit of Eragon, but for adults. It was adventurous, funny, and all-together captivating! I loved the different characters in the group...their powers were fantastic and really pushed the book forward in regards to keeping my interest...what will happen next!? I love the fantastical creatures and people, I would love to see a prequel in this series for the Black Swan...definitely an interesting character! I really hope that I can be a reviewer for any future books in this series! The narrator was fantastic, which also helps with maintaining engagement as a listener. #punkrocklibrarian

  • Susan
    2019-03-30 12:56

    This book is in the top 10 of my favorite new reads of the year. I know, I’m being blunt. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I was chewing through 50-100 pages a night and only put it down when I was too fatigued to read any more. This book turned me into a little kid – I didn’t want to sleep, or do the dishes, or get dressed. I simply wanted to read this book. Infidel is a kick-ass 30 year-old woman who is the true heroine of this tale. She is fascinating, flawed, and trying to do the right thing after loosing her best friend of many years. Trust me. This books kicks ass and will have you calling in sick to work and family engagements.UPDATE (August 2017): I recently listened to the audiobook so here is my review on that edition of the book. I had the pleasure to read a paperback copy of this book some years ago and I recall I really enjoyed it. That hasn’t changed at all now with this new audiobook version. It was a real treat to revisit this epic quest and these interesting characters.In this little corner of this world, there are plenty of islands and some of the last bastions of true wilderness. That’s because an elemental dragon, Greatshadow, resides in the depths of one of the islands volcanic mountains. Stagger, who dies very early on in the book, watches as his friends, frenemies, and a few unknowns are gathered together to take on the great task of killing Greatshadow. They hope to free humans from his tyranny, forever making fire safe to humans to handle. each of the questers has their own reasons for going on this journey, ranging from a holy quest to a great treasure hunt. Stagger is along for the right, his spirit being tied to his old dagger that he left with his drinking buddy Infidel.First, lets talk about the characters. Yes, there are plenty of them, but most of them are pretty interesting. Stagger is a 50ish man that never did much more with his life than hunt up treasure, drink himself stupid, and hold a silent crush on Infidel. Now as a ghost, he’s taking an active role in one of the greatest (and perhaps most foolhardy) acts of humanity in recorded history – the not-insignificant attempt to slay an ancient and elemental dragon. Through this quest, he has to face some old acquaintances and also see people he cares about put in danger. So, he’s kind of having a midlife crisis without actually being alive. These circumstances force him to grow if he wants to make a difference.Then there’s Infidel. She’s the true focus of this story. Being in her 30s, she’s got this unusual power of super strength and nearly impermeable skin. She’s a tank build like a healthy young lady on the short side. With the death of her best friend Stagger, she has to reassess what she wants to do with her life. She realizes that Stagger made treasure hunting and drinking fun and that she didn’t need much more than that. With him gone, she’s ready for a change.Aurora was my next favorite character. She’s an ice ogress, complete with tusks. She’s quite good with her ice magic and very talented with a harpoon. In fact, she’s seeking a sacred weapon that belongs to her people and she suspects that one of their party has that weapon hidden away. Then there’s Wreak. I don’t really like him, per se, but he was just so interesting. He’s a half-seed, meaning that his mother bought some alchemically enhanced animal semen and applied it appropriately, coming up with a baby Wreak 9 months later. Unfortunately, it appears she purchased skunk semen…. perhaps on purpose. Just one of those little mysteries that we may never solve. The character list is littered with odd misfits aplenty: righteously angry religious man, a deformed strong man with almost no face, another zealot who can alter reality, a dream spinner (Blade) and his deadly assassin of a dream (Whisper), a flying knight with his shiny armor and mighty hammer, a tattooed man that can shape shift (Menagerie), the time traveling Black Swan, and the thought stealing Relic.Then we have this quest that’s all told from the viewpoint of dear departed Stagger. It’s not a straightforward quest; the group suffers plenty of set backs. I liked that there was a mix of motivations for going on this quest and then that the quest itself was not so easy. There’s some internal conflicts and pygmies and just the jungle island to cross. Then toss in a little romance that isn’t expected to go anywhere in a hurry. I loved the girl talks between Aurora and Infidel, two warriors with vastly different experiences when it comes to sex. Not all of these would-be heroes make it to the end of the book. Some die out of stupidity. Some die from jungle traps set by the pygmies. Some die doing what they do best and in a noble manner. A few I wanted dead and a very few I nearly cried when they did die.The ending held a few more surprises. Things didn’t end as I expected them to and that made me happy. This is not a predictable sword & sorcery tale. While the ending wraps things up for this tale, it leaves thing open for the sequel. It was a most satisfying book.I received a free copy of this book. Narration: Jake Urry brought a new level of enjoyment to this book. He really pulled out the stops for the variety of voices. I especially loved his creepy voice for Whisper. His muffled voice for the strongman with the face abnormality was well done. His voice for Greatshadow was excellent – deep, ancient, somewhat haughty, and powerful. He had distinct voices for all the characters and his female voices were believable. There were many emotions the various characters lived through in this book and he did a great job at showing those as well. All around, a fantastic narration.

  • April
    2019-03-28 09:56

    I loved this book! I found it randomly mentioned in a Reddit post about romantic fantasy. I definitely wouldn't suggest this if you want romantic fantasy, so I feel that person was way off with that suggestion. Yet, I am so happy to have read it.The magic is fun. It's not like Sanderson where it all makes perfect sense with proper rules but it has some limitations and there are a lot of forms of it. The characters are all likable and interesting, I wanted to read more instead of skim through it.It's an easy read too. There aren't pages of long ass descriptions of how a mountain looked or how some food tasted. Instead it's action and dialogue and story building all the way through. I just bought the complete collection so plan to read the rest, but I'll review each book separately.

  • RJ
    2019-04-23 06:53

    I like a good dragon tale every once in a while to break up the routine. This one is a little different and quite interesting as it portrayed the last of the dragons as Primal, meaning each dragon corresponded to an element. Fire, water, cold, you get the idea. Humanity was a bit paranoid about Greatshadow they felt he was watching them via every flame that existed throughout the realm and they wanted to put an end to it, or him. The King collected a dozen warriors of various skills and sent them off to do away with Greatshadow. This had been tried several times before without success, but humans are nothing if not persistent. Some warriors signed on for the honor and some for Greatshadow’s treasure. Follow along as we find out how this latest effort panned out. This audiobook was given by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review via Audiobook Boom.

  • Melissa Hayden
    2019-04-13 06:51

    4.5 starsI found it interesting how the characters on the journey to kill Greatshadow have their lives intertwined with this adventure. We learn a great deal about them and face dangers as we journey, and I didn't realize that we were still working to get to the dragon. I didn't feel as though the book needed to skip ahead or anything. I truly enjoyed the story from the view point we got it. ****FULL REVIEW TO FOLLOW****

  • Simona Nielsen
    2019-03-30 07:16

    Audiobook review: Story - 3 stars - Narrator Jake Urry - 5 stars.For strong fantasy fans this book might just be the catch. It didn't work for me though, as it didn't contain the elements I want in a fantasy novel. It was way too dark for me and I'm also very hard to satisfy when it comes to this genre. However, if you love fantasy, this book has a lot of strong fantasy elements, so you might not think the same as me. Jake Urry did a great performance, as he is a master in dark stories.

  • April
    2019-04-23 11:04

    Greatshadow: James MaxeyThis is an interesting dragon book. Lots of adventure and suspense in this novel. In all honesty, it wasn't my cup of tea. Those listeners that are big into fantasy will probably love it.The narration was well done. The characters were well portrayed. Jake Urry is the reason I finished this book, his voice style is fantastic."I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review."

  • Michelle VanDaley
    2019-04-08 05:11

    My review is based on the Audiobook. Greatshadow is book one in what is sure to be a must read series for all Fantasy fans. I found the story fresh and funny and captivated me from start to finish. Jake Urry did well as narrator with easy to understand yet distinguishable characters. I look forward to more in this series and from this Author and narrator.

  • Abhinav
    2019-04-22 09:05

    You can find the full review over at The Founding Fields:http://thefoundingfields.com/2012/08/...Shadowhawk reviews the first novel of the Dragon Apocalypse series by James Maxey.“It’s very rare to find a novel packed to the brim with heart-pumping action, laugh out loud humour, and a protagonist who wants cake. Greatshadow is a brilliant book.“ ~The Founding FieldsIts not often I come across a novel that makes me giddy with laughter in the middle of some tense scenes between characters, when everything depends on what one of these characters will say. Pharaun Mizzrym in the War of the Spider Queen novels comes close but doesn’t quite hit that mark. Same for Matt Forbeck’s cast in his Brave New World trilogy. James Maxey hits that right note perfectly in Greatshadow though, and it is highly entertaining when he does it. He handles both action and humour with an experienced, natural hand that makes you wonder at how good he is. This novel was my experience of his work and in a nutshell, I really want more.The novel starts off with a scene that wouldn’t be out of place in an Indiana Jones movie: Stagger and Infidel escaping a tribe of pygmies that have made a (somewhat) dormant volcano their home, poison darts flying all around the two of them. It is a great beginning that sets the tone for the rest of the novel, as every crest in the pacing is marked by action scenes and every trough is marked with sadness and pain. Stagger dies of his injuries during the escape and it falls to Infidel to carry on his memory. But there’s a catch: Stagger survives as a ghost who haunts the knife, his knife, that killed him and which Infidel now carries as a token of him. From there on, Greatshadow is all about dragon hunts, knights in shining armour, religious fanatics, sorcerers, ogres, time-travelers, shape-shifters, ghosts, and dragons. I went in with some reservations but the novel put me at ease from the beginning itself and then continued to hold me until I turned the last page.The characterisation is where I was ultimately sold on with Greatshadow. Infidel, Stagger, and the three Goons are wonderfully realised three-dimensional characters who make the narrative their own, as if they are grabbing a bull by its horns. The novel is all from Stagger’s point of view, often in first person, so we don’t get to spend much time directly exploring the other characters, but his unique position as a ghost allows him to see a lot that goes on regardless. Infidel, a woman with an uncertain and mysterious past, is the charm of the novel. She is tough, thinks for herself, doesn’t have to resort to leveraging her sexuality, and has great lines. Her motivations in joining the hunt to kill the primal dragon Greatshadow are described best in her own words when she tells one of her companions that all she wants is a palace full of servants and cake (paraphrased). She isn’t a stone-cold character however, because Maxey allows us to see her vulnerable side through Stagger, in the scenes where she mourns his death and wonders at the possibilities that could have been between the two of them were he still alive.Stagger is defined very well by the nickname he goes by, for it is not a “just so” nickname. He is a man who was conflicted by his feelings for Infidel when he lived, and is still conflicted in death. He staggers along his feelings, exploring them haphazardly, but he gets there in the end. The knife that binds him to the mortal world is a great device for Maxey to show off his world-building and raises questions about the dominant religion in the world, as well as what happens to those who die: do they linger on like Stagger or do they willingly go off into the unknown of the spirit world. Stagger made for an excellent vehicle of that exploration. Through his alliance of convenience with Relic, a mysterious sorcerer who is the only one who can see him, Stagger gets to know himself, Infidel, and the rest of his companions.