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Shadow of a Dark Queen (The Serpentwar Saga,…
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Shadow of a Dark Queen (The Serpentwar Saga, Book 1) (original 1993; edition 1995)

by Raymond E. Feist

Series: Serpentwar Saga (1), The Riftwar Cycle, Alternative Reading Order (Serpentwar Saga, Book 1), The Riftwar Cycle, Publication Order (The Serpentwar Saga, Book 1), The Riftwar Cycle, Chronological Order (The Serpentwar Saga, Book 1), Die Spaltkrieg-Saga (16+17)

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3,038243,305 (3.7)47
Two unlikely friends, Eric and Roo, take up arms to defend their native Midkemia against the terrible Emerald Queen and her gargantuan reptile army.
Member:nickl
Title:Shadow of a Dark Queen (The Serpentwar Saga, Book 1)
Authors:Raymond E. Feist
Info:Eos (1995), Mass Market Paperback, 512 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:fantasy

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Shadow of a Dark Queen by Raymond E. Feist (1993)

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» See also 47 mentions

English (22)  Dutch (1)  French (1)  All languages (24)
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The basic story: a bunch of desperate men are dragooned, like a fantasy Dirty Dozen, for a dangerous mission into a strange land to try to save the world. Sailing from the Europe-esque fantasy setting where most of Feist's novels are set to an India-esque continent, the band of desperate men sneak, fight and spy their way across a war-torn continent in search of information that can save their land from a coming apocalypse.

I hadn't read this since I was a child. It holds up well as an adult — nothing special, but delightfully fun. The writing is competent, the worldbuilding thorough (if intentionally derivative of Earth), the characters interesting (if not compelling). This first book is largely setup for the later series; I recall loving the mercantile scheming of the sequel and the epic battles of the final two novels more than this first one. (I may in fact have read Book 2 before Book 1, since I was a terrible person as a child.) There are better fantasy novelists out there than Raymond E. Feist, but you don't need every book you read to be a genre-shaking revolution. These books are just plain fun. ( )
  dhmontgomery | Dec 13, 2020 |
Weirdly, this might be my least favorite fantasy by Feist. I'm usually quite happy with them. Interesting characters, great locations, solid adventures, great plots. And generally, the worldbuilding is something quite good.

So what happened here? A confluence of factors that may not bother other people but firmly set me down into a camp of 'I don't care'. Maybe I was kinda disappointed with Erik. It started out fairly interesting and I kinda hoped it would go the standard direction of a hidden prince, but after the rape, murder, run and capture, I think I just started wondering where the rest of the tale could go.

Mercenaries. Secret missions. ... Well, it could have been pretty cool.

Unfortunately, I just wasn't all that interested. The amassing army, the somewhat inconsequential cameos of characters I did love, and the primary action did little to spark my interest. Much. I wanted to like it more than I did. I mean, after the previous two novels, I was pretty much riding high. To jump forward in time this much to the point where the king dies, however? I guess I got pretty bummed.

This won't be stopping me from continuing the series, but I will be hoping for more, later.

( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
I am tapping out with two chapters left. I can't believe I bothered to get this far. I love me some fantasy novels, but this just isn't it for me. Sooooo tedious. I hope the sneks and leezards win. :D ( )
  Sonya_W | Feb 5, 2020 |
Not as good as his great Riftwar Saga, but nonetheless a good reader by a master storyteller. ( )
  StephenLegg | Dec 3, 2019 |
Shadow of a Dark Queen is the first book in yet another subseries of Raymond E. Feist’s very long Riftwar Cycle. This is one of the two remaining subseries that I had previously read, and it’s the one I remembered least favorably, but I actually enjoyed this book quite a bit this time around. I remembered very little from the story, but I did remember some of the things I didn’t like about it the first time, and I think having different expectations helped.

This is the first book where the main characters aren’t related to the royal family, although we do see some traces of them on rare occasions. A lot of time passes between the various subseries, introducing us to new generations each time as our old favorites become older and sometimes die, and I had some frustrations with that the first time I read these books. I enjoyed the newer characters the first time too, but I was very attached to the characters from the first subseries and I missed them. Knowing that was coming, I think I’ve been less bothered by it this time around. Feist continues to do a great job of writing characters the reader can care about, and I do think his writing has improved and become more polished as compared to those earlier books.

Some comments for the spoiler tags. One of these contains a spoiler for later in this subseries, not just this book.
I had forgotten Nakor was in this subseries, so that was a nice surprise!

The first time I read this, when we learned that an elderly Arutha had died of complications from a broken hip, off the page, I was so annoyed! This time I braced myself for it and just moved on. He had to die eventually given how much time was passing, but I think I was annoyed about not getting to spend a little more time with my favorite character before it happened. I might have tolerated it better if he’d had a more heroic death like Jimmy gets later in the subseries. Yes, those are essentially the only things I remembered about this subseries 20+ years later: Arutha dies boringly. Jimmy dies heroically. Oh, and there were some other characters too that did stuff. Actually, I did remember Erik and Roo a bit, and some of the early parts of the story started coming back to me a little bit in advance of things happening.

We almost made it an entire book without a romance, but he just had to throw the beginnings of one in there at the end! :) At least he seems to have repented of his insta-lovey ways.
( )
1 vote YouKneeK | Nov 4, 2019 |
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en français
added by grimm | editMissmopi.net, Miss Mopi (Jul 3, 2004)
 

» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Raymond E. Feistprimary authorall editionscalculated
Leister, BryanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Days, when the ball of our vision
Had eagles that flew unabashed to sun;
When the grasp on the bow was decision,
And arrow and hand and eye were one;
When the Pleasures, like waves to a swimmer,
Came heaving for rapture ahead!—
Invoke them, they dwindle, they glimmer
As lights over mounds of the dead.
—George Meredith
“Ode to Youth in Memory”
Dedication
For Jonathan Matson:
more than my agent,
a good friend
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The drums thundered.
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Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Two unlikely friends, Eric and Roo, take up arms to defend their native Midkemia against the terrible Emerald Queen and her gargantuan reptile army.

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