Honestly, I was surprised at this book. In a good way! The description included terms like “magic versus technology” and Steampunk, and it had a picture of a dragon on the front. Oh good, I thought, steampunk with dragons, how fun!
And it WAS fun, but it was way more than that. First, the characters were all complex and well-drawn, which I find is often not true in adventure reads. Second, this is a story about a reluctant, deity-drafted Warrior Priest with elements of biblical Prophecy. OMG, what a meaty subject!

Poor Shadow, humiliated all his life by his lack of magic among magical peers, suddenly gets powers when the rest of his people lose them; when the Earth, who literally speaks to her chosen people, decides they have become complacent and unworthy, and changes her magical rules to teach them humility. The meek suddenly inherit the Earth, and humbly devoted Shadow must become a hero to save his people from a sudden incursion by the neighboring technological culture. A culture that, by the way, heavily resembles our own.

Shadow, of course, doubts his fitness for the job. He questions himself, questions the Earth’s guidance, but ultimately does what she says because he bows to her wisdom over his own, and suffers the resulting pain and guilt, because that is the burden of Prophets.

I was prepared to enjoy this book, to have a fun, adventure-filled read. And if I had wanted, that’s what I would have gotten. But there are layers here that include a fantastic allegory full of ethical and moral questions and a honking huge mirror held up to my own life and times. And that, I believe, is the true purpose and worth of good fantasy writing.

Bravo, Drew!

Krista Gimeno Audible / Amazon

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