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Shadows of Illyria: Phantoms of War by JM VanZuiden begins with an emotional and insightful prologue on wars and their repercussions.

I was a little surprised to discover that the book is written in second person narrative. For me, it didn’t make the story flow well, but I got used to it. The writing style otherwise was very good.

We are introduced to Sergeant Aldric who notices some orcs and keeps on having some heartbreaking flashbacks. He finds an injured girl A’yala, who is an elf. As Aldric helps her to heal, she becomes his companion.

As the book progresses, we learn about this fantastical world and history. The book is full of invasions and battles. With mythical creatures and magic, this book is a complete package. I liked that the author tried to show realities of war through a fantasy work.

Aldric and A’yala’s romance was incredibly sweet. Not a lot of books nowadays show a slow-burn romance.

This book is a very adventurous and exciting high fantasy novel. My interest waned at times but overall, it is a great start to a series.

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