Cover Image: Shadow of the Winter Moon

Shadow of the Winter Moon

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I picked this up because the cover drew me in...the summary seems crazy....and I was feeling a bloody fantasy novel. 

We follow Sharrock who is a veteran from the harsh lands. When a business opportunity pops up that seems simple, Sharrock will take it and find himself on a course that will forever alter his life. There are foul conspiracies that may threaten the very fabric of society. Revenge, violence, mayhem, and many evils will be unleashed. 

This certainly got dark right off the bat. Evil people are everywhere. So yes, there are a lot of TWs like sexual assault, child abuse, torture, murder, and more. Things have gotten bad in this world. There were times where I would just stop reading and take a break. 

This is a world of grey. Even our hero has isn't 100% clean. Sharrock has seen some things that have hardened him to be a warrior you do not want to mess with. I'm glad we got to learn more (slowly mind you) about him and some other characters. It took a while for them to be fleshed out and become more 3D. I'm grateful because at first I literally didn't care about these characters. It took a while, but we got to learn more about them slowly but surely. 

The ending seemed so abrupt! I get there will be more books after this one, but gah. You can't leave a girl hanging like that. 

All-in-all this was an interesting read. It really was a dark world and there is barely a glimmer of hope. No hope at this point...except for a handful of decent people who are not squeaky clean. This does have a lot of dark scenes that are not for everyone so just be warned before picking this one up. I wish the ending wasn't so abrupt. I am curious about book 2...we'll see though. I'll need a break from dark reads for a while. I'll give this 3 stars.
Was this review helpful?
Received arc from Books Go Social and Netgalley for honest read and review,this review is my own personal experience.
Shadow of the Winter Moon is a grim book with a grim story to tell.
Shamrock is the Main protagonist and this centres around him and his challenges he faces with some decisions he makes.
I normally like grimdark novels and the blurb drew me in, but I don't know if I liked Sharrock enough.
If you like your fantasy dark and foreboding with a hint of mayhem,then this is for you.
Was this review helpful?
This is the true definition of a grimdark fantasy. I was really intrigued by the title and loved the cover and the blurb made me want to read this.

The action takes place in the city of Kraven, where gangs and secret societies make the brutal rules people are forced to live by. There's a wide range of morally grey, and often exceedingly deplorable characters. I think the number of characters should have lent themselves better to a longer novel, as I felt I was only just getting to know some of them. However, I did enjoy the shorter chapters which make it a quick read.

Sinclair has a real knack of writing and I really felt the narrative flowed well. This book is extremely dark and there are lots of trigger warnings with this book. It's also a really bad idea to eat while reading this book! 

I enjoyed this first novel and I'm looking forward to seeing how the series continues. Thank you so much to Netgalley and the publishers for providing an arc in return for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
This book definitely had everything that would satisfy fantasy readers! It hit all my main checkmarks at least. Loved the writing the the characters. The story arch was very gritty and overall satisfying if you're looking for a little bit of sorcery and swordplay!
Was this review helpful?
Well written with compelling characters and good world building. The tone is perfect for grimdark too. But I am completely bored to death of writers using sexual assault to signal ‘this is a bad place/ bad guy’ etc especially opening a book with SA to signify ‘grimdark’ and then never addressing the fallout. It’s lazy writing/ worldbuilding. I appreciate it can and does form part of a narrative especially a dark fantasy narrative, but if it doesn’t actually add anything to the story except shock factor, the book is always better when it’s left out. It astounds me that amazingly creative writers with excellent world building chops just can’t conceive of another way to establish genre, tone and theme. Unfortunately this is one of my pet peeves and somewhat ruined the reading experience because I found myself dissecting every other choice the author made instead of just enjoying the story. Which is a shame because he can definitely write.
Was this review helpful?
I like grimdark fantasy and I don't usually have problems with brutal scenes. This is a grimdark fantasy book that was out of my comfort zone as there's plenty of violence and not a lot of humour.
It's well written and the world building is interesting. Some lighter moments would help.
Many thanks to the publisher for this arc, all opinions are mine
Was this review helpful?
Great many Thanks to Cam Sinclair and Net Galley for this book!

The overall story, the characters, and little twists that make you question what could  all these things and more really had me enjoying this book!

I wouldn't totally classify this book as Grimdark, because it may make some folks shy away from a great story, that is just good old fashioned gritty, as any good sword and sorcery TALE.

Sharrock is a great overall character, who is ambiguous in his character because of who he is and what he's done, but his personal mission to watch after August, shows an endearing and humanistic side.  I hope all is well with him....I can't wait for the next book to find out...

Lizard folk, old magic, seedy locations full of thief/assasins, secret pasts...all wound up in a great book will make any fantasy lover happy
Was this review helpful?
Kraven is a town like few others. Constant scheming, lying, and murders lurk behind every corner, and we get to read about a few characters' intense interactions in this city. With a  focus on various characters from different walks of life, we experience Kraven from their eyes. We watch these characters slowly get more and more wrapped up in conspiracies as they try to find the truth about what is haunting the streets of Kraven. 

I will start my personal review by saying I wanted to love this book. I am a fan of grim dark fantasy series, so I am always interested in new authors in the genre. The cover stood out to me immediately because it gave me serious Witcher vibes.

As I started reading, it became apparent quickly that Sinclair was incredibly competent at writing this genre. The book's language, word choice and general atmosphere are very dark and leave you feeling a little unsettled and unsure who or what to believe. I liked reading shorter chapters as it made the book read rather quickly, and it was easy to fit in an extra chapter or two before bed.

While the short chapters were ideal, I think the book could have been longer. One of the things I love about the fantasy genre is the time it takes to fully immerse someone into their world and get to know the characters. I feel I fully captured the aura of Kraven. Still, I felt some character introductions were rushed, leaving me confused about who they were in later chapters. There are many great characters in this book; I just wish I had more time to learn a little bit more about them. And a downside to a shorter fantasy novel with several characters is that some don't get the attention they deserve.

My other comment begins with character choice. In the first chapter, we see a violent and heavily descriptive assault. I am used to reading this content in these books, and often the idea is to leave the reader feeling unsettled. It worked! I was disconcerted for two reasons. 1) It seemed very drastic in the first chapter; I didn't know who these characters were, but this was already happening. 2) We don't hear about those characters for another 60-80 pages, and they act as if the assault never occurred. I like the use of violence in novels, which leads to the characters' plot trajectory changing. With this incident heavily ignored, it made me feel that it was put in for shock value, which unfortunately lessened my experience of the book. 

I continued the book and was overly impressed with the characters fleshed out, such as Sharrock, August and Cordelia. I was invested in the stories and didn't know how they would end. The gory twists and turns continue until the last chapter.
Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
This came across as just loving brutality for the sake of brutality. There was nothing deeper, just the author having a really fun time writing acts of violence. If that's your thing then enjoy! but it isn't mine
Was this review helpful?
Shadow of the Winter Moon is a grim dark fantasy novel that starts brutally and continues in this brutality throughout. I’m not sure I can say that there’s a single chapter where the characters experience kindness the whole time. The world of Kraven is filled with morally grey characters and the book follows so many of them, so many point of views in fact that it did get a little confusing.

It was very difficult whilst reading this to form a connection with any of the characters or their motives. 

It is well written and sets up for an intriguing series but definitely not a book for the lighthearted. There are many themes in this book such as child abuse, violence, violence against women both physical and sexual,  and brutally gruesome depictions of death that a reader must be aware of before beginning this book. A lot of these parts were difficult to read.
Was this review helpful?
Shadow of the Winter Moon is a grimdark fantasy that dials up the ugliness of this fantasy world. 

The story is told through several POVs, with our initial entry into the world told through the eyes of two young boys, Tober and Huni. Soon enough, we enter the city of Kraven, a place so grim I felt like I needed a really good shower after reading about it. There is a lot of sadness in Kraven, where all the inhabitants seem to live in the shadows, in fear of something nasty bubbling beneath the surface. 

In Kraven, we meet out main POV, Sharrock, who has been contracted to find Reelum Hangs who on the surface seems to be a harmless beggar. That is until, an incident at Falconer’s Fist involving Reelum and a mysterious character, which leaves a young girl called August to pick up the pieces. Here is where our story truly begins.

It is a well-written book, with compelling and morally grey characters. The world building is intriguing, and the descriptions of place are captivating, albeit brutal and vicious. On that note, the characters, especially female characters, experience a high amount violence and abuse, and I would suggest readers check out any content warnings before reading. 

The pacing is sometimes off and at times, there seemed to be too many characters for me to keep track of. That said, it will be part of a series and I am sure these characters will be developed further as the story progresses. Overall, it was a good setup for a series.

Thank you to Netgalley for providing a digital arc to review
Was this review helpful?
Shadow of the Winter Moon is grimdark fantasy at its grimmest. Pages are filled with pain and desperation, excrements and body odour, violence and death. The characters are a collection of downtrodden, decrepit, and desperate. There’s no hope and no bright colours.

I’m not one for grimdark, so this was a struggle for me. I especially despise sexual violence as a plot device, so I almost gave up at the beginning. I also need a clear reason to follow the characters from the start. The book introduces a bunch of them in a rapid succession with no clear indication for why the reader should care or at least take interest. The characters’ worlds are small and filled with pain, and they’re unable to see beyond their immediate needs. It makes it difficult for the reader to form a larger picture too, but what glimpses there are is intriguing.

The ending wasn’t so much a cliff-hanger as an abrupt cut in the narrative. This is the first book in a series, but I still would’ve wished for some sort of conclusion for now. Nevertheless, the book is well-written, language is rich and evocative, and the pace is fast, if uneven, thanks to short chapters. If you’re into brutal grimdark and are looking for a new series, you should give this a try.
Was this review helpful?
In the city of Kraven, terrifying evil lurks in every nook and cranny, waiting to sink its teeth into the skin of freshly acquired victims…

Let me start by saying this: Shadow of the Winter Moon is brutal. Even given that, though, it’s a story that’s executed with skill and care. The moral grayness of the lead characters (especially Sharrock) made them compelling to read about, and the world - while not particularly groundbreaking or innovative as far as the fantasy genre goes - was quite interesting and fit the tale well.

My main critiques rest in the inconsistent pacing, which - after the first 10 chapters or so - made its events difficult to follow until closer to the end. Differentiating between minor characters was also a chore, especially given the constant shift between third-person narrators. In addition, the conclusion came abruptly, leaving much more to be desired (though, for me, this may have worked in the novel’s favor; only time will tell).

Overall, despite its flaws, I had a fun time reading this novel. I came for grimdark fantasy, and that’s exactly what I got; the whole just fell fairly short of the sum of its parts. It’s nothing that can’t be remedied or improved upon in future installments, though, so I’ll do what I can to continue following the Kraven Chronicles.
Was this review helpful?