Have You Read “In the Shadow of Lightning”? (My Thoughts)

I’m in awe of the level of awesomeness of Brian McClellan’s new fantasy novel, In the Shadow of Lightning. On every level, it’s right up there with the best of Brandon Sanderson’s work (a very high bar).

I’m new to McClellan’s work, and I’m open to trying his previous novels, but this one worked so well for me that I’m almost hesitant to veer from this series (there’s a book 2 in the works). Obviously I’ll avoid spoilers, but here’s the basic premise:

The world relies heavily on glass, and not just for things like windows and mirrors. Glass literally powers the world and the people in it, and some people can even manipulate glass with their minds.

The story jumps around between a few equally compelling characters, each on their own unique adventure that’s closely tied to the others. Demir, once a prodigy who has fallen from grace in the eyes of the world, is a compelling primary protagonist, but Kizzie and Thessa are just as interesting to follow. There are lots of small, character-driven moments in the book, but also quite a few big, memorable set pieces.

My comparison to Sanderson is there both because of the magic system and worldbuilding and because the characters do things that make sense. There are several places in the book where another author may have had the characters do something for the sake of the plot or the mystery, but instead the characters just act like people. I love that.

I would highly recommend In the Shadow of Lightning–5/5 for me, and a great start to the year. Have you read it?

Next up on my Kindle: Tress of the Emerald Sea.

6 thoughts on “Have You Read “In the Shadow of Lightning”? (My Thoughts)”

  1. Did you know that McClellan was one of Sanderson’s former students? I haven’t read In the Shadow of Lightning yet, but I’m looking forward to doing so soon. McClellan’s previous series, Powder Mage and Gods of Blood and Powder are both very good. They are really one big series in two parts, set in the same world, which is a sort of Napoleonic era “flintlock fantasy” setting. They are moderately gritty and very engaging with some very interesting magic systems. I recommend them. Enjoy Tress!

    • I didn’t know that, but it makes perfect sense! Thanks for the recommendations. Would you recommend starting with one of those series over the other?

  2. I was looking for a new book to read recently and got a lot of great recommendations in the Discord. I’m gonna add this one to the queue!


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