Another book review. Another book. Legends of Light. Hope’s done it again.

My friend, Hope Ann, just released another novella. It’s the fourth in her Legends of Light series and it’s called The Stealthmaster’s Shadow. Like the rest of the series, it can stand alone, and it is loosely fairytale based. This time Hope used Twelve Dancing Princesses, and her take is like none other I have seen.

Every Legends of Light book introduces a new element. In The Stealthmaster’s Shadow, we meet… the Stealthmasters. Professional investigators and spies, enemies of Tauscher. They seek to end the unrest that has the Prince left behind when he disappeared. Their role is defined by no one.

The main character is Verus, jaded, sarcastic, and surprisingly heroic. Hope is good at writing that sort of character, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading his story. Even if he as a character does not want us to hear it.

There’s some dancing, a ‘princess’, but certainly not twelve of them. Which is probably for the best. Twelve can be excessive, and certainly is for a novella. For those who don’t know the original story, it is a king with twelve daughters who sneak away to dance every night, and wear out their slippers. The king offers the hand of one of the daughters in marriage to anyone who can find out what is going on. But if after three nights the person hasn’t succeeded, they are put to death. (Why?) Many princes have tried and died, before a soldier comes along and tries his luck. Due good advice, he is able to avoid falling asleep, follows them, and brings back evidence of what they’ve been up to. It ends with him marrying the oldest princess because he himself isn’t very young.

In The Stealthmaster’s Shadow, Verus takes over an investigation from another Stealthmaster, whom he has an intense dislike for, and has a few days to find a group of Subverters. At least the governor said they were subverters. And that’s about all he said. Not what they are accused of, or anything that they have done. Just rumours that they exists.The governor ┬áis not very helpful. With some reason. Verus did mess up his plans, and he can be irritating to deal with.

A short way into the story, another significant character appears. Adreana, also called ‘Princess’. She knows things. And she seems to enjoy teasing Verus with what she knows. Pitting he skills against his is fun for her. And she’s close to succeeding. Verus is just a tiny bit too capable for her liking. Which is all for the best, as he’s more inclined towards her side than that of Osvaldus, the governor. Especially when he finds out exactly what kind of rebels they are. And I won’t say much more because I don’t want spoilers. It’s not the biggest spoiler, but it is a bit of one.

The book had one little thing that rather annoyed me. Verus had a brother named Evander which is far too similar to Evrard for my liking. Evrard is the Wingmaster from Song of the Sword, and makes a cameo here. Anyway, when I saw the name Evander, I kept thinking of the wrong person. There’s another Evander is some of book I’ve read. I forget what, but it’s there.

All in all, The Stealthmaster’s Shadow is an excellent continuation of the series, and shows the dynamic that has developed in the world since the departure of the Prince. It’s also a fun, and thoughtful read on it’s own. And hard to review adequately without giving spoilers.

You can add The Stealthmaster’s Shadow to your To-Read list on Goodreads, or buy it now on Amazon.

(By the way, I have no idea why WordPress is doing the Amazon link thing. I probably should know what my own website is doing, but this was unexpected to me. And rather convenient, so I’m not trying to get rid of it.)