Official Review: Shadow Pantheon by Eric Nierstedt

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NetMassimo
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Latest Review: Shadow Pantheon by Eric Nierstedt

Official Review: Shadow Pantheon by Eric Nierstedt

Post by NetMassimo »

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Shadow Pantheon" by Eric Nierstedt.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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Shadow Pantheon by Eric Nierstedt is an urban fantasy novel. There are ancient gods living among humans without revealing their real identities. Anubis, Athena, Balder, Coyote, Kali-Ma, still retain some of their powers and use them to do good, even without taking credit for their deeds. That's the deal they made with Yahweh a long time ago. However, an event forced them to act in the open, and that had consequences. More ancient gods are coming back.

Shadow Pantheon is the sequel to Silent Pantheon, which introduced some ancient gods who are living like normal humans. Their life is generally peaceful, but things have changed. More ancient gods believed dead are coming back. Now they have to find them, hoping that they'll accept the deal with Yahweh, otherwise there will be war.

The main theme of the novel is the role ancient gods can have in a world that changed so much throughout the millennia in which Yahweh is by far the most powerful among them. The ancient gods who survived accepting to live like humans had to make hard choices and think about who they are.

Deities are archetypes because they were created by humans' faith that there are gods who heal, teach, bury the dead, and so on, but living like humans means they can do it at a limited scale. Their problem in figuring out their future is not so different from what humans experience. That means the author addresses ethical and moral issues linked to their choices. There's a lot of introspection with the gods dealing with their past and trying to make the best of their present and future. The protagonists have their well-defined personalities, a strong part of the novel.

Note that Yahweh, as the god of the Bible is called in this series, is depicted in an ambiguous way. He doesn't appear directly, but that means that ancient gods must do the dirty work in case of a crisis. The angel Joshua works with the ancient gods who do good, but he's the exception as generally angels are depicted as arrogant. This might upset some believers.

One element of the book I can criticize is the plot's fragmentation. For a good part of the novel, the protagonists are separated, so there are various subplots. The chapters skip from one subplot to another, which sometimes makes it difficult to follow them all.

Despite this flaw, I found Shadow Pantheon very good because it's a great mix of action and introspection in a story that is emotionally engaging and intellectually interesting. However, the book contains several errors, which don't detract from my enjoyment but force me to take a star from my rating, which is 3 out of 4 stars. This novel works on its own, but if you like urban fantasy with gods as its protagonists, I recommend reading both Silent Pantheon and Shadow Pantheon because the first novel is great as well and reading both of them you get the full character development, an important part of this series. I expect a third book because there are still plot elements left open, but the main storyline has an end.

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Massimo

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Post by Josephe-Anne »

Hmm... I must say that this book has an interesting and somewhat controversial concept. It seems odd (and even contradictory) to write a series where the God of the monotheistic religions, such as Christianity and Judaism would be combined with gods from polytheistic religions as in ancient Egyptian and Greek traditions. Now, I am curious to find out how the author explains his unusual fantasy world.

Thank you for a fascinating review.
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NetMassimo
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Post by NetMassimo »

If gods are created by human faith, there can be thousands of them while some people believe that there's only one. Thank you for your appreciation!
Ciao :)
Massimo

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Post by Ellylion »

I absolutely love and appreciate all the novels that include ancient deities :) I would definitely read this one, but I agree that multiple subplots are very tiresome. Thank you for this amazing review!

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Post by NetMassimo »

Ellylion wrote:
22 Sep 2020, 08:38
I absolutely love and appreciate all the novels that include ancient deities :) I would definitely read this one, but I agree that multiple subplots are very tiresome. Thank you for this amazing review!
Luckily not all the novel is fragmented. Thank you for your appreciation!
Ciao :)
Massimo

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Post by Sou Hi »

Oh, a fantasy book where deities from various lands gather together? I like that. But I guess I need the first book to understand the plot. Thanks for your informative review.

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Post by Saint Bruno »

Anubis was doing good too? Now this is a book I don't want to miss reading. I might look past the issues you had with subplots in the book since it wasn't the reason it lost a star. Thanks a lot for this recommendation.

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Post by Dreamer80 »

Excessive subplots is a very good point of criticism, and you presented all the parts of the book very brilliantly. It was an amazing read and seems like the book was a treat for you

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Post by NetMassimo »

Sou Hi wrote:
22 Sep 2020, 11:07
Oh, a fantasy book where deities from various lands gather together? I like that. But I guess I need the first book to understand the plot. Thanks for your informative review.
The first book offers a more complete background for the protagonists' storylines. Thank you for your appreciation.
Ciao :)
Massimo

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NetMassimo
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Post by NetMassimo »

Saint Bruno wrote:
22 Sep 2020, 13:42
Anubis was doing good too? Now this is a book I don't want to miss reading. I might look past the issues you had with subplots in the book since it wasn't the reason it lost a star. Thanks a lot for this recommendation.
I didn't take a star for the subplots because I didn't feel it was such a great problem, concerning the novel's central part. Thank you for your appreciation!
Ciao :)
Massimo

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NetMassimo
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Post by NetMassimo »

Dreamer80 wrote:
22 Sep 2020, 20:51
Excessive subplots is a very good point of criticism, and you presented all the parts of the book very brilliantly. It was an amazing read and seems like the book was a treat for you
Subplots apart, I enjoyed both books a lot. Thank you for your appreciation!
Ciao :)
Massimo

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Post by Olabode Joshua »

Oh, this sounds like fanfiction. "gods" among men? Incredible. This should go down well with fans of myths and legendary tales. Nice review, Netmassimo.
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Post by NetMassimo »

Olabode Joshua wrote:
23 Sep 2020, 08:28
Oh, this sounds like fanfiction. "gods" among men? Incredible. This should go down well with fans of myths and legendary tales. Nice review, Netmassimo.
Fan of mythology for sure. :) Thank you for your appreciation!
Ciao :)
Massimo

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Post by Prisallen »

Gods who live as humans with limited powers sounds like an interesting concept. I think it is a book I would enjoy, although I prefer not to get into a series. Thanks for a great review!

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Post by NetMassimo »

Prisallen wrote:
23 Sep 2020, 14:59
Gods who live as humans with limited powers sounds like an interesting concept. I think it is a book I would enjoy, although I prefer not to get into a series. Thanks for a great review!
The author seems to have decided for a main storyline that's self-contained in each book and other elements that connect the various books, so you can try the first one then decide if you want to go on. Thank you for your appreciation!
Ciao :)
Massimo

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