Blog Tour: The First of Shadows by Deck Matthews (@varkaschronicle)

Hi Blisses,

I’m back for another blog tour featuring The First of Shadows by Deck Matthews hosted by Dave who most of us know by his twitter handle, @The_WriteReads. I actually read this book few months ago but I thought it won’t hurt to join the blog tour.


TITLE: The First of Shadows
BY: Deck Matthews
SERIES: The Riven Realm #1
GENRE: Fantasy


How do you kill a shadow?

As a raging storm descends on the Blasted Coast, the crippled young rigger, Caleb Rusk, meets a stranger on the road. Little does he know that the encounter will pull him into a conflict that threatens everything he holds dear—and change the course of his life forever.

Meanwhile, in the Capital of Taralius, a string of inexplicable deaths have captured the attention of the Ember Throne. Second Corporal Avendor Tarcoth is tasked with uncovering the truth behind a danger that could threaten the very fabric of the Realm.


The First of Shadows opens with an intense fighting scene that really hooked me into the story. Sure, I was a bit confused because at first I wasn’t sure where the figure of speech ends and the literal starts. That said, the writing devices the author used all throughout the book are incredible which I, as an aspiring author, both envy and admire. I can’t help it, okay? Anyway, the beginning is one of the most intense and amazing beginnings I’ve ever read.

The story then goes on with three story lines told by three different main characters which, of course, are connected in some ways. But individually, each of them is interesting. There’s Shem, a drifter, who’s magic is as mysterious as his identity. Then there’s Caleb, a crippled young man whose life changes after helping a stranger. He’s also a rigger. And finally, there’s Tiberius, a blind mage who’ve been in search for rare forms of magic. These three alone are compelling enough but The First of Shadows introduces more interesting characters such as Tanner and Red (not her real name but I liked it better.)

I’m really excited to find out the secrets of the characters’ identities and most of all, what will happen once they meet and all the dots connect.

The fictional world is not that hard to figure out. In fact, it reminds me of those fictional worlds in most high fantasy books. But the author added something I don’t usually see in a traditional fantasy setting – airships. As already mentioned, Caleb is a rigger. So that bit addition to what’s supposedly a traditional setting is very refreshing.

The magic system is still not crystal clear to me and I’ll explain later why. But from everything I already know, I can say the magic system will be one of my favorite elements in this series. Obviously, there are dangerous magic. There are also magic that can be worn and passed through generation and it was really exciting when Caleb came to possess this kind of magic. There are also demons and shadows. One thing I find really fascinating is people having totems. In this book, so far, the totems are in forms of animals. I’m pretty sure anyone who likes fantasy loves animals sidekick. Caleb has one, an owl named Azental. Tanner also have a wolf. I’m looking forward to more interactions between the main characters and their totems.

Finally, my only issue. This is only a novella. Too short. Sure this is just an introduction to the whole series but I can’t help but wish this is full-length. I would’ve been willing to spend all night to read it because that’s what I do. Also, the length caused some of the elements of the story to be lacking. First the pace…We all love fast-paced and this one is fast-paced for sure but it seems like there’s not enough build-up in the plot. The lengths of the scenes are okay but I feel like there should be additional scenes between the scenes to prolong the tension.

And of course, if this is longer I should’ve known more about the world and magic system or even the characters. The characters are compelling enough and it’s easy to root for them but I’m not yet familiar with their deepest desires.

RATING: 4 blissful pages with lilies

I have issues about its length but I know this is a novella and this is expected. I’m not really complaining. I’m merely letting the future readers know what to expect. And overall, I highly recommend reading The First of Shadows.





Deck Matthews is a pseudonym for one particular Matthew Ward. He is a life-long reader who fell in love with writing and fantasy in middle school. He remains an avid reader, a casual gamer and a dabbler in the visual arts. He has worked as a designer and currently spends his days neck-deep in code as a front-end web developer.

He also holds a Master’s degree in English Literature and currently resides in Ottawa, Canada with his wife, two daughters and one little fluff ball of a dog named Wicket.

You can follow him on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Author Links:


Have you read this book? Or planning to? What do you think of it? Let’s chat.


3 thoughts on “Blog Tour: The First of Shadows by Deck Matthews (@varkaschronicle)

  1. Pingback: Herding Cats
  2. Great review Lili, I had the same issues about this book and I hope that we will get more from the next book in the series, I am very interested by the magic system though, it seems really unique and great!


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