Wednesday, November 11, 2015

A Vanishing Glow


About the Author:
(Taken from Goodreads)

Alexis Radcliff is an author, gamer, unashamed geek, and history junkie who spent the better part of a decade working in tech before dedicating herself to her first love, literature. A VANISHING GLOW, her debut novel, is the opening book in her MYSTECH ARCANUM series, an exciting blend of steampunk and flintlock fantasy with mature themes.

Alexis lives and works in the Portland area with her adorable (if surly) cat and her equally adorable husband. When not writing, she spends her time reading, running, playing way too many videogames, and thinking too much about everything.

Even more of her writing can be found at her blog,, and if you don't have enough sources of cat pictures and random fun in your life, you can follow her on Twitter (where she also spends too much time).


When the High Sovereign of the five kingdoms of Ghavarim is murdered by a mysterious assassin, the realm is plunged into chaos. Jason Tern, a noble captain with a tragic past, must battle shadowy assailants and untangle an ever-widening web of lies to discover the true identity of the killer before mounting tensions spark a bloody civil war.

Meanwhile, Nilya Valsu, a talented army engineer with a broken heart, finds herself used as an unwitting pawn in a plot that has deadly consequences. Wracked by guilt, her sole chance for redemption lies with a man who would loathe her – but only if he knew her secret.

As the conflict intensifies between the magic-fueled technology of the West and the disaffected rebels of the East, all must fight for what they hold dear. Who will reign victorious and who will lie bloodied on the ground in the light of a vanishing glow?


A Vanishing Glow is a pretty compelling read.  The main, main characters (the two that are followed throughout the majority of the novels) are pretty well-crafted and compelling.

Jason is a soldier who is more comfortable with a weapon than in high society, but when his life-long friend, Nole, request that Jason takes a seat on the council, he decides to do just that.  The relationship between the two was set up really well from the beginning.  I could see Jason's level of comfort lower when with Nole is around.  From the beginning, I could tell that characterization was the strong point of the author.  I don't mean to take away from her writing, because that's strong, too, but her ability to craft characters is beyond good.

The next character I consider to be main is Nilya.  She is a sapper, but desperately wants to become a weapons engineer.  Her introduction has her frantically working on a device that could help make her dreams come true.

With both introductions, I found Nilya's more compelling.  She was working towards a goal, and the audience saw it from the very beginning.  Later on in the book, I found myself a little less interesting in what she was doing and way more fascinated by Jason and his search for a killer.  I think this is the first issue I really had with the story.  The balance was just a bit off with the plot, and there were too many lolls with either one character or the other.

Also, there was a missed opportunity in this volume, I think.  A lot of time was spent setting up the social dynamic between people and constructs, but when a character suddenly finds himself/herself as one, this dynamic is not fully realized.  I'm pretty sure this is going to be further explored in the next book, but it would have been nice to start that thread here.

Overall, there were things I loved and things I didn't, which brought me to a four star.  I'll definitely be reading the next book, if for no other reason than to see how our construct handles his/her new form.

Buy your copy on Amazon.

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