Review: The Shadows of Dust

The Shadows of Dust
By Alec Hutson

The Streams bind together the vast reaches of the stellar tributary, plied by brave streamsurfers and their telepathic starbeasts. Some of these adventurers are heroes. Some are rogues. And some just want to return from the void with their bodies and minds unbroken…

Kerin thon Talisien is the heir to a legendary name. When he was a young boy, his grandfather swooped down from the stars and rescued him from the slums of his homeworld. But with the death of the infamous old streamsurfer, Kerin and his crew have fallen on hard times, exiled from the Starfarers Guild and forced to take on risky contracts in the shadowy margins of the stellar tributary. A strange encounter in a glimmer den offers a chance at redemption and glory… but the stakes are high, with the fate of the Known potentially hanging in the balance.

467 pages
Published by the Author
Published on January 3, 2021
Author’s webpage
Buy the book.

I purchased this book.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I order this book. I had loved Hutson’s The Raveling trilogy, and I was really, really, keen to get my hands on the sequel trilogy – The Shadows of Dust is not the first book in the sequel trilogy (still a WIP at this stage I believe) – but it was a novel by Alec Hutson, so it automatically goes on my insta-buys list.

I’d heard some good things about it and read that it is not a straight fantasy but more a space fantasy, a la Roger Zelazny’s Amber series. Once I was very much a purist, I have found I am becoming less so these days, so I figured what the hell? It is a Hutson book; I’ll give it a go.

It took me a while to get around to trying it – but once I did, I couldn’t put it down.

This book is fantastic, and I didn’t want it to end.

Anyone who’s read my reviews before will note that I tend to wax lyrical about world-building. Give me a book that has a setting I want to know everything about, a stage on which I would devour any book set upon, and you have won me over. In this novel, in this world/universe, Hutson has done just that.

All the things I dig about epic fantasy, magic, battles, a vast canvas of history and politics, intrigue, (alien) cultures and religions, is all here. In spades. And without info dumps detracting from the essence of the story, or the characters you are journeying with.

As with characters in The Raveling, the cast of The Shadows of Dust is easy to connect with and invest in. One of the best is Drifter, the starfaring, sentient, space turtle who serves as both bonded friend and ‘spaceship’ to Kerin thon Taliesin, the flawed but relatable hero of the story.

I adored this book, and I cannot wait for more stories set in this universe with Kerin, Drifter and crew. In fact, I am not sure now if I want the next book Hutson writes to be the sequel to The Raveling or if I want another Streams novel instead. But whatever Hutson’s next book is I will be sure to read it asap.

If you are not reading Alec Hutson, you are missing out.

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