Quick book-series review: DK Holmberg

I’ve been reading DK Holmberg’s The Risen Shard series. It was recommended to me by my publisher because he thought it was very similar to my own series.  I think he was right, and it’s been good to see how a different author approaches some similar ideas:)

I’m currently on book six.  I’m really enjoying the series. There’s only a few hiccup type things that caught me. The first one is the main charcter’s name. Gavin Borren. It’s normal enough, right? But when you listen to the books, the cadence and sounds are just close enough to Jason Bourne, to be  the tiniest distracting sometimes lol:) Afer a while, my brain got used to it though:)

The only other thing that caught me was in bk5 (I think:).. where Gavin is reluctant to do something (no spoilers). After a while of hearing about his reluctance, it would have been nice to see him try and panic, changing his mind, instead.  And that’s a minor thing– and again, probably stands out more because I’m listening– and binge-reading, rather than spacing it all out;)

Overall, I definitely and highly recommend the series. I like that he has distinct magic systems, where enchanters, sorcerers and El’aras each use magic differently, or have differences in how they can access and shape magic:)


The main character definitely has a series-long development arc, coming to terms with his past and trying to figure out what his mentor’s purpose was in training him to be the renowned fighter and assassin. (very similar to Kirrin’s arc, that way). And the struggle between whether he has been shaped deliberately by someone else, versus the current events that are shaping him. he grows and changes as the series develops, and I expect there will be some culmination and resolution.


The world building is well developed and pretty rich. I like how there are genuine social and political tensions– often based around the use of magic. And there is a deep-history as well, with ancient grudges just below the surface and bubbling up through the cracks. The El’aras (like the faenyr) have very long memories, of a time when they owned the land… and not all of them are happy with the current status quo:).

Each book has its own storyline and it’s rich and unique, rather than rehashing different versions of the main plotline. but they all tie together smoothly.  Also, the secondary characters are fairly well developed, with their own individual arcs that complement the main themes.  I don’t think any of the books pass the bechdel test, but I don’t imagine the author was striving for that so—that’s nothing unusual, especially in the fantasy genre .. so yeah.. stronger female characters that relate to/with each other would be nice but it wasn’t so male-dominated that I put the books down:)  As you can tell:)


I’ll update this as I continue through the series, most likely after I finish it– which shouldn’t be too long at the rate I’ve been reading them:)

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