Author: A. P. Stephens
Pub Date: April 2012, Fanda Books
Source: Purchased an e-signed copy directly from the author and also received a request to review.
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
A monumental tragedy has befallen the Clan of Ionor, an ancient brotherhood of elven warriors. Concerned when their Master does not reach his secretive business in a distant kingdom, the Elders learn that Tryn, their beloved leader, has been captured by a cutthroat gang of bandits known as the Steel Claw. Yet this is not the darkest of their tidings. The relic under the clan's safekeeping, a weapon of terrible power that was forged by the gods themselves, is also missing. The Ionor dispatch Eonen, a headstrong Elder, and a young and talented apprentice, Tride, to rescue the Master and the relic by infiltrating the bandits' stronghold-the formidable Fortress of Toppledom. As the two determined elves hasten into the unknown beyond their borders to restore balance and honor to their clan, they encounter the true darkness behind the matter-the very origin of the world's evil. Allegiances will be twisted. The fates of many will be set into motion. And the destiny of one will be realized.
My first thought when I started reading this book was that it has been WAY too long since I listened to The Stolen Moon of Londor, which I reviewed at the end of 2009. Now, you absolutely don't have to have read the other books in The White Shadow Saga to enjoy this "supernovella." Personally, I think I am due for a re-read and I'd really like to continue with the second book in the series, Shameless Wonders.
With this "supernovella," as Stephens has termed it, he has managed to pack quite a punch in approximately 238 pages on my Nook (the paperback is 254 pages). In this epic fantasy, there is as much action and adventure as you will see in many full-length novels. That said, there is not as much world-building as I might like and a few of the characters could have used some more backstories and development. In the end, the actual adventure and story help to make up for those missing elements. After all, this is not intended to be a full-length novel, so it is to be expected that every last little detail can't possibly be crammed into the story. Amazingly, Stephens is able to work in some great twists that I did not see coming.
As with The Stolen Moon of Londor, Stephens has again given us a varied cast of characters. While I did think some of them were one-dimensional, Stephens was able to do justice to the two focal characters, Tride and Eonen. However, when it comes to their enemies, we really don't learn as much about how and why they became who they are, with perhaps one exception, but if I share who that is, it would be a spoiler and I do try to keep these reviews spoiler-free.
One thing I did notice when reading this book that I might have perhaps missed when listening to the audio of The Stolen Moon of Londor: some passages can become very wordy. Granted, some of the best works of epic fantasy are very lengthy and wordy, in order to create the worlds and characters we are reading about. My comment regarding the wordiness is meant to be an observation rather than a criticism and it may be worth noting for those of you less familiar with epic fantasy books.
Bottom line: Of Thieves and Elves is a great addition to The White Shadow Saga. I often (almost always, in fact) find novellas to be pointless fluff. This is absolutely NOT the case with this book. Regardless of whether or not you've read any of Stephens' other books, if you enjoy epic fantasy, I believe you'll enjoy this chapter in the story of Londor and it will leave you wanting to read the rest of the series.