Jackson Blackwell has worked long and hard to become famed Shadow Master, villain of villains. He is the most villainous of all not because he is cruel and crushes peasants under his boot. Rather he travels through dimensions, profiting off of other villains. He's made quite the name and career for himself. So when he is betrayed and left with minimal power in a fantasy realm, it catches him a bit off guard. Now he must (shudder) gather the heroes of the realm and get his power back.
I had so much fun reading this book. I cannot tell you the number of times I almost laughed out loud. More than that, though, because Jackson is a top tier villain, he is incredibly intelligent and intriguing to read of. We are fortunate to get to read the book from his perspective and, I have to say, he makes for a great narrator. Especially in his more human moments. That being said, he is still a villain who knows the angles to play for the most profit for himself. Several of his actions I wouldn't have agreed with, but he has no scruples about using them himself. After all, a true great villain knows how to abuse the rules to their fullest extent.
Another benefit of reading all of this from Jackson's perspective is, when he never sees something coming, neither do we. This book genuinely kept me surprised and intrigued. Because Jackson is such an intelligent character he picked up on a lot of stuff other characters wouldn't. This led me to not question his assumptions the more I read. So when he was caught off guard it was genuine and exciting.
The rest of the cast of characters is delightfully well rounded. Jackson finds heroes who have their own "sins" from their pasts. Except for Carina. Her only "crime" was being a female half-breed in a group of elite, and elitist, male warriors. Everyone else Jackson is able to discern some sin or bad deed. He actually spoke out against the entire Elven race as the xenophobic, technophobic, stifling creatures they are. Then again, there are characters like Lydia that don't bother to hide who they are. I never would've thought she'd be into using knives for bondage play.
Also, fair warning for any fantasy fans who read this, be prepared to have the genre made fun of. A lot. Several of Jackson's comments revolve around the wish for air condition or even basic indoor plumbing.
Really my only complaint about this book is the number of grammatical errors. I counted seven, though I know that doesn't cover all of them. And this may not seem like a lot, but when you read something like "I felt bone piece my heart" it's gonna throw you out of the book a bit.
That being said, I still loved this book. I'm actually planning on listening to the audio sample and, if I like it, buying that to listen to at work. I rarely buy audio-books, so that should tell you something about how much I enjoyed this story. I happily give 4.5 hoots and encourage you to pick up a copy!