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Literature / Shadows of the Limelight

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''Shadows of the Limelight'' is a Web Serial Novel by Alexander Wales, set in a fantasy world in which superheroes called illustrati gain literal power from fame. Dominic de Luca, the protagonist, suddenly finds himself with a great deal of fame after he saves the legendary hero Welexi from his nemesis Zerstor. The plot follows Dominic's adventures with Welexi and his other traveling companions, Vidre and Gaelwyn, as they battle illustrati, navigate complex national politics, and accrue renown.


Shadows of the Limelight has a subreddit, which can be found here.

Shadows of the Limelight contains examples of:

  • Absurd Cutting Power: Because sharpness is in the nature of the domain of glass, Vidre can make a dagger so sharp that it can cut a falling hair lengthwise.
  • Action Girl: Vidre is the primary example: she can turn glass into armor and daggers sharp enough to cut a hair lengthwise, and her worldwide fame makes her many times stronger and faster than an ordinary person. Other illustrati, like Ember, may also count.
  • All-Loving Hero: Welexi and his friends deliberately portray him as good and merciful in order to fit him into this archetype.
  • Body Horror: Any of the six bodily domains can cause serious Squick by virtue of being able to manipulate parts of the body with ease. Special mention goes to Gaelwyn's experiments, which earned him the nickname of Red Angel and blackened the reputation of the entire domain of flesh.
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  • Elemental Powers: Many of the domains are elemental powers—the ones that have been revealed so far are water, light, shadow, wood, metal, and sound. There are also more unusual domains, such as glass, rust, flesh, blood, and flowers.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Vidre claims to have reformed, but it's unclear how much she's really changed and how much she and Welexi are playing up that angle for the bards.
  • Innate Night Vision: Dominic has the domain of shadow, which gives him the ability to see clearly in the dark and even sense objects with his eyes closed through their shadows.
  • Red Baron: To facilitate the spread of their fame, many Illustrati purposely create nicknames for themselves. Welexi is known as Sunhawk, Whitespear, or Brightshield, referencing his control over light, Vidre is the Queen of Glass, and Dominic is Lightscour.
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  • Required Secondary Powers: With the powers that they have, a lot of the illustrati would hurt themselves otherwise. Those with the domain of fire aren't burned by flames, and Vidre isn't cut by sharp glass.
  • Technical Pacifist: Gaelwyn doesn't kill, but he is willing to detach every major muscle in a prisoner's body to paralyze them so that they can't escape.
  • The Atoner: Gaelwyn has renounced killing and is attempting to atone for his former actions in the employ of the Iron King. Unfortunately, most people don't believe him.
  • The Queenpin: Corta is one of the top three crime bosses in the city of Gennaro, and her sons work for her, making them a crime family.
  • The Unfavorite: Dominic doesn't appear to have a very good relationship with his father.