This is the second book in the Raven’s Shadow series. There is need to worry about the follow up not being as good as the first book- I think it’s even better. The first book in this series was from Vaelin’s perspective. In this book Anthony Ryan tried to pull off a George RR Martin and write chapters dedicated to different characters perspective. Even with the typical end of chapter cliff hanger…well, George needs to take a lesson, because this is how it should be done! All interesting perspectives, great writing, superb action (this book is constant battles) and a pace that just doesn’t stop. I give this book 5 stars.
Here’s a breakdown…
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What is this book about?
Vaelin has been freed to return to the Realm, where he is appointed Tower Lord by King Malcius (because Janus has died). Along his way to his new home, he picks up his sister and Reva, who is the daughter of the Trueblade (who Barkus kills in the first book). Reva ends up going to Alltor, where her Uncle is Fief Lord (after his brother- Trueblade dies).
We find that Frentis was captured after the Empire re-took their three port cities and enslaves because of the scars that were given to him by One Eye in the first book. Frentis was picked up by a woman who uses him to kill people on her list – including King Malcius, his wife and his two kids. This is the beginning of a Volarian take over of the Realm. The capital city burns- along with Lyrna (the now queen), who is captured and being returned to Volara as a slave. The only good to happen from this is that Frentis is finally freed from the woman’s control and he goes on a mission to kill as many of the Volarians as possible. Along the way he finds that Master Graelin is the Aspect of the seventh order. We leave him with Master Sollis.
The book all builds towards the Volarian attempted capture of Alltor. Reva is in the city (with her uncle, who dies and leaves Reva as the Lady Governess), Vaelin is on his way and picks up help from the Seordah Sil, who not only allow his army through their forest, but they fight with him in Alltor. Lyrna escapes the Volarian slave ship and is picked up by a Meldenean ship and convinces them to come into battle with her (re-instating their champion The Shield who was shunned after Vaelin beats him in the first book).
The real enemy are these three spirits that can take over bodies of the gifted when they are close to death. Now that the Realm has recaptured Alltor, I’m waiting to see if the next book will be about the taking back of the capital and the defeat of these spirits.
What did I think about this book?
I was worried that I wouldn’t like to read any chapters except Vaelin’s- I mean, he is the hero, and he is awesome. But I found myself loving the other perspectives as well, Reva, Lyrna and Frentis. I would have to say Lyrna’s was especially intriguing, because it gave you a new perspective on this elusive character. In the first book we only know Vaelin is wary of her, so we are too, this time, we see her motivations and her true intentions.
I really enjoyed the perspective of war, it wasn’t glorious, it wasn’t clean, the good guys die. You really understand why Vaelin hates it.
I’m worried about Frentis and how Lynra is going to react because he killed her brother- but she didn’t know he was under someone else’s control. I don’t want any miscommunications to kill Frentis. Although I hope he isn’t really in love with his captor.
I loved Lyrna’s snappy response to the traitor Lord Darnel after he suggests to challenge Vaelin “It is my fervent hope, my lord, that you make such a challenge. Then I’ll be able to choose my tribute from whatever remains of you.”
What is up between Lyrna / Davoka and The Shield- possible love triangle?
Note to self: Re-read book 1 and 2 before book 3 comes out…it’ll be worth it.