|Submitted by Christopher Ware|
(May 15, 2001)
(Shadow War, Book 2)This is the second book in the CHRONICLES OF THE SHADOW WAR (after SHADOW MOON), the sequel trilogy to the movie WILLOW. Being the second book in the series, I was expecting a lot less action and a lot more character development than in the first book. While the character development was definitely there, I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of action and tension that it contained. Chris Claremont takes his 17 years of writing X-MEN and developing those characters and applies that experience here with an expansive brush and colorful palette. Two years have passed since the end of SHADOW MOON and, although we missed out on the maturation of Elora Danan in those two years, this book gives the reader a vivid picture of how she begins to come into her own as a person and begins to discover what it means to be the Sacred Princess. As she and her companions begin to puzzle out who the Deceiver is and what his goals are, we see the little girl we knew in the first book start to become a young woman. By the end of the book, Mr. Claremont has turned her into this fiercely passionate woman who knows what must be done, if not how to accomplish it. Throughout this journey, the author populates the book with vivid and engaging characters. Each one is unique in their personality and in their relationship with Elora. We especially get a good look at Rool and how he relates to Elora without the smothering presence of Franjean. The characters are what drive this portion of the story, although the tension and action is there as well. The battle scenes in this book aren't as grand as in the first book, but they are just as compelling. The sacrifice of friends, the fight against all odds, and the trust shown for those guarding your back, Claremont ties all of these themes into each of the fights that our protagonists encounter. While the majority of the book was character and plot development filled with beautiful and compelling prose, the action scenes in between were gripping and had me turning pages at a hectic rate. Heart pounding action that left you wondering who would live and who would die. My one major problem with this book was the fact that one of the songs that Elora sang was a blatant ripoff of BRAVEHEART. It was so word for word that I'm surprised it got through editing. I'm amazed that I never heard of any lawsuit against Lucasfilm for it. It is that similar. I actually got out my BRAVEHEART DVD and compared the copyright dates...the film preceded the book by two years. Despite this bit of plagiarism, this was a compelling book. Almost better than the first one in terms of readability and reader involvement. I truly cared about the characters in this novel and wanted to see them succeed. A definite must read for any fantasy fan.