|Submitted by Christopher Ware|
(May 15, 2001)
(Shadow War, Book 1)I've read some of the reviews for this book and a lot of people seem confused. Some of the reviewers were complaining that this book just stopped without a "true" ending. I want to make clear that this is the first book of a trilogy. The second thing that struck me as odd is the fact that some reviewers are saying that Lucas and Claremont should have left well enough alone and not butchered the "original" book, WILLOW by Wayland Drew. Let me just say that Drew's book was just an adaptation of the film from the screenplay (which was, in turn, based on Lucas' story idea, just as this and the two following books, SHADOW DAWN and SHADOW STAR, are). Now, on to the review of the book. I was amazed at how well Chris Claremont's writing style adapts to fantasy writing. His prose is beautifully crafted and his descriptions and characterizations are both vivid and forceful. His descriptions of being aboard a ship on a storm tossed sea had me feeling as if I was actually on the boat. His characters were all varied and had unique motivations (although, by the end of this book, we are not at all sure of what some of these are). Some people have commented that Willow (now called Thorn Drumheller) and the brownies, Rool and Franjean, don't even act like they did in the movie. Well, there is a very good explanation for this: this book takes place 13 years after the movie. They have survived a cataclysm of unimaginable proportions and have lived in a dark and dreary world for those years. Anyone living in those conditions would undergo a personality change. Not to mention the fact that Thorn hasn't seen his family in 12 years. Lucas came up with a classic fantasy story with a unique twist. A dark and ugly evil is upon the land. However, unlike most fantasy novels where it is well known (at least to the protagonist) who he must fight in order to defeat this evil, the characters in this book have no idea who or what is causing all of the trouble in the world. This provides a unique challenge for the heroes of the book. Not only do they have to defeat the being responsible, but they have to figure out who and where this person is. It makes for very enjoyable reading because you are just as in the dark as the characters are. I applaud Lucas and Claremont on the fine job they did in crafting this book. I found it nearly impossible to put down. I only have two complaints about it. The first is the fact that the first chapter takes place only a year after the end of the movie. However, once we're through there, we get thrown 12 years into the future. We are given these characters as they are and the reasons for their personality changes are not clearly explained until later in the book. What has happened to the world? What has happened during that time? These things are not explained right away. It makes the reading a little frustrating. Second, Claremont sometimes lets his descriptions get away from him and they begin to take on a life all their own. Once a description of a scene becomes too long, it begins to lose both its meaning and its effectiveness. Other than that, I thought this book was really well done.