Saturday, 15 January 2011

The Crowded Shadows (Moorehawke Trilogy - Book 2)

The Crowded ShadowsTitle: The Crowded Shadows
Author: Celine Kiernan
Series: Moorehawke Trilogy
Preceeded By: The Poison Throne
Succeeded By: The Rebel Prince


Score: 5/10
How likely I am to read the next in the Series: Probable


This book was much better than I was expecting. In some ways. In other ways, I felt let down. In general, everything about it was unexpected.

Starting with some of the good things, after the first hundred or so pages, I couldn't put the book down. The action of following the wolves, followed by the fascinating cultures and rituals of the Merron people were just two of the areas where Kiernan excelled in her storytelling. The depth of it was so real, that I have to wonder if they are based off a real people, although in some ways I hope not.

There are some less good points however; If you've read my review of "The Poison Throne", you'll have seen that one of the problems I had with the previous book was that it all happened in the same place. There was rarely any change in scenery. And it's similar here. It all takes place within a forest. Presumambly it's big, because there are several large camps which don't seem to see each other, but it's still the same forest. The lack of change gives the story a slower pace, and It FELT like the novel must have taken place over the course of a year (Although guessing from the speed of healing injuries and suchlike, I would guess it was actually far less than that).

A couple of minor things were that Wynter met up with Chistopher and Razi very quickly, despite leaving a while behind them. The Merron kept speaking their own language, and a lot of the time it went untranslated. There was a list of translations at the back, but it's labelled Glossary, which meant I didn't know about it (assuming it was explaining single word meanings rather than translating whole sentences).

Throughout the whole of the first two books we get drawn into the conspiracy of Razi's brother. The first one makes us wonder where he is, and why he left, but this second book makes us question what he's doing, and it's a question I look very much forward to seeing answered.

I enjoyed this book more than the first one, and while not a lot actually happened in it, I enjoyed the scenes with the Merron. There are a few things that could be improved on, but Kiernan writes her people well, from major characters to minority groups. I look forwards to seeing what happens in the third and final book.

More Information

Main Protagonist(s): Female + male secondary protagonists
Main Antagonist(s): Unclear, but male
Main Relationships: Heterosexual
Genre: Historical Fantasy Brief Synopsis  (O'Brien Press):

Wynter Moorehawke travels alone and unprotected in bandit-infested forests, searching for the rebel Prince Alberon. But many enemies are lurking in the shadows. It seems that every tyrant and zealot who has ever threatened the Kingdom is sending emissaries to meet Alberon. Wynter becomes increasingly nervous of the prince’s intentions.

She is overjoyed when Razi and Christopher re-appear, but where old friends go, old enemies soon follow and Wynter finds herself confronted with the infamous Wolves – the Loups-Garous. It is to Christopher’s adopted people, the Merron, that Wynter and Razi must now turn for sanctuary. But the Merron have sided with their mortal enemy, Marguerite Shirken. What is behind these strange alliances and is Alberon at the centre of it all?

ISBN: 978-1-84149-822-5
Website: The Crowded Shadows
Amazon Link: US Site UK Site
Price: £8.99
Pages: 512
First Published: 2009 by O'Brien Press
Publisher: Orbit

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