Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Shadowcaster by Cinda Williams Chima

Title: Shadowcaster (Shattered Realms #2)
Author: Cinda Williams Chima
Genre: Young Adult, High Fantasy
Source: HarperTeen via Edelweiss

Alyssa ana'Raisa is the reluctant princess heir to the Gray Wolf throne of Fells, a queendom embroiled in a seemingly endless war. Hardened by too many losses, Lyss is more comfortable striking with a sword than maneuvering at court. After a brush with death, she goes on the offensive, meaning to end the war that has raged her whole life. If her gamble doesn't pay off, she could lose her queendom before she even ascends to the throne.

Across enemy lines in Arden, young rising star Captain Halston Matelon has been fighting for his king since he was a lýtling. Lately, though, he finds himself sent on ever more dangerous assignments. Between the terrifying rumors of witches and wolfish warriors to the north and his cruel king at home, Hal is caught in an impossible game of life and death.

Set in the world of the acclaimed Seven Realms series, this is a thrilling story of the unfathomable costs of war, the allure of dark magic, and two principled and conflicted characters, drawn together despite everything they stand to lose.
Review by Nara

Shadowcaster is book two in the Shattered Realms series and focuses on two new characters in the excellent world that Chima has built. I have to admit, I didn't mind that it swapped to new characters because I've liked many of the characters that she has created and expected that she would do a good job with these new ones too.

I'm amazed at how Chima is able to bring together the various points of view in an interesting way. While there are the two main POV characters, Lyss and Hal, there were also chapters from various other characters which were interesting enough not to drag the overall pace of the novel down. When she combines the plotlines together, it's not always in ways that you might expect. The plot in general is also actually quite compelling and it's difficult to put the book down once you get started because there's lots of action.

Lyss is such a fantastic character. She doesn't conform to the typical image that comes to mind when the word "princess" is stated, which fits nicely with the overall themes of the novel with the focus on war and the politics of war. There is a lot of action and fighting throughout focusing on Lyss, and it was certainly refreshing to see a character like her as a YA protagonist. Hal was a bit more typical in terms of the conflicted soldier (who isn't sure if he's on the "good" side), but his character was developed well enough that this didn't matter so much.

As I said in my review of Flamecaster, I would definitely recommend reading the Seven Realms series before reading this series just because you'll have a better idea of the world and the characters. You don't necessarily need to as there is no assumed knowledge, but certain characters will be familiar to you if you've read Chima's first series. Besides, the Seven Realms series is amazing and you should probably read it anyway.

Overall: 9/10
Plot: 5/5
Romance: 4/5
Writing: 5/5
World Building: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
Cover: 5/5