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I Belong

Review: Shadowcaster by Cinda Williams Chima

Title: Shadowcaster

Author: Cinda Williams Chima

Genre: YA Fantasy

Series: Shattered Realms (Book #2)

Publication Date: April 4, 2017

Format: Hardcover, 551 Pages

ISBN-10: 0062380974 (HarperTeen)

ISBN-13: 978-0062380975 (HarperTeen)

Reviewed by: Tara


A lifelong war.

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.

A life in peril.

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.

The shadow of defeat.

Quick & Dirty: A wonderful sequel to Flamecaster that features a new cast of characters that you’ll love even more.

Opening SentenceLyss’s feathered fly sparkled in the sunlight before it dropped lightly onto the thrashing surface of Weeping Creek.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

When I first started this book, I kept looking for the characters from Flamecaster to appear. However, the events in Shadowcaster happen during a mostly similar time frame as Flamecaster. It felt somewhat like reading Game of Thrones would be if George R.R. Martin had decided to tell the story of each location or set of characters in different books rather than having a somewhat linear timeline throughout the books. Once I realized that Shadowcaster was about an entirely new set of characters and took place at the same time as Flamecaster, I started to enjoy it a lot more. And then I ended up liking it even more than Flamecaster.

This book begins with Lyss, or Alyssa ana’Raisa, the warrior princess heir to the Grey Wolf throne of the Fells. I loved the contrast between how comfortable she was on the battlefield as a captain and how uncomfortable she was when she needed to be a princess at court. She was a character that I immediately fell in love with. Lyss seemed so relatable, despite the extraordinary circumstances she was in. I also developed a great respect for how tough she was in general. Additionally, I liked that Cinda Williams Chima didn’t skimp on stressing how much physical training Lyss had put herself through in order to get to where she was a fighter. I loved how so many of her personal relationships were based on trust, respect, and love (even if it did make some scenes somewhat heartbreaking).

The other main character was Halston Matelon. Like Lyss, he was mentioned briefly in the first book. While I wish he had a little bit more background, I adored him. He first encounters Lyss on the battlefield and then later again in the book when she takes him hostage. I loved how the relationship between Halston and Lyss developed so naturally over time as they both came to appreciate and understand the other. The depth of their relationship stood out in sharp contrast to the insta-love (and lust) that had developed between Ash and Jenna in Flamecaster. There were some other very interesting characters

The plot moved along pretty fast and was fully of action sequences. Despite the fast pace, I was easily able to understand the politics and battles going on. It was interesting to see first-hand the impact the war had on the Fells. I don’t want to give away any spoilers but a few characters from the previous book show up again and I loved seeing them. I was still left with some questions regarding certain mysteries and am really hoping that we’ll finally get answers in Stormcaster, the next book in the series, because I am incredibly curious now.

While you could read this one as a standalone, I would highly recommend at least reading the first in this series. If you’re like me, you’ll finish these two and then want to immediately go back and read The Heir Chronicles and the Seven Realms series. I would recommend this book and series to those who enjoy young adult fantasy with wonderful character dynamics.

Notable Scene:

It was blue. Captain’s blue.

“I know you don’t stand on ceremony, Captain Gray,” Dunedain said, grinning, “so you won’t be disappointed by a field promotion. This salvo needs a new commander, and I’ve chosen you.”

Lyss stood clutching it. “But . . . Littlefield and—and Mason . . . they’ve got a lot more experience than I have, and—”

“I don’t want the job,” Littlefield said. “Blue clashes with my eyes.”

“And I can’t count high enough to be a captain,” Mason said.

Shadow took the scarf from Lyss and knotted it around her neck. “It’s you, Captain Gray. Deal with it. And when we get to town, you’re buying.”

“You’re the one getting married,” Lyss said. “You’re buying.

Shattered Realms Series:

1. Flamecaster

2. Shadowcaster

3. Stormcaster (TBA 2018)


FTC Advisory: HarperTeen provided me with a copy of Shadowcaster. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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One Response to “Review: Shadowcaster by Cinda Williams Chima

  1. Penny OlsonNo Gravatar

    Such a striking cover. The series sounds great. Thanks.

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