Thursday, December 2, 2010


Shadowplay by Tad Williams
Penguin Group, 2007
Hardcover , 672 pages
Shadowmarch Series #2
ISBN-13: 9780756403584

With their father and brother taken from them, the royal Eddon twins Barrick and Briony have done their best to hold the kingdom together. But now Barrick has been captured in a failed war against the immortal Twilight People and Briony has been forced to flee the castle. Old magics are stirring beneath the ancient castle and behind the Shadowline, and the machinations of gods, fairies, and mortals threaten to spread devastation across the entire world.
My Thoughts:

Tad Williams' Shadowplay is the second book in a series of four volumes of the Shadowmarch series. Since Williams considers his huge multi-volume series as one long book published in separate volumes, keep in mind that in reality I'm right in the middle of the story. Actually, things were really left hanging so I am a bit anxious to get onto the third book, Shadowrise.

I am pleased to mention that of the twins, Briony is becoming less annoying and Barrick more tolerable. The other numerous characters, plots and subplots all remain quite engaging. I enjoyed Shadowplay more than Shadowmarch, but Shadowmarch does fulfill it's main purpose - to set the foundation of the huge, complex world and story lines.

Williams' really does excel at creating complex worlds with multiple characters and story lines. In Shadowplay I found all the different stories equally appealing, which always bodes well for a series of this size. I also think that much of the pleasure for me is that I enjoy Williams' style of writing. I'm looking forward to seeing how everything is explained and resolved in the end.
Highly Recommended - (It's hard to give a final assessment until I finish the series.)


The throne hall was also oddly quiet - tomb-silent, as though the immense old building had been holding its breath while it listened to the whispering voices in the pantry. pg. 7

It was a terrible dream. The young poet Matt Tinwright was declaiming a funeral ode for Barrick, full of high-flown nonsense about the loving arms of Kernios and the warm embrace of the earth, but Briony watched in horror as her twin brother’s casket rocked and shook. Something inside was struggling to escape, and the old jester Puzzle was doing his best to hold down the lid, clinging with all the strength of his scrawny arms as the lid creaked and the box shuddered beneath him. pg. 11

The memory of Hendon Tolly’s mocking face came to her with a stab of cold fury, his amusement at her helplessness as he told her how he was going to steal her family’s throne. You may not be the only one responsible for what’s happened to our family, you Summerfield scum, but you’re the one I know, the one I can reach. In that moment she felt as chill and hard as the stones of the bay. Not tonight—but someday. And when that day comes, I’ll take the heart out of you the way you’ve taken mine. Only yours won’t be beating when I’m done. pg. 15

It was as though only part of the prince were truly present, as though he were living deep inside his own body like an ailing man in a huge house. pg. 26

...and it was the time of nigh when strange things were said, things that were sometimes difficult to forget, although most folk did heir best. pg. 28

His wife was aware of the weapon her tongue could be, and since that strange and terrible time a tennight gone, she had never once blamed him. Perhaps I am the only one blaming me, he thought, perhaps that is what the dream means. pg. 39

There is more afoot here and in the world outside than simply a struggle for the throne of the March Kingdom. pg. 48

Many of your race and many of mine will die, little sunlander. There was no mistaking the grim certainty of the silent words. At the very least, every human remaining in that castle of yours, and likely countless more - of both of our kinds. I have been asked to outrun doom. pg. 191

He laughed, but not confidently. She had wit. He wasn't certain how he felt about that. He didn't generally get on very well with women of that sort. On those occasions when he received compliments he wanted to be sure he understood them and that they were sincere. Still, there was something about her that pulled at him, just like he flame-loving moth he had so often cited in his poetry. So this is what it felt like! All poets should be forced to feel all the things they wrote about, Tinwright decided. It was a most novel way to understand the figures of poetry. It might change he craft entirely. pg. 205


Suko said...

Lovely, thoughtful review, Lori. I enjoyed reading your thoughts and the quotes you chose are excellent as well. I also enjoy the fact that you have John Updike's Six Rules for Reviewing books on the side of your blog. I remember reading them not too long ago, and thinking that they were quite valid. (I think they were in or linked to through the NY Times book blog, Paper Cuts.)

Congratulations, you have won the book Anasazi Intrigue by Linda Weaver Clarke!

Lori L said...

Be sure to check out the other two reviews of the books in the series!