A Shadow on the Glass

by Ian Irvine


Reviewed by Ruby

Llian is a Chronicler, one who tells tales and Histories, but more importantly, discovers new Histories to add to the collection.  And he does just that. The Tale of the Forbidding; the greatest of all the Great Tales, tells of how the three Worlds were sundered and Santhenar was cut off from the other two. In his research, Llian discovers that right before the breaking of the worlds there was a crippled girl that witnessed the final moments. She wrote a different tale and then killed herself.  After some more research Llian discovers that she was in fact murdered and he is bent on finding out who killed her and why. Unfortunately this upsets Wistan, the Master of the College and Llian is banished.

At the same time Karan has just returned home to her impoverished estate to find Maigraith, a mysterious and cold woman who once saved her life. Indebted to Maigraith, Karan agrees to help her in her quest and together they travel to the fortress of Fiz Gorgo to steal a relic deep within.

Fiz Gorgo is Yggur's stronghold; a powerful wizard (or mancer), who was once a member of the Council but was betrayed and now is beginning a war to take over the world of Santhenar. He is none to pleased when Karan and Maigraith break in and steal the Mirror of Aacham; an all seeing mirror made by the Aachim which are Karan's father's people. Maigraith is captured but Karan manages to escape and is then chased for what seems to be the remainder of the book by Yggur's Terror Guard. 

Llian meets up with Karan and together they are chased from one end of the continent to the other by not only the Terror Guard and the Aachim, but by several other powerful people who want to Mirror. Maigraith's mentor wants the Mirror to open the Way Between the Worlds to get her people back to their world. There is also Mendark once the leader of the Council. He wants the Mirror the stop Yggur. And caught in the middle are Llian and Karan who have no idea who to give the Mirror to, or who to trust with such a powerful and deceitful object.

This book was long and rambling. There was so much information with endless histories and a parade of characters (most of which unimportant to the story as a whole) that I found it very difficult to keep everything straight. There was even a glossary of names and places in the back of the book and it was still hard.

I had no idea where any of the characters were coming from. Llian, I know is supposed to be the bumbling scholar type, but even after all his adventures with Karan it didn't feel like he grew at all. He is courageous and does risk his life a few time to save Karan, but he is still just as useless as he was at the beginning. And Karan is annoying. She is really kind of whiny most of the time.  Even Maigraith, who started as such an interesting character, became pathetic during the story.

The plot itself was interesting enough to keep me reading through almost 600 pages, but just barely. Trust me when I say I am in no hurry to read the next one.

Grade: D