Shadows Return

by Lynn Flewelling


Reviewed by Ruby

Seregil and Alec are back in Rhžminee and are bored. With a new Queen in power, her lack of love for AurŽnfaie has quickly been adopted with the nobles, leaving both Seregil (being a 'faie) and Alec (being half H‚zadriŽlfaie) unpopular.  They also have very little Watcher work, with Thero still in AurŽnen, and with the rumors of the nightrunner The Rhžminee Cat being killed, they are left with only the noble roles. So when they are offered a job by Queen Phoria to go back to AurŽnen to retrieve her youngest sister, they jump on it.

Unfortunately for them, there are other spies at work and as soon as they are on their way they are attacked and shanghaied. They are sent to Riga in Plenimar and sold as slaves. Alec is bought by the alchemist Charis Yhakobin who has been waiting for a very long time to get his hands on a H‚zadriŽlfaie.  Alec's mother's people hold a secret in their blood, that even the AurŽnfaie don't remember. Their blood can create a rhekaro; a creature capable of creating the deadliest of poisons or a cure for everything and can kill an army of men with a single word.

Seregil, on the other hand, is also sold as a slave and must play his part in order to escape and find Alec. Only when he does, Alec doesn't want to leave the rhekaro behind.

I really like the characters that Lynn Flewelling has created in this series. They are instantly lovable. In this book they are faced with slavery and separation and I found it was more angst driven then actual plot driven like her earlier books. That is not to say that I didn't enjoy this book, I did, I just found that not a lot of things happened. Alec and Seregil have a fight, then they make up, they get captured and separated, the rhekaro is created they escape and are reunited, then they argue some more, make up and make it home, the end. There is more to it than that, but I don't want to give too much away. It was still enjoyable, it was just with all that happened in just Luck in the Shadows alone, I felt just a bit disappointed with the lack of actual action.

I am more disappointed with the continuity errors that are present in these books. The big one deals with the manner that Alec's father dies. In the first book he died because he was sick and in this book he was killed in Ansengai's dungeons. I read on the author's LiveJournal that once she was made aware of this she has corrected and is republishing her book, but still the error is there. There are others throughout both of her series. The most annoying ones are the ones that are only a few lines apart. I have come across two that I know of. One is in this book and there is another in Stalking Darkness. I hate continuity errors in the TV shows I watch, in my movies and in my books. With the amount of editing and whatnot I think there is no excuse for them.

Ignoring all that; I still liked this book. I wish the errors weren't there, but I can ignore them. It was harder in this book than the other ones however. There's also a lower quality of writing in this books than the earlier ones. It felt sometimes I was reading a fanfiction other than the story the author herself wrote.


Grade: C

Reviewed by Coral

I was probably a little less disappointed in this book than my sister was, but I do agree that it is less enjoyable than the first three books of the series.

I feel mean saying it, but the plot of the book was what you would expect to find reading fanfiction. Now, I love fanfiction and have found some really, really good fanfiction writers out there, but after you've read a certain amount of stories, you can see the plots that come up again and again. Captured and sold into slavery is a popular fanfiction plot and I guess I just expected a published writer to be a little more original in her stories.

Oddly enough, I think that this was probably the best book in terms of pacing. There didn't seem to be a long stretch of 'nothing is happening' like I felt there was in the previous books.

Though I haven't read the series as much as my sister, even I could tell that there were some continuity problems. Thero's teacher seems to have been mysteriously un-exiled since the last book (though, since that is extremely unlikely to have happened and since not one word is said about her exile, I think the author just forgot about it); Prince Kor seems to have had a complete personality transplant, seemingly forgetting that he wasn't as supportive of Klia in the last book as he was in this book.

The most disappointing thing about this book has to be Ilar. With all of the anticipation wrapped around this character, finally meeting him isn't what I expected. He should have been, if not an enemy, than a worthy adversary who lives up to the hate that Seregil has of him. We were promised a master manipulator and what we get is a puppet who was played by his puppet-master.

 Grade: C