Friday, November 2, 2012

SHADOWS AND LIGHT


Review of SHADOWS AND LIGHT by ANNE BISHOP
(second in the TIR ALAINN trilogy)

The second book in this trilogy mostly stars the Fae lovers Lyrra and Aiden, who, after the events of the first book, start questioning the ways of their kind. While Lucian and Dianna blame everyone but themselves for what happened at the end of THE PILLARS OF THE WORLD, Aiden and Lyrra take a more thoughtful look at the information they’ve learned and make it their personal mission to spread the word to the other Fae that the survival of the human witches is essential to the survival of the Fae. Lucian and Dianna, though, still refuse to accept that the Fae could need anyone, let alone humans, and do everything they can to undermine Aiden and Lyrra’s credibility.

Those hooked by the Ali and Lucian drama in book one will find less of that hot and passionate brand of tension. If you’re waiting for the explosive moment when Lucian and/or Dianna discover Ali is still alive, don’t hold your breath - doesn’t happen in this book. Ali actually plays a much smaller role. I’m still glad we see peeks of her life, though, since I wasn’t convinced she has any feelings for Neall beyond friendship and it’s rewarding to see that she is happy with the life she choose. Of course, Lucian, Dianna, the Black Coats, and other threats constantly loom in the background, threatening to shatter that peace.

THE PILLARS OF THE WORLD starred Ali, even if others played big parts. In Bishop’s THE BLACK JEWELS trilogy, there’s a crowded cast abundant with powerful characters, but one woman - Jaenelle - overshadows everyone else’s magical ability to an almost comical degree. In SHADOWS AND LIGHT, the characters start to balloon out as more and more enter the story (don’t worry; Bishop’s skilled at keeping so many names organized), but every time you think you’ve just been introduced to the jaw-dropping heroine whose power (and personality) rivals any other, just wait a few chapters. I adore the BLACK JEWELS, so I don’t mean anything against that series, but I did like that there’s a better balance of strength in the TIR ALAINN trilogy. Power doesn’t run on a scale, like it seems to in the BLACK JEWELS. People in this series possess strength in different ways, often magical but not always. Two characters can be equally intimidating with their own strengths and weaknesses. Who has the upper hand, if anyone does, depends on the circumstances.

Yes, SHADOWS AND LIGHT has a little of that “middle-book-building-towards-the-big-fight” sense, but Bishop makes every moment of it enthralling and heartfelt.

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