Book Review: Shadows of the Heart by SL Harby

Okay, I will admit that I was a little too eager to get into this book. The end of book one had me throwing the book at the wall (not really, as it was an ebook, and I didn’t want to break the technology) because I wanted to know what happened next. And you know what? This book did not disappoint at all.

1. Thoughts on the plot

This book follows Hollis after the, ah, situation with the Well in book one was resolved. He gets into some trouble in the Great Library, where he meets Asaege and her reflection Jillian stealing a book. Turns out that this book not only connects to the central religion, but also a familiar and unwelcome face. Now Hollis and Asaege are being charged with a crime they didn’t commit, accidentally (intentionally) starting a revolution, and facing off with villains from the past. 

If you haven’t read book one, you will have no idea what’s going on. If you have read book one, then this book plucks on all the important threads of the last book while also introducing new ones. Not only that, but it does this well. This author has a talent for anticipating any questions the reader might have and then not only answering them, but using them to head off in a different direction.

2. Thoughts on the characters

Most all of the characters in this book were familiar, excepting Asaege/Jillian. I think she was a great addition to the story, especially since her personality is both stubborn and caring, as one would expect of a teacher. I think she works great as a counterbalance for Hollis, and I like getting to see how she grows over the story. I was also pleased to have repeat characters, some nicer than others. I think Aristoi remains one of my favourite, and I am eager to see what the next story holds for her.

3. Favourite part

I…I don’t know if I can choose. Probably the language. Frankly, this book reads very smoothly, and the language just sort of rolls off the tongue (er, brain, as I wasn’t reading aloud). There were pieces of comedy woven throughout, but done so subtly that you barely notice it amidst the more serious passages. And the more serious passages just sort of punctuate the story with phrases and sentences that grab the mind. It’s easy to read and yet doesn’t treat the reader like an idiot, a favourite combination of mine.

4. Critique

I don’t really have one. Well, except, of course, that it ended and I want to know more. But that can hardly be a critique, now can it?

Overall, I would say that this book is one of the best sequels I’ve read in a while. I am eagerly awaiting the next book!