Aug 29, 2012: As a solid member of the working class, I found myself put off a bit when I started reading Shadow’s Light due to all of the royalty focused on. Dear reader, I urge you not to stop here – there’s gold in the tale ahead. I found my reward as I pressed on and finally met the protagonist, Cailean. She also is a princess, but is almost universally reviled and feared, through no fault of her own. Instead of letting this treatment cause her to hate others, she’s instead found in a humble part of town, living in service to others.
When the rest of the aforementioned royals come to find her, they’re hip deep in trouble and counting on her to help them out, despite many of them having history with her that should probably have made her hate them. But, after some soul searching, Cailean steps forward to do whatever she can to help, still encountering hatred and fear as she does so. If you read this story for no other reason, read it for this character, because if you ever want an example of a hero, this is it in action – someone who does what she feels is right even though she knows she’s likely to only get scorn and exile in return.
Another reason I liked this is that it’s a bit of a surprise. The story, especially as it begins, seemed to have sort of a medieval feel, but after it goes on a bit, I found out that the society is a starfaring one, belonging to a league of planets inhabited by a number of different types of people. They’re trying to work against something that threatens them all, something that our rejected princess seems to be in the center of hopefully protecting them from.
As far as potentially improving the story, if the author worked with an editor it might be helpful; the occasional misspellings or misused words threw me out of the story sometimes. Also, I found that the story sometimes went on tangents that didn’t seem to add to the plotline, so I’d recommend avoiding that in the future . . . but since I would have had the same advice for Herman Melville about Moby Dick, this may well be a matter of taste.
At any rate, as mentioned, I can recommend reading this story for the protagonist alone. If you’re into royalty or medieval-seeming romantic fantasy, this is probably a tale you won’t want to miss.
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