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The Light of Burning Shadows: Book Two of the Iron Elves Mass Market Paperback – October 26, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Private Alwyn Renwar of the Iron Elves is having constant, debilitating nightmares of the evil Shadow Monarch-and it's nearly killing him. The magical acorn which the Shadow Monarch planted in the chests of all the reformed Iron Elves during their last campaign carries dark magic, useful in combating the Monarch's minions, but filled with evil and contrary to the nature of elves. In this quick but moving second volume of Evans's Iron Elves series, Private Renwar, Major Konowa Swift Dragon, Sergeant Arkhorn, and the rest of the regiment discover that one of the dark acorn's side effects is turning souls, after death, into ghosts. Private Renwar focuses all his efforts on finding a cure for this curse, while a more worldly battle transpires over a magical falling star, the Jewel of the Desert, which must be found before the Shadow Monarch claims its powers for "Her" own. Evans evokes the era of Napoleon with muskets and slashing swords while neatly mixing in military fantasy, swords and sorcery, and a great deal of success; readers will no doubt end up desperate for the next volume. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
"A gutsy fantasy set in a world of imperial greed and magical plotting, with an eye for the ordinary soldier's plight that would have done Kipling proud." -- Karen Traviss, #1 "New York Times" bestselling author of "Star Wars: Legacy of the Force -- Revelation" and "City of Pearl"
"I'm always thrilled by seeing a new author press the boundaries of the conventions of fantasy. Chris Evans does just that -- taking the broad sword and sorcery archetypes and placing them squarely in a new and exciting environment." -- R. A. Salvatore
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Top Customer Reviews
Instead of lifting the frost fire curse from his men by using the Red Star, Konowa gives it to the Elfkynal; angering his soldiers who saw brothers in arms die and return as shades or maimed in the battle. Prince Tykkin directs Konowa to retrieve a new Star reported in the Hasshugeb Expanse. Konowa knows the witch will seek the Star too so he needs reinforcements so he sends Iron Elves to recruit those peers who failed to return when the unit was reactivated. He tries to calm down his outraged unit who believe they should be freed first and then defeat the evil while he deems they must defeat the evil first. At the same time the Shadow Monarch sends her servant the Viceroy of Elfkyna to darken the woodlands while a new flame has arisen that eats the shadow from the body until the person expires; death in those cases does not mean returning as a shade.
Although the overarching theme does not move forward, the second Iron Elves high quest fantasy is a great tale as Chris Evans expands the author's world adding much depth to it. The story line once again focuses on Konowa and his unit who though victorious still hurt mentally and physically from the recent battle and their commander's decision on the Red Star. Fans will enjoy this fine entry as Konowa seems on the verge of PTSD caused not just by sending men to die knowing they are cursed to become shades, but also having to make difficult decisions, which keep his men in harm's way.
I really liked book 1, A Darkness Forged in Fire. It was good, and then suddenly it was so good that I did not want to put it down. Not the same feeling here because all books are different, but this was still great epic fantasy, and after reading this I do want to read book 3 that is out sometime 2010.
A negative thing about this book is that he did not move forward the possible relationship between Visyana and Konowa. Are there to be more books? Because then he movie it slow, as it was now they did not even say a word to each other. That was a tad bit slow since there obviously is something there.
The other negative part for me was that this was mostly about Allwyn, yes he was crucial to the book as he can see their fallen comrades and talk to them, he has a tree for a leg and he can handle the dark magic the best. It was his story in a way, still I missed Konowa.
But don't get me wrong, this was still good fantasy. The battle continues and I am really starting to like the different soldiers, while not so much others. Here we learnt more and got to see more of everyone, and of course big epic fight in the end when the star has come. The Empire wants it, the desert wants it, mysterious powers wants it, the Shadow Monarch wants it, yes it's not an easy battle and he manages to surprise me in the end.
Good old fantasy, with a big slice of military, I do like it. I will always like fantasy the best because it has this way of capture me the most. It's the excellent world building, the thought behind the political unrest and so forth. Oh and gotta have a nice map too, I want to see where I am going. This book has all those things, and I hope book 3 keeps up the good pace.
"They might be doomed, damned, and buggered for all eternity, but that didn't mean they couldn't sparkle like a diamond in the sun and grin like a skull in the moonlight on their way to oblivion."