“It begins with a dragon.” — A Play of Shadows by Julie E. Czerneda

Julie Czerneda’s A Play of Shadows brings us another chapter in the Night’s Edge fantasy series. I reviewed A Turn of Light, the first book in the Night’s Edge, here.

APoS picks up where AToL left off. The returning characters are just as vivid as when we last met them, plus new characters have joined the ensemble and fit in like a hand in glove. There are new dangers, new villains, new allies and, not new, but as yet un-met, family.

We meet Bannon’s two nephews, Semyn and Werfol, a pair of intelligent boys raised by cunning parents in a setting of deadly politics.

We learn some new aspects of Marrowdell’s magic (clever, clever moths!), and more of the Verge and how far it extends, as well as just a little more of the dangers there. There is more Kruar and more to learn of them.

We learn much more of Bannon’s sister, Lila (I don’t ever want to get on that woman’s bad side! and conversely, with her for an ally, I’d confidently stand against the world) and we even get to meet her late in the book. But late or early, she is another memorable person, one who could have a book or two of her own. The tagline on the cover explains both her and Bannan perfectly: “What would you risk for family?” The answer is everything.

Half the book takes place in Channen, one of the chief cities of Mellynne, where Lila’s husband Emon, has gone missing on a diplomatic mission.  Lila sent their sons to Bannan for safe-keeping while she goes to his rescue, but information from a surprising source sends Bannan and Jenn off to Channen to rescue them.

Dragons and kruar and efflet and toads and yling and moths and turtles. Yes, the turtles! Another wondrous addition to the bestiary of Night’s Edge.

Like everything else I’ve read by Julie, the writing  is of the expected superior quality, the characterizations are wonderful, the hints of a wider and fascinating world keep one reading  on and on.

And wishing for more when the ride is done.

Buy this book.


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