3 out of 5
Shadowplay is the second in the Shadowmarch series and continues the stories of the Eddon family, the Xis Autarch, the Qar, and everyone connected with them. The series is starting to feel like a puzzle missing the edge pieces. The reader knows each plot line is connected but can’t see the whole picture. Briony and Barrack are separated for the first time in their young lives and face experiences much beyond those of normal prince and princess. Qinnitan has escaped the Autarch and is trying to build a life, be it a lowly one, in a foreign land. King Olin builds friendships among his captors. Chertz the Funderling is dragged into events much to big for him. The Autarch begins to reveal his plans and finally attacks the great city of Hierosol. More is shared about the Qar including what the mysterious mirror is and why they want Shadowmarch so badly. Unfortunately there were sections that seemed to drag or be dragged out, Barrick’s time beyond the Shadowline being one. It just felt as though it took too long to get to the climax of his time being kept as a prisoner. Briony’s time with the acting troupe also seem to be padded. I wasn’t quite sure what the point was of her becoming an actor when being a stagehand worked just as well for getting her from point A to point B safely. Too much time was spent on things like her learning her lines and while the banter between the actors was fun it was played up excessively. Mr. Williams is a master of description and the world he has created is vivid. He intertwines the themes of life and death throughout the book giving it a feeling of grayness, of sadness that is amazing. I am looking forward to seeing how he manages to pull all of these plot lines together in the next two book.