Henry Vestin always believed that, despite being a carpenter with no training in swordplay or survival, he could lead Isabelle and his friends to safety. He thought he could defy an emperor and protect Isabelle from harm. He was certain that love and friendship would help them survive.
He was wrong.
The second volume in the Tale of Light and Shadow series follows Henry and his friends after the disastrous battle at the Iron Pass. Horrors await the band of travelers in strange new lands. Crippled and broken, Henry must rely on his friends more than ever. New allies and foes find them at every turn, but which are friendly and which are deadly? Isabelle, now a slave in Neverak, finds herself surrounded by enemies, uncertain about the fate of her friends, and relying on only herself to survive. The Emperor moves forward with his plans of conquest, spurred on by the Seer’s dark prophecy, but he has not forgotten those who defied him.
Return to the world of Atolas, where swords and daggers extend life or end it, where feuds and friendships influence kingdoms and courtships, and where magic is feared by all but a few.
I enjoyed the first book but I loved this one!! Isabelle has been separated from the group so we get her story as well as what's happening with everyone else. There are plenty of trials for all of them. The characters are quite flawed and make plenty of bad decisions. They meet a new character along the way who joins them.
One of the characters is a storyteller and I loved all the stories and connections that are introduced throughout the book. There were times that I thought I might have missed something in one of the stories, but then something would happen later with totally different characters that would fill in the blanks. It will be interesting to see some of the characters come face to face again in the future and see how they will react to each other. It's full of twists and turns and I couldn't turn the pages fast enough!
I almost passed on this series because with all the reading I do, taking on 900 pages of reading seemed overwhelming. It sounded so good, though, so I decided to go for it and I'm glad I did. This is a fabulous series!! My only complaint is that the third book isn't out yet. I'm looking forward to reading more!
I received a copy of this book to review. My opinion is 100% my own.
The story continues--
And as the storyteller tells his tale you will find that you cannot put the book down it is so engaging you will read until the last word has been devoured -- But you are not the only one for you will also read of a scribe who is frantically trying to capture the story on paper :)
Fascinating details of Isabelle and her cleansing as she awaits to be called by the Emperor--can she endure it or will she find a way to escape and who might help her as she hopes for Henry to find her?
Henry is trying so hard to get to Isabelle, but one trouble after another stops his progress--can he reach her in time and who of his friends will be left to go with him?
This book is SO GOOD!
LOVED. LOVED. LOVED. IT!
I really enjoyed the prequel novella and first book in this series, but I can honestly say that book two, Secrets of Neverak, blew me away! I was engaged, consumed, and on the edge of my seat from the first page to the end. What would the characters do? What would happen? Would they all be safe in the end? From reading the first book, I knew that I couldn't count on everyone staying safe, so I was a little worried about where the story would lead and who would be there in the end. The journey was continuously fraught with danger. Relationships grew, developed, and changed. Hints of romance were woven throughout. Magic began to play a larger role. Definitely a story I would recommend for fantasy fans!
The characters. They're still evolving. There are some secrets and feelings they hold back. They're not perfect. Sometimes they make less-than-intelligent choices and sometimes they go about good choices or actions in the wrong way. There is some heartbreak. They also have such good intentions, such loyalty and devotion, such love and good hearts. They were pretty much perfectly imperfect. I did want the main group of friends to be more wary of others and more cautious in how they acted or went about their travels. They got sloppy. but then I would remind myself that these characters believe they are somewhat safe at this point and are not soldiers (except for James who was part of the King's Guard) or trained assassins. They're regular people who fell into this crazy situation because they were loyal to each other. I did love seeing towards the end some of the characters coming into their own, to begin to gain the confidence of knowing who they are and the possibility of who they could be.
The plot. As I said above, the plot kept me engaged, curious, and unsettled in not knowing what would happen. I was completely engrossed. I was invested in these characters and their story and I was in it for the long haul. The book is a little on the lengthier side, but the pages flew by. I literally read this in two days (would have been one if I hadn't had some other things to do). I loved how this didn't fall into the second-book-in-a-series syndrome. Yes, they are getting from point a to point b, but there was so much going on development-wise for the story and characters that this didn't feel like just a feeler in the series. The plot really thickens leading to subterfuge, new characters and some good action in parts. There are so many pieces and I loved seeing how they all played various roles. There are a few things still left to be uncovered and I'm looking forward to it. At the end, I wanted to immediately read book three. Unfortunately, I have a bit of a wait as it doesn't come out for another year.
Content: Some mature subject matter in regards to concubines and violence, but still clean.
Source: I would like to thank Shadow Mountain for my complimentary copy, which did not affect my review in any way.
It can be hard to find adult fantasy that is clean enough for me to want to read it, but Jacob Gowans series A Tale of Light and Shadow fits the bill nicely. Not only are the characters great but the incredible challenges the characters face kept me turning the pages rapidly. I was slow to pick up this series because I suspected it would draw me in and never let go and I was right. Once I met Henry and Isabelle I couldn't help but cheer for them but everything was against them from the beginning, including Isabelle's father. Here is book two, the pair are separated. Henry struggles to recover from his injuries while longing to go after Isabelle who is now imprisoned in the Emperor of Neverack's palace being prepared to become one of his concubines. Isabelle struggles to deal with her circumstances and find a way to escape while having no idea what is happening to Henry or her friends. Not only is the plot one that moves along quickly but I loved the depth of the story as each of the characters faces difficult choices and struggles and because of it they grow. The complications that ensue as each of the major characters makes choices that directly or indirectly effect all of the others made me anxious to see what was going to happen to them. Even the secondary characters were of interest as I wondered about motivations and choices they made. A wonderful, thought-provoking new series from an author to watch.
I read both Volume 1 and Volume 2 back to back. I prefer to do it that way so the story continues, although volume 1 ended well. This was a fascinating story from the beginning with the scribe paid to write the story to the storyteller coming in and continuing the story from volume 1. The characters are wonderful and the world is fun to be in, however, it reads more like an epic fantasy than I expected. I found myself skimming parts while others drew me to the edge of my seat. I smiled, shook my head, laughed, feared for, and basically enjoyed the ride Gowans takes the reader on. By the end of SECRETS OF NEVERAK, though, I felt like the story has taken on so many different individual character stories that in a way it was hard to keep up. I'd read what happened to one then jump back three weeks to find out what happened to someone else. It's a bit disorienting at times. It's a great read though that I would recommend for teens and above.