Published: January 1st 2010 by Allen & Unwin
Format: Paperback, 510 pages
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New friends. Old enemies. Who can you trust?
Set in a fantastical medieval Europe, this is the second book in a compelling trilogy of court intrigue, adventure and romance. Now, Wynter Moorehawke finds herself alone for the first time in her life, caught up in confusing formalities and politics very different to life back at court.
It seems that every tyrant or bully who has ever threatened the kingdom is sending delegates to meet with the Rebel Prince, and Wynter is increasingly nervous of Alberon's intentions.
Razi and her beloved Christopher soon make an appearance, but where friends go old enemies soon follow, and Wynter finds herself confronted with the infamous Loups-Garous. It is to Christopher's adopted people, the nomadic Merron, who she must now turn for sanctuary. But the Merron have sided with Shirken, the woman who has made it her life's work to wipe their race from the face of the earth.
What is behind the conspiracy, and is Alberon at the centre of it all?
Just like The Poison Throne, this book is heavily driven by its characters and their relationships. While the plot moves slowly and is punctuated with long discussions, readers are kept engaged by the interactions between characters. These discussions also provide insight into the politics and history of the world as well, so I enjoyed them.
The Crowded Shadows also sees romances blossom for the main characters: while it was pretty obvious that Christopher and Wynter have feelings for one another, I found Razi’s romance with Embla both hilarious and awkward that the same time. I thought it moved very fast and grew too serious too quickly, but I also think they are perfect for one another. Christopher is still, undoubtedly, my favourite character: brave and loyal, but broken emotionally and pragmatic in his approach to life. I think he caused more problems by keeping secrets from Razi and Wynter concerning the Merron, but I also understand his motivations for doing so.
This is a book I thoroughly enjoyed – wonderful characters and good storyline. I want to read the third and final book soon, and continue Wynter, Christopher and Razi’s incredible journey. You are seriously missing out if you haven’t picked up this series.