There’s a thread of sorrow binding memory away throughout this series, a high fantasy that follows in the tradition popularized by Tolkien, of epic quests and lost loves and ancient evil that cannot rest.
There’s also the sense of age, especially in Archer Blackcloak and Tess Birdsong. the first is a vagabond warrior, no home, no obvious history; the latter is a woman with no memory, the only survivor of a massacre.
In this world, the First Born was as if cursed by the gods for waging a cataclysmic war in the name of love. According to legends, the powerful sons of the Firstborn king had loved an Ilduin, a race of women with magical powers, so much that they brought chaos to the world just so one could have her.
One son was bright and beautiful; the other dark and chiseled. The bright prince became the chained god of chaos, bent by despair into an evil entity; the dark prince forgot most of his greatness and continued to live… and love.. despite his terrible guilt.
Maybe this stain of guilt that’s present in all the characters, whether hero or not, is what made me return to reading another epic-type high fantasy I thought I had gotten fed up with.
It made the characters more complex than if they were purely innocent capable of challenging evil without being corrupted (an often used device in epic fantasies).
Not that writing, pacing, plotting, and characterization are exemplary in Shadows of Myth. I found it difficult to visualize the Anari warriors Ratha and Giri, much less distinguish them from one another. At times, Tess and Sara Deepwell, another young woman with strange powers, sound so much alike.
At best, the pacing is elegant; at worst, it dragged.
I was hooked, nonetheless – because of the spark of recognition in each as Tess, Archer, Sarah, and the others in the group felt when they found each other. I recognized it as the continuation of a story, one that has been left unfinished for thousands of years.
And one thing I cannot resist is letting loose threads hanging. if Ichance upon them, I simply must do my best to wrap them up. So here I am, about to begin reading the sequel, Shadows of Prophecy.