Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand

Shadow Shadow
by Will Elliott

Supplied for review by Harper Collins New Zealand

Reviewed By: Simon Litten

Shadow is book two in the Pendulum trilogy that begun with Pilgrims, and is author Will Elliott’s third book (that other is The Pilo Family Circus of which I know not enough).

Shadow continues to follow the progress of Eric and Case through Levaal along with the stories of their original travelling companions. As with Pilgrims this book again defies the storyline expectations of standard fantasy. Eric has now realised that he is no one special to the life of Levaal, except he has been allowed to live when he first entered; the chief villain has nearly ascended to godhood to his now belated consternation and the other gods’ delight; his chief deputy is also having second thoughts but no crisis of confidence in his plotting against incipient god; the dragons who created Levaal are close to breaking out of their prison and getting ready to wreck havoc and mayhem over all humanity in Levaal; and more is revealed of the eccentricity and bizarreness of the life and nature of Levaal.

This book was both bleak and hopeful at turns; offering visions of an inevitable triumph of the dragons or the success of the human players to survive. None are shown as above petty squabbles and minor failings, yet the human characters are capable of greatness if they try – but very often they don’t.

I found Shadow to be a wonderful sequel to Pilgrims and am looking forward to the resolution of the story. Mr Elliott has set the next volume up such that whatever hints he has given for that resolution they are sure to be well-cooked red herrings. Expect the unexpected. If you want a comfortable read in a predictable world with characters that follow a well tried script, then read something else. Shadow (and Pilgrims) has been written without regard to the vogue fantasy rulebook – and is all the better for it.

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