The Light of Burning Shadows: Book Two of the Iron Elves by Chris Evans
“They might be doomed, damned, and buggered for all eternity, but that didn’t mean they couldn’t sparkle like a diamond in the sun and grin like a skull in the moonlight on their way to oblivion.”
Musket and cannon, bow and arrow, and magic and diplomacy vie for supremacy once again in this second epic fantasy adventure from acclaimed author Chris Evans. As the human-dominated Calahrian Empire struggles to maintain its hold on power in the face of armed rebellion from within, the Iron Elves’ perilous quest to defeat the power-hungry elf witch, the Shadow Monarch, takes on greater urgency.
The Iron Elves, shunned by their own people for bearing the mark of the Shadow Monarch, and desperately wanting to forever erase this shame, became legendary for their prowess on the battlefield as the Calahrian Imperial Army’s elite shock troops. But when their commanding officer, Konowa Swift Dragon, murdered the Viceroy of Elfkyna, he was exiled, and these brave elves were banished to a remote desert outpost, doomed and leaderless, their honor in tatters.
Recalled to duty to reform his regiment from the dregs of the Imperial Army, Konowa thwarted the plans of the Shadow Monarch at the Battle of Luuguth Jor — ensuring that the fabled Red Star, a source of great natural energy, did not fall into Her hands. Now Konowa must cross storm-tossed seas to seek out the lost elves and the prophesied return of another Star somewhere in a desert wasteland roiling with mysterious power, infernos of swirling magic, and legends brought back to life in new and terrible ways. And the fate of every living creature will come to depend on a small band of ragged and desperate soldiers, whose very loyalty to the Empire they have sworn to serve is no longer certain. When death is but a temporary condition, a terrifying question arises: who is the true ally — and fearsome enemy — in a growing conflict that threatens all?
With the Stars falling, the world is changing. The thought of Freedom is spreading across the Empire. In the midst of it all, the Iron Elves continue to fight, not just the Shadow Monarch, but other strange and frightening creatures.
I loved this book. It’s been a while since I read a fantasy adventure, and I think this is the first book I’ve read this year that I actually recommended to my husband. The book grabbed me in the first chapter and never let go.
Konowa commands the Iron Elves, and is in fact the only member of the regiment who is actually an elf. He’s pulled in so many directions, by the prince and the Empire he serves, his hatred of the Shadow Monarch, the oath that binds them to her, and his need to find the old Iron Elves. Yimt, the dwarf, was funny but wise at the same time. He was really what held the elves together in my opinion. The soldiers knew they could trust him, that he cared about them, but he was still on their level. Private Renwar has an interesting storyline and the three women, witches, are fascinating. Strong and knowledgeable in their own right, they each have their own different reason for traveling with and helping the iron elves.
Magic, political maneuverings and military strategy all wind together to make this an excellent read. I do wish that I had read A Darkness Forged in Fire first. I think it would have given me more background on what was going on and the characters. For example, there was something between one of the women, Visnya, and Konowa, but it never told what had happened between them. I’m curious. I will go back and read the first one, though, while waiting impatiently for the next.
Other tour stops:
I was a little slow getting this post up today, but if you get a chance, visit some of the other tour stops.
The Epic Rat
Must Read Faster
The Crotchety Old Fan
A Journey of Books
A Book Bloggers Diary
Horror and Fantasy Book Review
Temple Library Reviews
The Mad Hatter’s Bookshelf & Review
Pick of the Literate
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