Hello hello and welcome or welcome back to my little bookish corner of the internet. Today I’m bringing you my review of Shadowblack, the second book in the Spellslinger series. You can find my review of book one here.
It’s a few months since Kellen left his people behind. Now aged sixteen, Kellen is an outlaw, relying on his wits to keep him alive in the land of the Seven Sands. He misses home, he misses family and more than anything, he misses Nephenia, the girl he left behind.
Then he meets Seneira, a blindfolded girl who isn’t blind, and who carries a secret that’s all too familiar to Kellen. Kellen and Ferius resolve to help – but the stakes are far higher than they realise. A Shadowblack plague is taking hold – and Kellen can’t help but suspect his own people may even be behind it.
Where Spellslinger introduced us to Kellen’s world, this book sees the world introducing itself to Kellen. Now an outcast from his society due to having the Shadowblack, he is on the run with Ferius, an Argosi wanderer who is 50% help and 50% bemusing phrases, and Reichis, a Squirrelcat who is 100% hilarious. Between the two of them, the fight the book opens with, and the months on the road, Kellen seems about ready to scream when we come back to him in this book. It’s a brilliant, hilarious start.
There were so many brilliant moments in this book, and it’s hard to pinpoint anything in particular as the whole book is just made up of them. I loved Kellen’s constantly sarcastic inner monologue. His interactions with both Ferius and Reichis made me laugh out loud regularly. As for the new characters we meet, they allowed for another insight into the mysterious world of the Argosi, and also to another culture in Kellen’s universe we hadn’t yet met.
The author has done a brilliant job of grabbing an already captured audience and still making them want more, which, especially with a second book, is a major skill. It’s a huge achievement not only matching the skill and warmth of your first book, but topping it, and that’s exactly what happens here. I haven’t seen it happen in many series, and I’m always impressed when it does.
If anything, I fell more in love with Kellen, Ferius and especially Riechis during this book. I listened to it as an audiobook again, and the narrator Joe Jameson just brings it all to life so vividly that you can’t help but be utterly gripped by every word he says. Book three, here I come!