Review: The Shadow Casket by Chris Wooding


The Shadow Casket

Chris Wooding

The Darkwater Legacy #2



Copy received from Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

I can remember starting The Ember Blade, nearly five years ago. I was on a train to London going to see a play on one of the hottest days of the years. Good times.

Summary: It’s been three years since Aren seized the Ember Blade. Three years since they struck the spark they hoped would ignite the revolution. But the flame has failed to catch. The Krodans have crushed Ossia in an iron grip of terror. The revolution seems further away than ever.

Far in the north, the Dawnwardens seek to unite the fractious clans of the Fell Folk and create a stronghold from which to retake their land. But even if they can overcome the danger of treachery from within, they still have to contend with the dreadknights. Only the druidess Vika can resist these near-unstoppable foes, and there’s only one of her.

But what if there was a weapon that could destroy the dreadknights? A weapon of such power it could turn the tide? A weapon that, if it fell into the wrong hands, might mean the end of all hope?

The Shadow Casket has returned from out of the past, and it will save or damn them all.

I re-read The Ember Blade before The Shadow Casket because I had forgotten nearly all of the plot and I had also forgotten that it felt a little bogged down in places. The Shadow Casket is a similar length but, thankfully, it does not suffer from the same issues that were present in the first book.

It moves at a lot quicker pace and it doesn’t really stop moving until the end. A lot happens in the 800 or so pages and it’s a little head spinning at times. This has its good and bad points. The good is that it never gets boring and it actually feels like it is going somewhere but the bad point is that it occasionally feels like some of the characters get lost in the pace in which it is moving. Wooding does thin the herd a great deal, so to speak, over the course of the novel but he adds more characters.

I did enjoy the characters and they all get their arcs to complete in the novel. I enjoyed Aren, Cade and Fen’s stories. Klyssen also gets a healthy dose of character development, although it doesn’t really help to make him more likeable. You can understand his actions better but he’s still a horrible man.

I’m also very unsure of the shadow casket maguffin. Maybe I zoned out when it was explained why it is so important or maybe I’ve just forgotten but it doesn’t really come into play in this book. Maybe that’s for a later plot point but it was introduced and then just hidden away and forgotten due to the big battle at the end. I’m just a little confused right now.

All in all, The Shadow Casket was a massive improvement on The Ember Blade, which I enjoyed but felt it was a little too long. The Shadow Casket is a similar length but doesn’t feel too long due to the huge amount of ground it covers. Things end on a shakily hopeful note so I hope to see things start to get a little better for the Ossians by the end of the story as a whole.


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