Bane and Shadow. Book Review

BANE AND SHADOW by Jon Skovron
Orbit. p/b. 512pp. £8.99
Reviewed by Elloise Hopkins

The biomancers changed Hope and Red and in far more than just their names. No longer together, but their partnership far from forgotten, they both have clear goals and will see them through, whether it leads them back together as they hope, or whether the consequences will be far worse. The fate of many now rides on these two.

She is Vinchen Warrior. Ship Captain. And now legend. Determined to rid the world of the evil biomancers she is no longer Bleak Hope but something stronger and more terrible than any had imagined.

He too is changed. More than an artist’s son. More than a man. More dangerous than even he himself realises. Red eyes and now more than red in name, he must first learn just how much he has changed, and then learn how to live with it, and how to become greater than it.

Bane and Shadow is the second book in Skovron’s Empire of Storms series and continues the tales of our two heroes as they deal with the consequences of their last adventure and face the next terrible encounter. The ending of book one was huge, exciting, shocking. Both characters were fundamentally affected by those events, which meant the second had much to live up to.

And live up to it does. There are some wonderful twists and surprises in here and this is one of those books where there is no point in the reader trying to guess what happens next or where the story is going, because the likelihood of predicting that is slim, and that is a great asset for a fantasy.

The narrative here is darker and more disturbing for the most part. The characters’ trials are harder and the consequences of their actions much harder to bear. Again the characters in this series really shine; even those without much page time are well rounded and interesting to the reader. Don’t judge these books by their covers – there is much more here than meets the eye’s first glance.