A PLAY OF SHADOW by Julie Czerneda. Published November 2014. Sequel to A Turn of Light.

I was a little worried when I finally obtained a copy of this one. A Turn of Light had been so great I wasn’t certain that the author could do it again but she has! Jenn Nalynn is back, together with Wisp the dragon, Scourge the kaur, her father and sister, and Bannan, along with the entire village of Marrowdell with all its magic. But Jenn is changing, becoming something else, and Bannan’s nephews have arrived, sent to him because his sister has gone to find her husband, their father, and two small boys will be a lot safer with Bannan. Or will they? And we find at once that no, they won’t be. That Jenn’s changes are profound, will she even be human once they’re done? And what of Bannan’s sister whom her son ‘sees’ locked in a stone cell? Bannan and Jenn set out to find his sister and brother-in-law who are missing in a far country, but not before some suspicious and deadly events in Marrowdell lead them to believe that all is not as it seems.
A Play of Shadows is a terrific successor to A Turn of Light. Not every author that wants to write both SF and fantasy is good at both but Czerneda succeeds magnificently. Her magic aspects are entrancing, the author managing to create magic that is a brilliant variation on the standard tropes. Jenn’s changes and her distress over them rings true, and her growing romance with Bannan and her doubts and fears over that only render her more human. Wisp the dragon is far from standard and Scourge the kaur manages to be both partially equine and a real grumpy dangerous personality in his own right. I look forward immensely to the next book with these characters and on that I do have one complaint. Waiting two years for this book was painful , a year would be better, so write faster, Julie, there’s a lot of us out there waiting.
And one more thing that I bet a lot of readers will be asking, I loved the house toads in both books, but still more I love the one depicted with Julie in her husband’s gorgeous photo inside back cover. Where can I get one and how much do they cost because that one is terminally cute, beautifully made, has the look of something wise and alive, and I’d love one of my own.

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