SELECT * FROM uv_BookReviewRollup WHERE recordnum = 508 The Shadow Within, by Karen Hancock Book Review |

The Shadow Within, by Karen Hancock cover image

The Shadow Within, by Karen Hancock
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Published: 2004
Review Posted: 10/25/2004
Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: 10 out of 10

The Shadow Within, by Karen Hancock

Book Review by Heather Hunt

Have you read this book?

Karen Hancock's Legends of the Guardian-King series is fantasy writing at its best. I give it my highest recommendation for characterization, story, descriptions, locations, and theme.

Picking up where "The Light of Eidon" left off (yet easily enjoyed by readers who haven't read this first volume), The Shadow Within begins with Abramm Kalladorne sailing home to claim his rightful place as King of Kiriath.

It doesn't go smoothly, of course, and before he even reaches shore he has to confront a leviathan-like beast called a kraggin, which may have been created by wicked mystics bent on destroying the kingdom. Then he has to confront his younger brother, Gillard, who has been running the country into the ground.

And that's just the beginning.

Once he's on the throne, the problems continue. His troubles range from learning the latest dance step to pacify palace gossips and minimize royal intrigue to evading assassination attempts to facing another malevolent being called a morwhol, which was created specifically to kill Abramm and all his kin.

Not to mention handling a busybody second daughter from a neighboring kingdom, who repeatedly sticks her nose in where it doesn't belong-except that her insights and pronouncements turn out to be very helpful indeed.

Elsewhere, Abramm's estranged and formerly beloved sister, Carissa, hides in the hinterlands from her sadistic husband. When she hears that Abramm is back in the kingdom, she refuses to go down and meet him until she is forced into the treacherous journey by dire circumstances.

Whew! The pacing of these varied plots is masterfully handled. Each thread builds its own inner tensions, and the strands come together in surprising and satisfying ways.

The ultimate climax of the story is breathtaking, unpredictable, and gratifying while still leaving loose ends to be picked up by the next volume:
  • Will Gillard survive?
  • Where is Carissa's husband now?
  • Will the budding romance between Abramm and the plain-looking, plainspoken second daughter develop into something that could threaten relations with Kiriath's neighbors?
  • When will the Armies of the Black Moon attack?
If the third book measures up to the first two, fantasy readers have much to look forward to in Karen Hancock's Legends of the Guardian King.
Click here to buy The Shadow Within, by Karen Hancock on Amazon

The Shadow Within, by Karen Hancock on Amazon

The Shadow Within, by Karen Hancock cover pic
Comment on The Shadow Within, by Karen Hancock
Your Name:
Type (case sensitive) here:

Comments on The Shadow Within, by Karen Hancock
Posted by Sarah on 1/27/2005
This book definately lives up to its predecessor in action and plot development. Hancock's style is fast paced and yet her details liven and intensify the action, breathing realism into her imaginary world. She seamlessly blends vulnerability and heroism in her hero, Abramm Kalladorn, causing the reader to identify and admire him. If the first two were any indication, the third installment is assured to be a wild ride as well.