The Country of Vordan is sitting on a precipice, ready to descend into a state of panic at any moment. The king is on his deathbed, leaving his daughter Raesinia Orboan to succeed. The malignant Duke Orlanko, who has gained a reputation as the most feared and powerful man in the kingdom as minister of information and master of the secret police, believes the princess weak-willed and therefore seeks to manipulate her from behind the scenes. Finding herself trapped within Orlanko’s grasp, she seeks allies in the form of recent war hero Janus bet Vhalnich and his company who are returning from the colony of Khandar. Winter Ihernglass, now answering directly to Vhalnich who is the only person who knows she is actually a woman, finds herself returning to the home she ran away from years ago. Marcus d’Ivoire also has his own reasons to dread his return to the city, with a fresh memory of a burning estate and the end of life as he knew it so many years ago. Together, under orders from Vhalnich, they seek to free the Princess from under Orlanko’s grip, and give the nation the leader it so desperately needs. Doing this, however, might cause more short term damage to the kingdom than anything else.
In my constant search for great fantasy stories, I find it very rare to find something that breaks the norms when it comes to the portrayal of female characters. Rarer still, is finding a great fantasy story that does it really well. Winter Ihernglass, the main protagonist introduced in The Thousand Names , is the antithesis of those norms and a prime example of diversity in the fantasy genre.
Django Wexler, author of The Shadow Throne once again enraptures readers (myself included) with a great second installment to the Shadow Campaigns series. The Shadow Campaigns series has much to offer to an avid reader including great military-style fantasy, a strong female protagonist with a sexual orientation not often seen in high fantasy books, a captivating plot with highly articulate dialogue and the kind of dynamic subtlety apparent in books such as Game of Thrones, and The Stormlight Archive, as well as good eye appeal that looks nice on any bookshelf
While still retaining the military-style fantasy that proved successful in The Thousand Names, Dhango Wexler managed to spin a slightly more political style into the mix, with plots and counter plots interweaving between Orlanko, the main antagonist, and the combined efforts of the Princess, Vhalnich, Marcus and Winter. Without wanting to spoil some of the surprise of those readers who haven’t yet picked up the book, Wexler lets us in on more of the back-story of essentially every main character which leads to a surprising love-interest in Winter’s case. The more political, cloak-and -dagger approach to this sequel brings a more revealing light and allows us to see more of each character than we did in the first installment. The tone does get a little darker in some places because of this, but does nothing to hinder a reader’s intrigue with the story.
Overall, I give The Shadow Throne a 9 out of 10 in character diversity, a 9 out of 10 in worthiness to read, and a 6 out of 10 in the book cover category. I’d say The Shadow Throne is a wonderful addition to the series, and I look forward to reading the next installment soon.
By: J. Garza