Home > Literature, Reviews > Review of The Shadow Road (The Swans’ War Book Three) by Sean Russell

Review of The Shadow Road (The Swans’ War Book Three) by Sean Russell

This is the concluding volume of the story that began in The One Kingdom and continued in The Isle of Battle, and, while the first book was a very decent read, the second wasn’t as good as the first and the third isn’t as good as the second.

The land between the mountains is threatened with destruction as three sorcerers – partial reincarnations of legendary figures – struggle to break or preserve the magic that separates the land from the hidden lands. In their wake, these sorcerers trail nobles from warring houses and a group of lads from a backwater village.

The Swans’ War has much to recommend it: the characters are engaging, the plot pleasingly complex yet also quite intimate, the language is gentle and evocative, and the themes of interlinking past and present, legends and reality are very striking.

In this final book, however, its problems become increasingly apparent. Many of the characters are very similar – stripped of their names, you’d have trouble telling them apart (a problem the author seemed to have, as, on two occasions, a character was referred to by the wrong name). It’s also a little short on action – much of the characters’ time is spent in travel and conversation. Finally, it often seems to fall the wrong side of the line between giving information to the reader gradually and making it up as it goes along.

When TSR meanders to its conclusion, the lack of dynamics within and between the characters (and there are quite a lot of them) means that you don’t feel that bothered about it. The author’s got an excellent first name, though.

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Categories: Literature, Reviews
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