Ashley-Hello everyone!! Today we are going to be going over ShadowCaster. Let's go ahead and dive in!! We'll start with the basic no spoiler description. This is book two in the Shatter Realms series. The first book mostly centered around Ash, Jenna, Lila, Destin, with a splash of Evan. In Shadowcaster, we start in Alyssa's POV. Alyssa is Ash's sister. She has no desire to be queen. The thought terrifies her. She is much more at home with a blade in her hand than with politics. I enjoy Lyss. Her character is energetic, strong, fun, and I'm excited to watch her grow into herself.
What I enjoy about Chima, is that she finds neat ways to bring the abundance of characters she creates, together. In my head, I get to know how these characters fit together, yet, the characters don't know how they fit together. I'm over here waving my hands as they have fleeting encounters, while I'm screaming for them not to leave each other.
Our second POV is in Hal's perspective. We've met Hal's father, Lord Matelon, in the previous book as he openly disrespected the king. His father's actions caused his son's life to be put at risk as he was told to march unskilled soldiers in Queen Court Vale. The plan was for Captian Matelon and his soldiers to die. This is where Alyssa and Hal meet for the first time. She spares his life.
Yes, there's even a third POV. Breon, who is pretty cool, even though he is a leaf addict. He doesn't know much about his past besides the fact that he's an orphan who has a magemark on the back of his neck. His gift comes with being able to charm people through music, helping to take away their common sense. He has been offered money to help charm a blueblood girl.
Alright, look away if you must....SPOILERS
Yep, you may have guessed it. Lyss is the blueblood he is being paid to charm. Of course, he gets a bad feeling about this new client and this new job. He thinks about stopping, but he wants to get his friends Aubrey and Goose away from their manager Whacks. He figures one last jig, and they can hit the road. He doesn't know that the target is a princess. He does his deed and charms her, thinking no harm will come to her, only to have arrows start flying at her. He helps get her to the ground to dodge them. He manages to get away, only to find out from Aubrey that Goose and Whacks have been killed, and those same people are going to be looking for them.
Since Alyssa overheard her mother and Amon talking about Ash's soon return home (She hadn't known he was alive.) She had leverage over her mother. Lyss doesn't feel they are doing enough with their war efforts. Raisa agrees to let her daughter with a decent number of other people, take Delphi from Arden. They do succeed!!
Now that they have Delphi, Lyss gets to interact with Hal since he is a POW. She is very kind to her POW, allowing them to practice their usual workout/battle routine. Since the northern and southern are stuck together in Delphi, they practice fighting each other, which means that Lyss has some steamy goes with Hal. It's cute to watch their attraction to each other. I'm entirely on board with a relationship happening with them.
We do get some clips with Jenna and Cas. He is growing rapidly. They do come across Evan and his pirates who were being chased by the empress's ship. After he is safe, he runs into Jenna. He tries to get her to team up with him after apologizing for trying to kill her. She gives him her answer by allowing Cas to set fire to his ship. She does, however, fly to Chalk Cliffs, where he said the empress was surely to attack. Although Evan doesn't know much about their magemarks, he does know that others who have the mark have been taken by her and never seen again, resulting in her becoming more powerful. He does know the empress wants to conquer all the realm.
After searching around, Shadow finds Breon and takes him captive. Lyss questions him on who sent him to kill her, but he doesn't know. Lyss, Talbot, Hans, and Breon take off to Chalk Cliffs after Raisa makes an appearance in Delphi to tell her how the king of Arden is finally dead.
It turns out that Evan was right. The empress sends ships to Chalk Cliffs as a distraction while other soldiers of hers march on foot from the opposite direction. Lyss gives orders as Jenna makes it in time to see that the empress is playing them. She has Cas rip the empresses banner, taking it and dropping it at Lyss's feet since they had no idea who was half-heartedly attacking them from the sea. Most people have never seen a dragon, so naturally, they feel weary at first, until Lyss is decently confident that this creature is trying to help them.
Meanwhile, in a cell for the first time next to Breon, Hal figures out that Captian Gray is the princess, thanks to Breon informing him. It's not long that Talbot comes down and grabs the two men before collecting Lyss and escaping the attack by ship. What's interesting is that the empress's ships begin following them. All onboard is concerned as to why, since they figured they wanted to plunder Chalk Cliffs. Breon proves to be great at sailing ships, all the while, his magemark begins burning during the pursuit. When the pirate boats start getting to close, Breon has everyone besides himself jump into the water. Lyss is afraid of boats and even more afraid of jumping. While Talbot and her crush, Hal, leap on cue into the water, she sails on with Breon. They manage to make land and split up. This is where Breon overhears his friend Aubrey with the empress. It's then he knows that she is the one who has betrayed him to the empress. In trying to lure Breon out, the empress sets Aubrey on fire through magic. It works. Breon gives himself up, but it's too late to save Aubrey, despite Lyss trying to keep them safe as she uses her bow and arrow to attempt to kill the soldiers who are opposed to dying.
The empress manages to capture Lyss and Breon, not before Lyss writes their initials in the sand, which Hal and Talbot stumble across.
I'm pumped to see what's going to happen in book three!! So far, I think Chima has done fantastic with the series. She's managed to make awesome characters that are easy to relate to and love.